#IWD2019: Perceptions of Violence Against Women in France and the United States

Over half in the United States and nearly a third in France know a woman who has been a victim of violence.

The author(s)

  • Meghann Jones Global Affairs, US
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An Ipsos report on people’s perceptions on Violence Against Women (VAW) looks at the incidence of known cases of violence against women in France the United States, what forms this kind of violence takes, and whether people think these issues are on the rise or decline.

Findings include:

  • More than half of Americans think that domestic violence (52%) and sexual violence (57%) have increased in the past 10 years. This view is stronger amongst women than men.
  • While the French report similar overall levels of agreement to the U.S that domestic violence and sexual violence have increased in the last decade (47% and 58% respectively), there is less of a disparity in perceptions between genders in the country.
  • While 25% of respondents in the U.S. agree that women often make up or exaggerate claims of abuse or rape, only 8% think the same in France.
  • Only a third across France and the U.S. think that a woman who reports her abusive partner can have confidence in the authorities to deal with it. This distrust appears even stronger in the workplace, and especially in France, where 15% feel confident that employers would take reports of sexual harassment or assault seriously enough. Confidence is slightly higher at 28% in America.
  • The survey finds that most American and French people aren’t afraid to speak out about VAW. However, more than one third claimed not to speak “at all” of sexual discrimination, gender stereotyping, or sexual harassment within their families. 
  • This sexual violence and domestic violence are most frequently top of mind when people think of ‘Violence Against Women’. In addition, half of respondents in both countries think that harassment is a form of VAW. Two-thirds of Americans and over half of French people believe that emotional or psychological harm is a form of VAW. Women are more likely to report different forms of violence against women than men.

The full study is available in the presentations joined to this article.

The author(s)

  • Meghann Jones Global Affairs, US