Third of UK women subjected to unwanted violence during sex – survey

Third of UK women subjected to unwanted violence during sex – survey

More than a third of UK women have experienced unwanted violence during sex, figures suggest.

Some 38% of women aged between 18 and 39 experienced unwelcome acts of aggression during consensual sex, according to a survey commissioned by BBC Radio 5 Live.

Research company Savanta ComRes questioned 2,002 UK women in this age group on the matter, with more than a third of the respondents saying they had been subjected to slapping, choking, gagging or spitting during sex – and that these actions were unwanted at least some of the time.

The research also indicated of those who had experienced violent sexual behaviour, 42% felt pressured, coerced or forced into it.

Some 20% of the respondents said the incidents had left them feeling upset or frightened.

A Centre for Women’s Justice spokeswoman said there was “growing pressure on young women to consent to violent, dangerous and demeaning acts”.

“This is likely to be due to the widespread availability, normalisation and use of extreme pornography,” the spokeswoman said.

Fiona McKenzie, founder of campaign group We Can’t Consent to This, described the findings as “especially frightening”.

She set up the organisation after noticing a rise in the number of cases where women had been killed by men who were using claims of “rough sex” or a “sex game gone wrong” as their defence or mitigation in court.

She said: “I regularly hear from women who had been choked, slapped, spat on, verbally abused and punched by men they were having otherwise consensual sex with.

“In many cases, women weren’t initially able to recognise this as the traumatic assault it is.”

The concern has been highlighted in high-profile trials including the murder of 22-year-old Grace Millane in New Zealand, as well as the killing of 29-year-old Christina Abbots in West Sussex, England, both in the last year.

A full report on the investigation can be heard on BBC Radio 5 Live’s The Emma Barnett Show on BBC Sounds.

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