Women's Experiences of Violence in Sweden
Mariella Öberg, MD and PhD at the Department of Women's and Children's Health, Uppsala University and NCK has published her dissertation on women's experiences of violence in Sweden.
The main aims of the thesis were to study the prevalence of sexual, physical and psychological violence among women in Sweden and to explore possible associations to violence and polyvictimization during childhood as well as sociodemographic factors.
In a family planning unit, 1 226 women seeking either termination of pregnancy or contraceptive counseling were recruited to answer questions about different types of violence.
Of the women seeking termination of pregnancy, 29 per cent reported experiences of intimate partner violence, compared to 22 percent of women seeking contraceptive counseling. Of all the women attending a family planning unit, 27 percent reported lifetime experiences of sexual violence.
A survey containing questions about lifetime experiences of sexual, physical and/or psychological violence was sent to a national sample of 10 000 women and 10 000 men. Lifetime experiences of at least one type of severe violence were reported by over 50 per cent of both women and men. Sexual violence was more than three times more common among women compared to men.
Rape/attempted rape in adulthood was more common among women who were single, had college-level education and those who had been unemployed or had received social welfare payments.
Exposure to sexual, physical and psychological violence in childhood was highly associated with rape/attempted rape in adulthood among the women respondents.
The results conclude that lifetime experiences of violence are common among women in Sweden. Multiple exposure to violence during childhood is the most potent risk factor for exposure to sexual violence in adulthood. The findings underscore the importance of detecting individuals who have been exposed in order to offer help, and may contribute to the development of effective prevention programs, especially among children and adolescents.