Sexual assaults decline significantly, poll shows

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Sexual assaults decline significantly, poll shows

According to a survey about sexual assaults conducted by the Ministry of Gender, Equality and Family, the number of sexual assaults has fallen by almost half over the last three years.

“The poll shows that 1.5 percent of people experienced a sexual assault over the last year, down from 2.9 percent in 2010,” the ministry said in a press release.

The ministry also noted the percentage of those who experienced a sexual assault in their lifetime dropped from 19.6 percent to 10.2 percent. The survey subdivided the types of sexual assault into minor sexual assault, serious sexual assault, attempted rape, rape, verbal abuse, obscene phone calls, indecent exposure and stalking. Some 3,500 men and women from 19 to 64 years old were questioned.

The most common age to first experience a physical sex crime was under the age of 19. Of those people who experienced a minor sexual assault, 36.4 percent were younger than 19 the first time it happened. For serious sexual assault, 34.6 percent were under 19; for first-time attempted rape, 30 percent of victims were under 19; and for first-time rapes, 39.3 percent of victims were under 19.

The most common age to be abused verbally for the first time was between 19 and 35, with 68.2 percent.

Most sexual assaults tended to be repeated. For example, 45.3 percent of rape victims said they had been raped two times or more.

The more serious the crime, the greater the chance the victim and the offender knew each other. While 80.6 percent of women who were victims of minor sexual assault did not know the offender, 60.1 percent of women who were raped did know the offender.

There were many differences between male and female victims. While the poll showed that all categories had female victims, no men said they had been victims of serious sexual assault, attempted rape or rape.

In addition, men and women responded to harassment and assaults differently. While 57.7 percent of women said they responded to attacks by attempting to get away from the attacker and 27.1 percent said they took no action, for men 41.6 percent took no action.

“It is encouraging that the rate of sexual assaults has decreased, but not many victims are getting help on their own” said Cho Yoon-sun, the minister of gender equality and family.


BY KIM BONG-MOON [bongmoon@joongang.co.kr]

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