A new study has found sexual assault against women by someone other than their partners is a lot more common than you might think.
"One in 14 women worldwide has been sexually assaulted by someone other than her partner, that's according to a new survey published in the medical journal The Lancet." (Via BBC)
According to LiveScience, researchers from across the globe arrived at this conclusion after reviewing 77 studies published between 1998 and 2011. The studies contained data about non-partner sexual violence against women older than 15.
The researchers found that 7.2 percent of women worldwide reported having an encounter like that at some point in their lives. (Via The Lancet)
But non-partner sexual violence rates varied from country to country.
The highest numbers by far were reported in Africa, including South Africa and Zimbabwe. The Democratic Republic of Congo, for example, had a rate of 21 percent. (Via Google Maps)
The U.S. and Canada also had rates that were well above the international average, with each coming in at 13 percent. (Via Google Maps)
And India, Bangladesh and Turkey saw the lowest numbers, with rates between 3 and 4.5 percent. (Via Google Maps)
The study's authors say it's possible the extent of non-partner sexual violence could be much greater than reported. But because of the negative stigma associated with crimes like this, victims often don't come forward when they've been assaulted.
One researcher said in a journal news release, "Our findings highlight the need for countries to have their own population-based data on the levels of sexual violence ... to improve understanding of the magnitude of the problem ... and to develop appropriate policies and responses." (Via The Lancet)
Previous studies have shown sexual violence can lead to both long- and short-term health problems, including depression, anxiety and alcohol abuse.