NEARLY 22% of women in Spain say they have suffered some kind of sexual assault during their lives. That’s a total of 3.5 million female adults. 

The statistic is one of many included in a poll published today by the CIS state research institute, titled ‘Sexual violence against women’.

The survey also reveals that 35% of Spaniards know someone who has suffered some kind of sexual assault at the hands of a relative or friend. 

What’s more, 74% of respondents believe that women who suffer such an assault either fail to report it most of the time or do so on very rare occasions. 

The poll also found that 20% of people in Spain believe that it is ‘unacceptable’ for a person to force their partner into having sexual relations. But at the same time, they believe doing so should not be punishable by law. 

Meanwhile, 9% of those surveyed said that they thought that touching a woman against her will should not be an offence, and 28% believe that paying for sex is ‘acceptable in some circumstances’. 

The survey was based on 2,500 phone interviews with people aged over 18, and carried out between January 20 and 25.

The poll did not include any questions about the Socialist Party-led government’s new ‘only yes means yes’ law, which went into force in October and has proved highly controversial. 

The aim of the legislation is to put consent at the heart of sexual assault cases, but it has inadvertently led to the reduction of prison terms for some sex offenders – something the government is now seeking to fix. 

The CIS is headed up by the sociologist Jose Felix Tezanos, who was previously a Socialist Party politician, and is often criticised for left-wing bias in the research institute’s polls.

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