Non-partner sexual violence against women in Spain: lifetime prevalence, perpetrators and consequences on mental health

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Research on sexual violence by non-partners based on representative samples is scarce. The objectives of the study were (i) to analyse the prevalence of different forms of non-partner sexual violence in Spain and their perpetrators, (ii) to analyse the consequences of non-partner sexual violence on mental health and (iii) to estimate the percentage of rapes that are reported to the police.


Data from the 2015 Spanish Survey on Violence against Women, a nationally representative sample of 10 171 women, were used. Three mutually exclusive categories of non-partner sexual violence were created to measure the effects of violence on health. Logistic regression models were fitted.


The lifetime prevalence of non-partner sexual violence was 7.2%. All the categories of non-partner sexual violence were strongly associated with the different health outcomes. Rape increased the likelihood of reporting anxiety [odds ratio, OR: 3.77 (2.65-5.37)], sadness because of feelings of worthlessness [OR: 3.31 (2.32-4.73)] and the desire to cry without reason [OR: 3.46 (2.45-4.89)] more than 3-fold. The relationship of the victim with the perpetrator varied by the type of sexual victimization. Less than 6% of rapes were reported to the police in 2014.


All forms of non-partner sexual violence, from unwanted sexual touching to rape, can lead to a multitude of mental health consequences. A public health approach to addressing this violence is needed.

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