A study commissioned by the German government has found that one in seven women in Germany is raped or sexually harassed at least once in her lifetime, yet only five percent report it to the police.
The regional officials who published the study estimated that between 150,000 and 300,000 women are victimized each year, with 75% under the age of sexual consent. Hesse state prosecuter Wolfram Schaedler said 83% of rape victims know their rapist, and that because many court proceedings are suppressed or delayed until at least two years after the crime, only 52% of suspects are ever indicted.
At a conference Sept. 7 in Saarbruecken, experts warned that repeated questioning and harassment by police and the legal system could lead to psychological disorders in rape victims. Saarland social affairs minister Barbara Wackernagel-Jacobs said that women often experience sexual violence for years before reporting it. “Only when perpetrators are no longer sure of the silence of their victims can violence be reduced.”