44 pct of Italian women sexually harassed at least once in their lives: report

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Forty-four percent of girls and women in Italy have been victims of sexual harassment at least once in their lives, ISTAT national statistics agency said in a report Tuesday.

An estimated 8.816 million women aged 14 to 65 years, or 43.6 percent of the female population, were sexually harassed at least once in their lives, according to the report.

They were 3.118 million, or 15.4 percent, over the past three years, according to ISTAT. An estimated 1.404 million women, or 8.9 percent, were "physically molested or sexually blackmailed in the workplace" in their lifetimes, with 425,000 women reporting such abuse on the job in the past three years, according to the report.

An estimated 1.173 million women, or 7.5 percent, were blackmailed sexually in order get hired, to keep their jobs, or to advance their careers. Another 167,000 women, or 1.1 percent, suffered some form of workplace sexual blackmail in the past three years.

In a first for ISTAT, the report also covered male victims. They were 3.754 million or 18.8 percent in the course of their life, and 1.274 million or 6.4 percent in the last three years.

The most common form of sexual harassment suffered by both genders in the course of their lives was verbal harassment (24 percent of women and 8.2 percent of men), followed by unwanted touching (15.9 percent of women, 3.6 percent of men).

The perpetrators were male in the vast majority of cases where the victims were female, or 97 percent, followed closely by cases of male victims at 85.4 percent. 

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