(Just a quick post today – the three scariest exams are over, but there’s still one to come!)
From The Guardian:
A YouGov survey of 1,047 Londoners commissioned by End Violence Against Women Coalition (Evaw) found that 43% of women aged between 18 and 34 had experienced sexual harassment in public spaces in the last year.
The poll also found 31% of women aged 18 to 24 experienced unwanted sexual attention on public transport and 21% of 25- to 34-year-olds. Overall, 5% of the women surveyed had experienced unwanted sexual contact on public transport.
The figures are obviously shocking, and far too high, but what surprised me (and many others, if responses on my Twitter feed are anything to go by) was that they aren’t considerably higher. Virtually every young woman I know has experienced sexual harassment, on the streets or public transport, in some form or other. When I lived in Paris it was a weekly, sometimes daily occurrence, and it’s one of my biggest fears about moving to London this summer.
Sexual harassment is so ingrained that we barely notice it, but when you start talking to women almost every one has a horrible story to tell: it’s time for society to stand up and put a stop to it.
There is currently only very limited research into the prevalence of sexual harassment in the UK – I’d be really interested to see a national survey carried out – but anecdotal eveidence suggests that the problem is huge. It’s only when you start talking about it that you realise the extent to which other women around you share the same, or even worse, experiences of being harassed in public places. According to The F Word blog, “some international studies appear to show that as many as 80% of women have experienced sexual harassment”.
It’s also an issue that almost invariably attracts comments from men who argue that women are making a big fuss about nothing, and should be “flattered” by the attention. This argument completely fails to understand that catcalls, wolf-whistles and groping – persistent, unsolicited intrusions into your personal space – are not only irritating and upsetting, but really damaging to women and girls’ self-esteem. My anxiety about going out on my own is so bad that often I just don’t bother unless I really have to. That’s not ok.
- From my blog: International Anti-Street Harassment Week
- From my blog: (Not) Reclaiming The Night
- UK Anti-Street Harassment (ASH) Campaign
- End Violence Against Women
- Laurie Penny: Do you ignore him, and risk him getting angry, or smile, which might encourage him?
- Jane Martinson: Sexual harassment is no laughing matter
- Caroline Mortimer: Why do some men consider the street as a female meat market?
- Nat Guest: Only 4 in 10? We should speak up about harassment