Data says 7 in 10 women have experienced sexual harassment

Data realised this year found that 97% of women aged 18-24 have been sexually harassed in some form, based on data collected from over 1,000 women and girls.

This number seems shockingly high and shows how pervasive harassing behaviours against women are.

The data also includes the umbrella data that 70% of women in the UK have experienced sexual harassment in public. For many women, this isn’t a surprise. Whether it’s being cat-called and harassed in school uniform or receiving unwelcome sexual advances, it’s likely that most women you ask will have a story.
The most important takeaway from this data is that it is a majority of women. It isn’t just some women experiencing harassment – the vast majority are. 7 in 10 women is so high that every cis-gendered man is likely to know several women who have experienced some form of harassment.

The data published by the all-party parliamentary group (APPG) for UN Women asked about whether women had been physically followed, had images taken or shared without their consent or experienced unwelcome touching, body rubbing or groping. The most common form was being cat-called or wolf-whistled and nonconsensual image taking or sharing was least common – even less than being forced into participating in sexual behaviour, which had happened to nearly 20% of women.

Even online, 17% of UK women had experienced comments or jokes that made them uncomfortable while 14% had experienced the sharing of suggestive, indecent or unsolicited content online or in-person. The data shows that this kind of harassment is most common in younger age groups who are most likely to be using online platforms. Over 30% of 18-24 year olds surveyed had experienced both the sharing of indecent content and receiving uncomfortable comments and jokes.

The data shows that only 4% of women reported the incidents of harassment to an official organisation and 45% said they didn’t believe reporting would change anything. The data gives a dangerous implication that the behaviour is so commonplace, women don’t report due to how common it is and a lack of action by official organisations. The systems in place to protect women are not working. The behaviour isn’t punished, which allows it to continue to fester and impact women.

When globally only almost 9 in 10 women feel unsafe in public places it’s clear the problem applies across the world. In March UN Women UK called for safer spaces for women and designed 150 solutions for change. 

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