|Sexual harassment is a problematic issue that's being encountered mostly by women all over the world. / Photo by: Shao-Chun Wang via 123rf|
Our society has been an unsafe and cruel place for women. In some countries, women aren't able to walk in the streets without getting catcalled or sexually harassed. They are afraid to wear revealing clothes even if they wanted to because men would probably call them out or touch them inappropriately. This is the life of women on a daily basis in some places: frightened for their safety.
Those kinds of scenarios don't just happen accidentally, and they can happen to any women. In fact, an article on Phys.org reported that there's a three-out-of-five chance that females experience sexual harassment while less than one-in-five for men. Although there have been some who stood up and reported these cases, previous studies showed that a vast majority of these cases were never reported.
With the rise of the #MeToo movement, which is against sexual harassment and sexual assault, more and more women are coming forward to share their own stories. According to the Breaking News, Central Statistics Office reported that there has been a rise of 10% of reports in the last year. This shows that women are getting more empowered to stand up for themselves and resist this kind of behavior.
Prevalence of Sexual Harassment
Sexual harassment is a problematic issue that's being encountered mostly by women all over the world. A 2018 study conducted by the Growth From Knowledge Global found out that 81% of women reported experiencing some form of sexual harassment and/or assault in their lifetime. According to an article by the Stop Street Harassment, the most common form is verbal sexual harassment with 77% of women having experienced it at least once, while it’s 34% in men.
Aside from that, it has been reported that an alarming 51% of women were touched or groped inappropriately and about 27% of them have actually survived sexual assault. Other studies have used polls with a more limited sample or narrower definitions of harassment. Thus, the figures can be much larger than it was suggested. This study, on the other hand, involved a broader definition of sexual harassment that includes the "continuum of experiences" that women face.
Director of the Center on Gender Equity and Health at the University of California, Anita Raj, showed that some of the verbal forms of sexual harassment that usually happens to women include being whistled at or catcalled. Some of them have also been getting unwanted comments of a sexual nature. Aside from that, women also experience cyber harassment and physical harassment.
|Some of the verbal forms of sexual harassment that usually happens to women include being whistled at or catcalled. / Photo by: Tyler Olson via 123rf|
Additionally, the study looked into the locations where women are usually being harassed. The researchers found out that 66% of women have been sexually harassed in public spaces. "The public forums are where you see the more chronic experiences of sexual harassment," Raj said.
Women who have experienced sexual harassment at the workplace is at 38% while 35% at their residence. Holly Kearl, the main author of the study, said, "The findings show that this is a pervasive problem and permeates all sectors of our lives. Most people who said they had experienced sexual harassment experienced it in multiple locations."
The findings of the study showed that sexual harassment is indeed a pervasive problem and happens in all sectors of society. One of the reasons why this is difficult to address is because reporting and taking action are both hard and expensive. Researchers from Colorado State University are currently examining the prevalence of sexual harassment in field-based research. This is a part of their National Science Foundation-supported study.
According to another article by the Phys.org, the researchers are also examining the psychological indicators that can affect a person to engage or intervene in a harassment situation. They concluded that this issue involves a community culture that can motivate someone to exhibit the behavior.
Role of #MeToo Movement in Addressing Sexual Harassment
The Me Too movement is the latest cultural event that brings light to the widely practiced but unacceptable sexual abuse of women in their daily lives. This has caught media attention all over the world, making more women share and come out with their own stories of being harassed mostly by men. The movement has awoken a lot of people to the fact that this issue is extremely serious and should be addressed.
An article by the We Forum reported that the number of Americans who believed that sexual harassment is a serious issue increased by 64% in 2017 from 47% in 2011. In a survey of 1,000 people in India, they found that 76% of respondents believed that this issue is a very serious problem.
It also sparked conversations about women's rights. In fact, women from Iran initiated the "My Stealthy Freedom" movement in 2014 to question their regime. Egypt also started their #NudePhotoRevolutionary movement in 2011, which encourages women to make a political statement using their photographs.
The rise of the Me Too movement has also permeated the workplace. According to an article by the We First Branding, one of the impacts of the movement is fostering a culture of transparency and accountability in a company. In fact, some companies and organizations are encouraging their employees who have experienced sexual harassment to stand up and share their stories.