Many women employed in the informal sector have normalised sexual harassment as one of the many workplace hazards. Like their counterparts in the formal sector, they don’t speak up because they are either unaware of their legal rights, scared of repercussions from powerful bosses, loathe to lose jobs or, even, reluctant to complain for fear that their families might prohibit them from going back to work.(AP)
Many women employed in the informal sector have normalised sexual harassment as one of the many workplace hazards. Like their counterparts in the formal sector, they don’t speak up because they are either unaware of their legal rights, scared of repercussions from powerful bosses, loathe to lose jobs or, even, reluctant to complain for fear that their families might prohibit them from going back to work.(AP)

97% of women aged 18-24 in UK faced sexual harassment, reveals survey

The survey, conducted by UN Women -- a global organisation working towards gender equality, brings with it disturbing revelations regarding the actual situation of women's safety in the UK.
Written by Joydeep Bose
PUBLISHED ON MAR 12, 2021 06:09 PM IST

97% of women aged 18-24 in the UK have experienced sexual harassment in public spaces, a new survey has revealed, raising concerns among quarters working for women's welfare.

The survey, conducted by UN Women -- a global organisation working towards gender equality, brings with it disturbing revelations regarding the actual situation of women's safety in the UK.

While the data shows that almost all young women in the UK have been subjected to sexual harassment, it adds that 80% of women of all ages have also been subjected to such harassment in public spaces.

The survey was conducted in collaboration with YouGov, a global public opinion and data aggregator, and the research involved collecting opinions from more than 1,000 women.

The resultant data exposes the sheer lack of adequate measures in the UK to deal with sexual harassment cases and surmises that women, especially young women, are thus having to unwittingly 'modify' their behaviour in order to avoid being objectified, harassed, or abused.

It also shows how little faith survivors of sexual abuse in the UK often have on authorities, since 96% of the respondents in the survey said that they did not report the incidents, and 45% of them reasoned that "it wouldn't change anything".

Claire Barnett, the executive director of UN Women UK, calls it a "human rights crisis".

The organisation has launched a project titled 'Safe Spaces Now', which collects stories and ideas from women and aims to take those demands "to the owners and administrators of public spaces".

It is to be noted that sexual harassment still is not a criminal offence in the UK, although rape and sexual assault are. Meanwhile, the debate on criminalising sexual behaviour and what is to be deemed offensive, subject to a universal set of rules, rages on.

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