Catcalling and other forms of street harassment are so common that most people barely bat an eye when they experience or witness it. Street harassment is so widespread that 107 million women in the United States have experienced it, according to a report recently released by the non-profit organization Stop Street Harassment (SSH).
The study, commissioned by SSL and conducted by the market research firm GfK, surveyed 2,000 people nationwide, making it the largest of its kind. The numbers were staggering. 65 percent of female participants experienced some form of street harassment. Among the women, 23 percent were sexually touched, 20 percent had been followed, and nine percent had been forced to do something sexual.
Stop Street Harassment, 2014 Study
Men are victims, too, albeit at a much lower rate. 25 percent experienced street harassment (a higher percentage of LGBT-identified men than heterosexual men reported this) and their most common form of harassment was homophobic or transphobic slurs (nine percent).
The findings also show that street harassment is far more serious than just an unwanted catcall. Most harassed people - 68 percent of women and 49 percent of men - were concerned that the initial incident would escalate.
“It is shameful that millions of people are harassed by men simply for being in public spaces while they travel to and from school, work, stores, and events,” said Holly Kearl, executive director of SSH, in a press release. “If we want to see the United States achieve equality for all, it is imperative that communities — and we as a nation — address this pervasive human rights violation.”
h/t Mother Jones
Alexandra DiPalma is a producer for Fusion Lightworks, Fusion’s In-house Branded Content Agency.