Parliamentary Committee to investigate sexual harassment in public places

EVAW welcomes the Women and Equalities Select Committee’s inquiry on sexism and sexual harassment faced by women and girls, which will examine why it happens, what the impact is and how to prevent it.

The Committee’s previous work has included a one-off evidence session on women’s experiences of everyday sexism in December 2017, as well as the influential sexual harassment and sexual violence in schools report which recommended making Relationships and Sex Education compulsory in schools and publishing guidance for schools on how to tackle sexual violence.

This latest inquiry will focus on sexual harassment of women and girls and its connections to gender inequality. It is also interested in how age, ethnicity, sexuality and other characteristics affect women’s experiences.

In the short film ‘I’d Just like to be Free’ created by EVAW and Imkaan, young black and minority ethnic women in the UK talk about their experiences of being sexually harassed in public places and how it is often combined with racism.

A national survey on women’s experience of sexual harassment in 2016 revealed that:

  • 85% of women aged 18-24 have experienced unwanted sexual attention in public places and 45% have experienced unwanted sexual touching (which can amount to sexual assault);
  • 64% of women of all ages across the UK have experienced sexual harassment in public places, and 35% of all women have experienced unwanted sexual touching;
  • only 11% of women reported that someone else intervened when they experienced unwanted sexual touching in a public place, while 81% said they would have liked someone to do so;
  • the survey also revealed that more than a quarter of the women who had received unwanted sexual attention and unwanted sexual touching, were aged under 16 the first time it happened, and more than three quarters, a large majority, were under 21 when it first happened.

The inquiry is accepting written submissions until Monday 5 March 2018 via its website.

Follow the inquiry on Twitter using #StreetHarassment

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