Report finds a third of women subjected to physical harassment in public

Story by Noelle Finegan

Thursday, 11th October, 2018 12:16pm

Report finds a third of women subjected to physical harassment in public

A ‘Safe in Ireland’ report has found that a third of women have been subjected to physical harassment in public, while nine in ten women feel unsafe in Ireland just because of their gender.

The vast majority of women (93%) surveyed feel more vulnerable purely because of their gender. A new national ‘Safe in Ireland’ survey by children’s rights charity, Plan International Ireland, also reveals that almost six in ten women (58%) often or sometimes feel unsafe taking the bus.

More than a third of women participating in the survey say they have been subjected to physical harassment in public, and that this happens most frequently in bars (36%) followed by public streets (22%).

Half of women (49%) say they have experienced verbal abuse in public. Women also report being forced to modify their behaviour because they feel unsafe. Almost three quarters say they jog or walk faster as a safety precaution at night. Nearly half (47%) say they take a different route or will even walk longer distances in order to feel safer.

The survey was conducted online in September 2018. There were 534 respondents in total, three quarters of whom were aged under 25. 83% of the respondents were women.

Speaking about the report, Paul O’Brien, CEO of Plan International Ireland said; “It’s a stark reality for women in our country, especially young women, that harassment and fear are part of daily life. It’s clear that our young women are faced with significant barriers as they strive to achieve their full potential, barriers which men don’t seem to have to factor-in to everyday life. On International Day of the Girl we are saying it’s vital that young women are consulted by their local politicians and councils and are brought into the decision-making process around areas that will directly impact on their safety in public.”

Plan International Ireland carried out the survey following a pioneering, international study by the Plan International global federation, which examined the safety of young women in cities across the world. The international survey of almost 400 experts in children’s and women’s rights and urban safety, including experts based in Dublin, found that sexual harassment is the biggest city danger facing young women.