Survey: Over two in three women say must run the gauntlet of sexual harassment every day

Cent-GPS said many of the women surveyed were fearful of a simple doctor’s visit, while most of them cannot even walk in the streets in peace. — Picture by Firdaus Latif
Cent-GPS said many of the women surveyed were fearful of a simple doctor’s visit, while most of them cannot even walk in the streets in peace. — Picture by Firdaus Latif

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KUALA LUMPUR, Sept 21 — More than 50 per cent of women between the ages of 18 and 30 have directly experienced some form of sexual harassment, according to a survey by the Centre for Governance and Political Studies (Cent-GPS).

Conducted in collaboration with the All Women’s Action Society (AWAM), the survey found that 44 per cent of the women experienced a teacher making sexually provocative jokes.

“Even before they hit the age of 30, many of these women are already fearful of a simple doctor’s visit, most of them cannot walk in the streets in peace, have had to witness their teachers make sexually provocative jokes, and have been touched without consent.

“A majority 71 per cent of them cannot even travel to school or work in peace without changing their route to avoid being sexually harassed,” the group said in a joint statement.

A whopping 68 per cent of the women surveyed say they did not feel safe driving at night with only 15 per cent saying they felt safe. Due to this, 71 per cent said they have had to change their travel routes or routines due to fear of being harassed.

When asked about doctor visitations, only 37 per cent said they felt unsafe while 11 per cent were uncertain and 52 per cent answered in the negative.

Apart from that, around 30 per cent of the female respondents said they regularly receive unwanted sexual messages on social media, 41 per cent said they have received such messages once, 25 per cent have never received such a message and four per cent were uncertain.

As far as being followed to their cars, 21 per cent said they have been followed home at least once before.

Some 18 per cent of the respondents said they were victims of sexual provocation from a family member while 10 per cent have been harassed in elevators.

“Whilst this is only a preliminary survey, every question should be an eye-opener for our leaders and male population. Regrettably, many men will never relate to the fear of watching a movie alone or having to drive alone at night.

“We live in two separate worlds, where the normal activities of half the population become a privilege for the other half.

“Again, as we strive towards becoming a developed nation, it’s not enough that we obtain high income status. You can earn RM10,000 a month, but what’s the point when you can’t visit any doctor you want,” they added.

A total of 1,056 women were surveyed from August 24 until September 15, 2021 through a computer-assisted personalised interview method in the language of their preference.

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