12/10/2018

One In Three Sexually Harassed Girls Were Wearing School Uniform

SDLP Councillor Noreen McClelland has told of her disgust at shocking new statistics that highlight sexual harassment as a common experience, with over a third of victims being young girls in school uniforms.

The new research by Plan UK surveyed girls in Northern Ireland, England, Scotland and Wales about their experiences of sexual harassment on the street.

The results show that 66% of girls aged 14-21 have had unwanted attention of a sexual nature, with 38% experiencing anything from catcalling to wolf whistling or sexual comments.

A further 15% reported being touched, groped or grabbed, while 35% of those who completed the survey said they were wearing their uniform when harassed.
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Despite the high levels of harassment, only 20% of girls said they gained a helpful response when they complained, and many said they have since taken steps to avoid harassment, such as not going out at night, avoiding dangerous locations, and dressing differently.

Councillor McClelland branded the statistics "appalling" and a "sad indictment of how far we still have to travel to combat sexism and harassment in society today.

"These statistics showing high levels of sexual harassment of school girls is a sad indictment of how women and girls are still treated as lesser compared to males in 2018.

"Girls as young as 11 years of age should be free from such repulsive behaviour, and as a society we must all do what we can to challenge this culture of sexual harassment of young females."

The SDLP Councillor for the Glengormley area said her party supports the call on government to recognise street harassment as a type of "gender-based violence" and urges for a zero-tolerance policy for this type of behaviour.

1,004 girls were questioned in the UK-wide survey, with the sample being weighed to reflect a nationally representative audience.

(JG)




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