Three quarters of UK women have experienced harassment in cities

New research highlights widespread gender-based violence and harassment in cities around the world

ActionAid’s International Safe Cities for Women Day at Marble Arch, with an interactive exhibition featuring a group of 30 mannequins, London.
Picture date: Thursday May 19, 2016. A third of the mannequins featured in the installation will be marked in red, to represent the one in three women who experience violence in their lifetimes. But behind every statistic is a real woman, and on each mannequin are quotes from women around the world telling their experience of urban violence and the stories behind the statistics. ActionAid is campaigning for the UK government to commit to increasing the proportion of aid going directly to women’s groups working on the frontline in poor communities. (photo by Andrew Aitchson/ActionAid)
Image: Andrew Aitchison/ActionAid

Three quarters of women in the UK have experienced some form of harassment in cities, part of a ‘global epidemic’ of gender-based violence and harassment in urban spaces.

YouGov polling for ActionAid UK, published to mark the charity’s International Safe Cities for Women Day, found that 75 per cent of women in the UK have experienced harassment, 43 per cent of feel at risk of harassment on city streets, 36 per cent feel at risk while using public transport and 23 per cent have been groped in public.

Women in Brazil, India and Thailand were also polled, and found to be more at risk than women in the UK. 79 percent of women in India, 86 percent of women polled in Thailand and 86 percent in Brazil had been subjected to harassment or violence in public.

‘This research highlights a global epidemic,’ commented Sarah Carson of ActionAid. ‘Every day women around the world face groping, unwanted touching and many other forms of harassment on the streets of their cities.

‘But behind every statistic, are real women. Women who have been raped in their homes in the slums of Delhi, women in Brazil who fear the drug traffickers who dominate and control their neighbourhoods, and garment workers in Cambodia and Thailand who are abused and harassed in and around their workplace.’

ActionAid is calling on the UK government to commit at least £70m pounds of the existing aid budget to supporting women’s groups working in poor communities. Evidence suggests that their work is the most effective means of tackling gender-based violence.

An art installation (pictured above) has been installed at Marble Arch this morning to draw attention to the issue.

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