If you’ve ever felt unsafe on a night out, you’re not alone. It seems that unwanted sexual attention is now part and parcel of hitting the town, with almost three quarters of young people having witnessed sexual harassment while out with friends.
A new survey by Drinkaware and YouGov gathered responses from over 2,000 people aged between 18-24, with 72% confessing to seeing such abuse in bars, clubs and pubs.
What’s worse is that 79 per cent of women — almost 4 in 5 — said they “expected inappropriate comments, touching and behaviour to take place” whenever they went on a night out, either to themselves or their female friends. An additional 63 per cent had said they’d been on the receiving end of such abuse, compared to 26 per cent of men.
London is seemingly the worst region for such behaviour, with 75 per cent its surveyed inhabitants admitting to witnessing some form of sexual harassment on a night out.
If you’re not appalled by these figures, then you should be. They highlight the continuous struggle faced by women to freely enjoy themselves without being inappropriately touched or propositioned, normalising male entitlement and, in turn, rape culture.
With only 15 per cent of people who experience sexual violence in the UK reporting it to police, according to statistics from Rape Crisis, the stigma and shame of calling out such abuse clearly still runs strong. When you also consider that a third of people believe women who flirt are partially responsible for being raped, and only 5.7 per cent of those accused of rape actually get charged, it’s even more apparent that women are being let down by society and the systems designed to keep them safe. As a result, they’re having to deal with harassment when all they should be thinking about is what song is going to play next.