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Nearly 90 percent of women have been sexually harassed—and the problem is only growing
Photo via David Shankbone/Flickr (CC-BY)
More than half the people surveyed said their parents never talked to them about consent.
A new study published by the Harvard Graduate School of Education reveals 87 percent of women ages 18 to 25 have been sexually harassed—a number that is excruciatingly higher than previously reported.
The report, titled “The Talk,” compares data from a national survey conducted of 3,000 teens and young adults throughout the United States. Among the 87 percent of women who faced sexual harassment, 55 percent reported being catcalled, 41 percent were touched without permission, and 47 percent faced objectifying comments from men.
The report also alleges that “certain forms of gender-based degradation may be increasing,” in part because many respondents did not believe that women face inequalities. 48 percent of the study’s participants either agreed or were neutral to the statement that “society has reached a point that there is no more double standard against women.” 39 percent agreed with or felt indifferent to the claim that it is “rare to see a woman treated in an inappropriately sexualized manner on television,” and 32 percent of men felt that men should be the dominant party in a romantic relationship.
Meanwhile, “The Talk” argues that men are more likely to dominate a relationship and create a “bros over ho’s” mentality when women outnumber and outperform men in collegiate settings.
“Casual sex is often narrowly focused on male pleasure,” the study argues, “and words like ‘bitches’ and ‘ho’s’ and terms for sex like ‘I hit that’ are now pervasive. That far greater number of teens and young adults over the last decade are watching porn regularly may fuel certain forms of misogyny and degradation.”
Educational resources seem to be failing students, too. Over 70 percent of the survey’s participants wanted information from their parents about romantic relationships; 65 percent also wanted school systems to expand on healthy relationship information. More than half of respondents never talked to their parents about “being a caring and respectful sexual partner,” and 61 percent never spoke with their family about “being sure your partner wants to have sex and is comfortable doing so before having sex.”
Bottom line: Parents and schools can do better when it comes to having frank conversations with their kids about sex and consent—it could drastically change these numbers.
Ana Valens is a reporter specializing in online queer communities, marginalized identities, and adult content creation. She is Daily Dot's Trans/Sex columnist. Her work has appeared at Vice, Vox, Truthout, Bitch Media, Kill Screen, Rolling Stone, and the Toast. She lives in Brooklyn, New York, and spends her free time developing queer adult games.