New Study Reveals Two Thirds of Women Face Harassment Daily

A new study by the University of Manchester reveals the alarming reality faced by female runners and the pervasive harassment epidemic plaguing their jogging experiences. Here’s the full story.

Harassment and Violence

There is a crisis happening every day that half of the population cannot notice: women are frequently the victims of harassment, sexual comments, and even violence from men. 

The casual acceptance of this by society is a damning indictment of the sexism that is tolerated by women just trying to live their lives daily. 

Adding to this sexism crisis, in a recent study from the University of Manchester, alarming statistics have surfaced regarding the sheer amount of harassment experienced by women while they are out running. 

Two Thirds 

The research reveals that over two-thirds of women surveyed in the north-west of England encountered harassment while engaging in the simple act of running. The harassment included sexism, verbal abuse and physical and sexual assault. The study’s findings paint a bleak picture of the dangers women face in their everyday lives. 

Verbal abuse emerged as the most common form of harassment, with a staggering 58% of female respondents reporting such incidents. Additionally, instances of being followed, flashed at, physically, or sexually assaulted were also documented. 

Grim Figures

The numbers for these instances of harassment were no better, with 19% reporting being followed and 7% reporting being flashed. These horrifying numbers showcase the multifaceted nature of the threats faced by women while they are trying to improve their health by running. 

Dr. Caroline Miles and Prof Rose Broad, the researchers behind the study, expressed their profound lack of surprise at the findings, stating, “Lots of respondents said they just accept it. They don’t even register it because it happens all the time, and it’s just an everyday occurrence.”

Gender-Based Harassment 

The findings are a disturbing testament to the pervasiveness of gender-based harassment in public spaces. One of the most concerning revelations from the study is the profound fear experienced by women while running. 

This fear stems from the understandable concerns of women over severe crimes like rape and murder. Miles stated, “They’re afraid of being raped, being murdered, being attacked. We know this does happen, not in high numbers … but women are afraid. That leads them to just undertake so many protective measures.”

Protective Measures

While these extreme incidents still occur relatively infrequently, the fear they instill prompts women to take steps to protect themselves while they are out running. 

These protective measures fundamentally alter women’s behavior and seriously restrict their freedom. Shockingly, only 5% of harassment cases were reported to the police, highlighting a significant underreporting trend among female runners. 

There were several reasons cited for this reluctance to report crimes against female runners, including the normalization of harassment and the fleeting nature of the incidents, making it difficult to gather evidence for legal action. Another main reason for the underreporting of harassment was a profound lack of confidence in the ability of the police to either prevent or prosecute these crimes. 

Destressing Findings

In light of these distressing findings, there is a pressing need for concerted efforts to address and mitigate the harassment faced by female runners. 

Dr Miles and Prof. Broad advocate for police reforms and greater public discourse to challenge the culture of harassment and foster a safer environment for women in public spaces.

Miles was remarkably frank in her diagnosis of the problem, stating, “The key thing that we would like to happen is for work to be done with boys and men that address the underpinning kind of sexist and misogynist attitudes that underpin this kind of behavior.”

Broad was equally concise, stating, “It’s not all men, but it is always men.”

Sexist Attitudes

Ultimately, the researchers emphasize the importance of tackling the problem of systemic sexism and violence towards women by engaging with men and boys to challenge the underlying sexist attitudes that perpetuate this disgusting behavior. 

The findings of the University of Manchester study should serve as a wake-up call, forcing society to confront the pervasive issue of harassment by women runners. 

We can only create a world where every woman feels safe and empowered to lace up her running shoes and hit the pavement through collective action and a profound shift in cultural norms.

The post New Study Reveals Two Thirds of Women Face Harassment Daily first appeared on Pulse365 Limited.

Featured Image Credit: Shutterstock / Yuri A.

Leave a Comment