Over 90% of Belgian girls have experienced sexual harassment: survey

Over 90% of Belgian girls have experienced sexual harassment: survey
Nearly one in five girls aged 15 to 24 reported being subject to unwanted touches. Credit: Pixnio

An overwhelming majority of hundreds of girls in Belgian cities said they have already been victims of sexual harassment, a new survey showed.

Surveying 700 people in Brussels, Antwerp and Charleroi between the ages of 15 to 24, the survey revealed that 91% of female respondents said they had been sexually harassed.

Commissioned by equality non-profit Plan International, the survey was published ahead of International Day of the Girl Child, celebrated on 11 October.

A total of 28% of male respondents to the survey also said they had experienced sexual harassment.

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Nearly one out of five female respondents said they had already been touched without their consent, while 82% said they had been whistled at while walking on the street, 62% said they had received comments about their appearance and 59% said they had been subject to "insistent and non reciprocated" flirting.

"Our survey shows that, often, young people don't know who to tell about the incident," the results read, noting that almost half (48%) chose to tell their friends, with a smaller portion telling (27%) their families about the incident.

Only 6% said they reported the to authorities such as school teachers or police.

The non-profit's survey was published ahead of a release of a new digital tool called Safer Cities, which will encourage girls to identify places where they feel safe or unsafe.

The crowdsourced information about different urban areas will then be used to "convince authorities to carry out the necessary changes to make public spaces safer."

Gabriela Galindo

The Brussels Times

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