Scotland Tonight survey found 59% of women and 20% of men have experienced sexual harassment or assault
A majority of women in Scotland have been sexually harassed or assaulted, according to a new survey.
On behalf of Scotland Tonight, ScotPulse – STV’s online research panel – found almost three in five women (59%) and 20% of men have experienced sexual harassment or assault.
One in ten of these incidents were said to have taken place in the last five years.
Meanwhile, 21% of the female respondents said they’ve experienced harassment in the workplace.
One in four women said they’ve been harassed ‘on the street’.
A total of 22% reported being attacked in a non-sexual manner on the street – with the majority of victims men.
Half of the survey’s respondents said they did not feel safe walking alone at night, with that broken down to two out of three women at 68%.
When the women were asked what measures they take to try and reduce any risk of harassment, the top responses were ‘being vigilant of the surroundings’ and ‘avoiding quiet and/or dark areas’.
More than half said they have their keys at hand.
Almost six out of ten men said they don’t think it’s safe for women to walk alone at night.
A total of 42% of men said they change their behaviour when they see a woman walking alone at night to make them feel safer. A further 33% said they would, depending on the circumstances.
The men said they’re most likely to cross to the opposite side of the road.
The survey also revealed that more than three-quarters (78%) of men said that they would intervene if they saw a woman being harassed.
There is overall acceptance that it is not true that nearly all instances of sexual harassment would end if the woman simply told the man to stop – with 78% of the men asked, and 86% of the women, disagreeing with this statement.
The survey also revealed that 30% of men and more than one in five women (22%) agreed that false accusations of sexual harassment against men are very common, whilst 24% of men and 36% of women disagreed with this.
The survey was sent to a sample of Scottish adults, with fieldwork carried out between March 15 and 16. Of the 1055 respondents, 60% were female and 40% were male.
The results of the survey will be discussed in a live panel discussion on Scotland Tonight on Thursday at 7.30pm.
Sarah Everard case
The survey comes following the murder of Sarah Everard.
The 33-year-old went missing as she walked home from a friend’s flat in Clapham, south London, on the evening of March 3.
She was reported missing by her boyfriend the following day and her body was later found hidden in an area of woodland in Ashford, Kent, on March 10.
A post-mortem examination has taken place, but no cause of death has yet been given.
Serving Metropolitan Police officer Wayne Couzens, 48, has been charged with kidnapping and killing the marketing executive.
He appeared at the Old Bailey court via video link on Tuesday and was remanded into custody ahead of a provisional trial date of October 25.
In response to Ms Everard’s murder, vigils were held across the country.
Her death also sparked an outpouring of fear, anger and grief over the harassment of women, with many victims sharing their stories.
Police Scotland recorded 2343 rapes and attempted rapes between April 1, 2019 and March 31, 2020. That’s six a day and twice the number recorded in 2010/11.
Almost 5000 sexual assaults were recorded during that same period, 53% more than a decade ago.
Pixie Russell told Scotland Tonight, STV’s current affairs programme, she was sexually assaulted by someone she knew.
She said: “I can’t change what happened and it haunts me every second of every day.
“I have to remind myself that the sexual assault doesn’t define me. I am not what I didn’t consent to. I may be a victim of sexual assault but I’m also a survivor.
“I don’t want to stay indoors when it gets dark anymore. I don’t want a rape whistle. I want change.”
‘Boys, especially, need more education’
Leo Dillon believes women should not have to change and instead men should be educated.
He explained: “Young boys – they can get quite aggressive and stuff like that and it’s completely unacceptable.
“I think boys, especially, need more education about this kind of stuff.”
Mr Dillon said he too still has a lot to learn.
He added: “I’ve had opinions that are not right and I’ve changed, and I’ll be honest with you on that.
“I’ve had the worst opinions in the world a couple of years ago, a year ago, and I’ve slowly changed and learned this is happening, it’s the truth and we need to do something to change it.”
Meanwhile, Scottish Liberal Democrat leader Willie Rennie and equalities spokesperson Caron Lindsay have written to the leaders of the other major parties to set out proposals for a commission to prevent violence against women to report back within a year of the new Parliament and called on the them to work cross party to make this a reality.
1 in 8 experience stalking and harassment
Scottish Liberal Democrat equalities spokesperson Caron Lindsay, left, has called on the Scottish Government to do more to encourage victims of stalking and harassment to come forward as new figures revealed that almost one in eight adults had experienced at least one type of stalking and harassment.
The Scottish Crime and Justice Survey 2019/20 showed:
- Almost one-in-eight adults (11.8%) experienced at least one type of stalking and harassment within the previous 12 months.
- The most common type of stalking and harassment reported in the SCJS was being sent unwanted messages by text, email, messenger or posts on social media sites.
- The police were informed about the most recent incident in around one-in-ten cases.
- There has been an increase in the proportion citing their gender, gender identity or perception of this as a possible motivating factor, from 5% in 2012/13 to 11% in 2019/20
Caron Lindsay said: “Stalking and harassment can be truly terrifying and make people’s lives a misery. This survey shows women reporting being followed four times more than men.
“I’m concerned that only one-in-ten cases were reported to the police. It shows the scale of the problem and a lack of confidence that complaints will be heard and taken seriously. The Scottish Government needs to do far more to get people to come forward.
“Scottish Liberal Democrats have today called for an expert commission into violence against women and girls and for it to report back to Parliament with recommendations within a year.”
A Reclaim the Night protest march in Alexandria, West Dunbartonshire.