Last week saw Hollaback! Dublin, a movement dedicated to counteracting street harassment, release the results of a short survey at it carried out at UCD’s Mind, Body & Soul Festival on the 25th of September. 110 students participated in the study on the culture of street harassment. Despite the small sample size, the group has claimed that street harassment is an acute problem throughout Dublin, and even occurs on college campuses.
Those surveyed included 88 females, 19 males and three who identified themselves as non-binary. Of the 88 women, 87.5% revealed they had witnessed street abuse in Dublin compared to 68.4% of men and all three of the non-binary individuals. Contrasting those who have been on the receiving end of harassment in Dublin, 64 women said they had been abused, alongside all of the non-binary individuals. Two males in the sample said they had experienced harassment.
Regarding harassment locations, campus as opposed to the streets of Dublin ranked relatively low, as only 22 individuals of the survey sample had observed its occurrence. 96 of the 110 students that contributed to the survey claimed that they had never engaged in such any such harassment towards others.
The group offers an expansive definition of harassment. For them, it covers a broad span of non-contact experiences including catcalling, groping, sexual invitations, fondling, vocal abuse regarding one’s appearance, stalking, or any other type of sexual or gender-based harassment from individuals. The abuse can provoke feelings of inadequacy and worthlessness in the victims.
Global studies have linked this issue to claims that between 80-99% of women experience street harassment at some point during their lives. The most prevalent manner of sexual violence for either men or women is non-contact unsolicited sexual encounters, involving harassment and other types of abuse.
Hollaback! is a movement that aims to end street harassment. It has chapters in 79 cities across 26 countries which strive to ignite public debate on the issue. Its Dublin branch is run by a team of community leaders. Hollaback! has partnered with Cornell University on the study of street harassment on an international spectrum, from which they have produced an online survey. Individuals who experience street harassment in Dublin can also share their stories at dublin.ihollaback.org.