The Issue that Cuts Deeper Than Just “97 Percent”



A report found that 97% of UK women have experienced sexual harassment.

  “97 percent” is a statistic that has become far too recognizable over the past few weeks on social media. This staggering figure is not just a number—it represents real women with real experiences. 

  In a study made by U.N. Women, it was found that 97% of women aged 18-24 in the United Kingdom have experienced sexual harassment. While this statistic is just as horrifying to hear about from a completely different country, women in the United States have had very similar experiences as well. 

  In 2014, Stop Street Harassment surveyed 2,000-person in the United States with surveying firm GfK. The survey found that 65% of all women had experienced street harassment. Among these women, 23% had been sexually touched, 20% had been followed, and 9% had been forced to do something sexual.

  Sexual harassment is defined as behavior characterized by making inappropriate sexual remarks or physical advances in a workplace or other social situation. A 2018 NCVS report stated that 42% of all women have experienced rape, sexual assault, robbery, or aggravated assault. This behavior makes women and girls feel unsafe to do simple tasks such as walking to their car, going to the store alone, or even going to work. 

  The 2017 #MeToo movement helped shed light on this issue, but it is still occurring on the daily for a majority of women. Some girls can remember their first experience of sexual harassment as young as infancy, and I, personally, remember experiencing it as early as eighth grade. 

  Sanderson senior Valeria Borthayre describes one of her first experiences of unwanted sexual advances saying, “In 9th grade, I remember a boy asked me to send him nude pictures. It clearly made me uncomfortable and I refused, but he continued to try and ‘convince me’ to send the pictures, even after I said no.”

  Sexual harassment is not some far-out experience that rarely occurs, it happens to your friend, a loved one, your sister, your mother. While everyone’s experience is different, they are all valid and should be treated with respect and understanding.

  Catcalling and “locker room talk” is not amusing, it’s frightening. The normalization of such harmful behavior has made women all over the world afraid to lead a normal life. 

  As a society, we must shift the mentality of dealing with instances of sexual harassment and assault. Instead of blaming women for the way they dress or how they carry themselves, educate men on the consequences their actions have on girls. 

  97 percent of women experiencing sexual harassment is not normal, and should never be viewed as such. This is not a social media trend that you read about for a few weeks and then it disappears. Sexual harassment occurs everyday and we will not be silenced until real change is made.