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The alarming 97% statistic

Alaa Rahami

A statistic has been haunting the media for the past couple of days. On March 10th, a study conducted by the UN Women UK was released. This study revealed that 97% of women, from the ages of 18-24, have been sexually harassed in some way. It was also found that 96% of those women do not report harassment. The researchers said this statistic includes women who had encountered unwanted sexual advances, discomforting comments, catcalling, indecent exposure, groping, non consensual touching, physically followed, and getting suggestive content online or in-person.

Despite this being a statistic for only the UK, people all around the world have become enraged by it. Globally, several people flooded platforms, like Tiktok, with their experiences. Those who did not share an experience expressed immense fear of becoming a part of the statistic. While these women cling to remain in the 3%, some men felt obligated to make jokes and threats about getting the 3% to be 0%. The insensitivity to the trauma that these girls endured is horrifically overwhelming. Other men said, “Not all men do that.” Yes, we understand that not all men are like that, but even they can admit that the statistic is unacceptably high.

Even if the statistic was only in the UK or far less than 97%, what entitles a man to a woman’s body? Why is it that men can remain satisfied but women cannot? One of the first things we learn when we are growing up is that we need to respect everyone’s boundaries. So, when did we decided against respecting the boundaries of our women? This world has been fitted to support the desires of men, but it doesn’t align with the comfort of women.

Reflecting on this statistic, people have vowed to raise their kids to not sexually harass others, but why is that not the standard? For decades, we have blamed the sexual assault on our women. We told them to dress a certain way, speak a certain way, act a certain way, and walk a certain way. If they do all this and still get assaulted, we still say it is their fault. The ignorance of this thought process is just unacceptable. The women are traumatized and tormented by the thoughts of what they could have possibly done to deserve this. The reality is that it is not their fault. They did nothing wrong; they are victims of the indecent act of their attackers. Blaming their own victims just proves how they are driven by their temptation. Yet, still, this is not the excuse of being committing these acts. You cannot blame the assault on temptation. You cannot blame a victim for your own crime against them. You need to blame it on yourself and your lack of self-control.

Some victims are unable to notice the events of harassment because it has been so normalized in many communities. It has been seen as inevitable, but it should not be. We can stop these incidents. We just are punishing the victims when we should be punishing the true culprits for what they are responsible for.


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