Globally and in Turkey, street harassment is one of the most pervasive forms of gender-based violence, yet one of the least legislated against. Due to the prevalence of physical and verbal harassment in public spaces, Canımız Sokakat conducted research on the nature of street harassment in Istanbul. We wanted to see understand street harassment beyond the numerous stories we’ve received.
Here are our results:
- Of the participants in our survey, 69% reported experiencing harassment regularly on at least a monthly basis.
- The most common forms of harassment experienced included: leering (75%), being honked at (60%), being whistled at (59%), having kissing noises directed at them (48%), and being sexually touched or groped (49%).
- The vast majority of people believe they can’t prevent street harassment: Ninety-three percent of participants reported that they experienced harassment from a male perpetrator in a public space, with a vast majority of perpetrators falling between the ages of 18 and 59 years old. After experiencing street harassment, survey respondents most commonly felt annoyance, anger, disgust, and fear. Many also felt insulted.
One respondent to the survey explains: “Whether it is verbal or physical harassment, even after many years, unfortunately, one cannot forget it.” Another respondent echoes a similar sentiment: “It has been two and a half years since that incident, but I still feel fear and panic riding buses.” These feeling could be why 93% of our respondents consider street harassment an important issue today:
This research is only the beginning for us. We know there are hundreds of thousands undocumented stories of street harassment and that there are so many victims and bystanders who have been silenced by a culture that supports harassers. Research like this is one major step to understand street harassment in Istanbul and ultimately combat it. Any questions on our research, email us [email protected]. And help us out submitting your story of street harassment today!