Anti-harassment campaigners will be pleased at the recent news that 27% of women have suffered unwanted physical attention or been groped on a night out.
Why is this good news? Well, Hollaback!, which is extending its #GoodNightOut campaign to train bouncers, bar staff and managers in how to deal with harassers on nights out across the country, is pleased that we can now see exactly how big the problem has become.
Bryony Beynon, a spokesperson for Hollaback!, told The Debrief: ‘It's important to be able to put numbers to such a pervasive problem, because so few women and LGTBQ people report harassment, thinking that they won't be believed.’
The study, performed by alcohol education charity DrinkAware, surveyed 1,198 women aged 18 to 24. It found that only 19% of those harassed were surprised that it had happened; 69% were disgusted by the unwanted touching; more than half felt angry; and 39% said they felt scared by it. So far, so grim.
The good news, though, is, particularly ahead of Freshers' Week – when many young people feeling liberated by the lack of parental authority and the 70p drinks deals – harassment is being recognised as the harassers’ problem by more charities, clubs, bars and gig venues than ever.
Bryony explained: ‘DrinkAware's approach is refreshing: rather than warning women to drink less in order to avoid harassment, putting the burden of responsibility squarely on the victim, their message clearly targets those who think that booze means they can get away with groping, grabbing and sexual assault in the name of drunken banter.’
‘It's outrageous that some people still think "anything goes" as soon as you get to the club, or that consent doesn't matter after a few pints.’
DrinkAware, which is an independent charity promoting alcohol education to prevent its misuse and related harms, is now teaming up with Hollaback! to unroll the #GoodNightOut scheme across the country. Elaine Hindal, DrinkAware's chief executive, told the Telegraph: ‘Young people should be able to enjoy a night out without fear of intimidating behaviour, whether physical or verbal.
'Being drunk isn’t an excuse for sexually harassing or assaulting other people. The vast majority of young adults we spoke to agree that if a behaviour is unacceptable when you are sober, it’s unacceptable when you are drunk. Now is the time for everyone to take a stand to stop this.’
We agree, and we see how important it is that, when tackling the problem of drink-fuelled harassment, the perpetrators are identified as the cause. Too often we see official recommendations telling the victims of sexual harassment, assault and even rape, that it's their behaviour that needs to be changed in order to avoid the harassment.
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Picture: Ada Hamza
This article originally appeared on The Debrief.