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Most British women first experience catcalling during puberty

If you think catcalling is a bit of harmless banter this might change your mind. The results of the largest ever study into street harassment, carried out by Hollaback!, reveals that many girls experience it before they’re even old enough to understand the implications of it.

Women from 22 countries took part in the survey by anti-street harassment group Hollaback!, which reveals that 84 percent of respondents experience street harassment before they turn 17.

And here in the U.K. the figure is even higher: 90 percent of British woman claim to have been catcalled for the first time during puberty. What’s even more worrying is that 71 percent reported their first experience being before the age of 15 and 10 percent recalled it happening before the age of 10.

The research also reveals that 63 percent of British women have been groped or fondled in the past year and 74 percent have been followed by a man, or group of men, in a way that made them feel unsafe during the past year.

Over 16,600 women from across the world provided information about their personal experiences of street harassment, including their age when they first experienced harassment, the type of harassment they experienced, their behavioural changes as a result of harassment and the emotional effects of harassment.

More: “Adult Wednesday Addams” puts catcallers in their place (VIDEO)

Hollaback! is a non-profit organisation dedicated to ending street harassment around the world and encourages those who experience harassment in public spaces to respond via its website by documenting the incident, uploading a photo if they wish and sharing the information to a publicly viewable map.

“Street harassment teaches us to be silent, but we aren’t listening,” says the Hollaback! website. “We don’t put up with harassment in the home, at work, or at school. And now we aren’t putting up with it in the street, either. By holla’ing back you are transforming an experience that is lonely and isolating into one that is sharable. You change the power dynamic by flipping the lens off of you and onto the harasser. And you enter a worldwide community of people who’ve got your back.”

Video credit: Emily May/YouTube

More on this issue

Artist turns nasty catcalls into beautiful works of art
Celia Imrie’s wolf-whistling comment misses the point
Alarming photo series captures sexual aggression women feel every day

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