‘A real problem’

Men have virtually no clue about how often women face sexual harassment, study finds

(REUTERS/Mike Theiler)

A new large-scale survey targeting respondents across the U.S. and 12 European countries has found that men vastly underestimate the prevalence of sexual harassment faced by women — and that women, to a slightly lesser extent, do so as well.

Pollster Ipsos Mori’s Perils of Perception survey, which is aimed at identifying the gaps between public perception and statistical reality, found that men almost without exception underestimated the number of women who had experienced sexual harassment in their country by at least 20 percentage points. In Denmark, the Netherlands, and France, where the biggest gaps between reality and perception were found, men guessed the percentage of women who had experienced harassment by age 15 at 31 percent, 38 percent, and 41 percent respectively. Unfortunately, they would have been better off doubling their numbers. According to previous studies, 80 percent of Danish women, 73 percent of Dutch women, and 75 percent of French women said they had experienced harassment.

The Ipsos Mori survey, which was carried out in the wake of the #MeToo campaign and just weeks after Christine Blasey Ford testified against then Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh, also found a dramatic gap in the U.S., where men underestimated the prevalence of harassment by 37 whole percentage points.

“That this survey comes a year after #MeToo, suggests that we have a real problem believing women and taking them seriously,” said Everyday Sexism Project founder Laura Bates in response to the study. “That so many women have been brave enough to tell stories with devastating personal consequences to hear that they are still not being believed is very difficult to cope with. We need a critical mass of men to stand up and get involved to tackle this problem and become part of the solution.”

Read the full story at The Guardian.

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