Well, this is sobering and depressing.
A new report compiled by research company Ipsos has discovered that almost a third of young Australian women do not feel safe in public spaces at night.
The ‘A Right to the Night‘ report, commissioned by child rights agency Plan International Australia and anti-violence against women not-for-profit Our Watch, surveyed some 600 Australian women between the ages of 15 and 19, and the results returned are bleak.
30% of those surveyed stated that they are afraid of being in public spaces at night time, and a further 25% stated that they fear using public transport alone at night.
Even worse, a further 17% of those surveyed stated that they believe when a girl wears revealing or low-cut clothing, that she is then at least partially responsible for attracting any unwanted or unsolicited attention, harassment, or touching from male predators.
In fact the report, which was also conducted in countries around the world, found that more young women in Australia felt unsafe in public spaces at night than women in Nicaragua in Central America (where 23% of women surveyed stated they are apprehensive about being outside after dark).
Women involved in the survey stated that the reasons they felt afraid or apprehensive about going out at night was due to three key points: the high rate of sexual assaults committed on women, a general feeling of uneasiness about being around men who had been drinking, and a general feeling of insecurity about being in empty areas with poor lighting.
Susanne Legena of Plan International Australia stated the results were shocking and came as a surprise to those conducting the research.
“This is Australia in 2016, and you’ve got one in three young women saying they’re afraid to be out in public spaces after dark … and as a result they’re curbing their behaviour.”
“One of the things that really emerged out of the research is this culture we have in Australia of victim blaming. Young women have internalised that … they’re choosing to stay at home, modify the clothes they wear, in order to feel safe.”
The report suggests a number of practical solutions to the issues raised, including imploring city planners to implement more and better lighting in public areas, placing a higher priority on personal security on public transport (CCTV cameras, authorised personnel manning station platforms, etc), and more responsible reporting of sexual assaults and violence against women with an increased emphasis against using victim blaming language.
But two young women who spoke to ABC News provided arguably the crux of the issue – that men need to gain a better understanding of exactly why women are feeling intimidated or afraid of being in public at night.
“My male friends … sometimes they don’t really see what the problem is necessarily. And they think that we’re overreacting.”
“They don’t understand the fear that you feel … because they’ve never felt it themselves.”
Nail on the head, right there.
The full report can be viewed via ABC News here. It’s an extremely important read.
Source: ABC News.