Why is group street harassment by men towards women often viewed as harmless, normal and permitted male behaviour when in fact, for girls and young women it can be frightening, restricting and undermining? In this new research report, girls and young women share their stories and reflect on their experiences.
In 2018, Plan International’s ground-breaking research report, Unsafe in the City, shone a light on the relentless harassment and abuse that girls and young women face in the streets of their cities and underlined what girls and young women thought could and should be done about it.
Through fresh analysis of the data that informed Unsafe in the City, this report takes a closer look at the group dynamics which underpin the abusive behaviour of men and boys towards girls and young women.
BEHAVIOUR CHANGE Women and girls report just how frightening and disempowering street harassment is - and uniquely so when it is perpetrated by men and boys operating in groups. They are forced to change their own behaviour to keep safe, when it is men's behaviour that needs to change.
It is everyone’s responsibility to condemn harassment and violence against girls and women in all their diversities. More specifically men and boys need to recognise that sexist behaviour is intolerable and change it by learning to respect girls and women as their equals: standing out against the culture of verbal and physical abuse, not standing by.
GIRLS PARTICIPATION IN DECISION MAKING Those in authority and positions of power, at all levels, must listen to and work with girls and young women, respect their experiences and recommendations, and involve them in co-designing the services and policies that govern their cities.
ENFORCEMENT Governments, both municipal and national, must adopt and implement laws and policies that criminalise all forms of gender-based violence, including street and sexual harassment, and send a clear signal that the abuse of girls and women will not be tolerated and that there will be serious repercussions.