A Cumbrian charity supporting victims of rape, sexual exploitation, domestic and sexual abuse has said it’s “appalled but unsurprised” by a new survey which shows that 97 per cent of women aged 18-24 years old have experienced sexual harassment.
Safety Net UK provides trauma recovery therapy and support to victims across north and West Cumbria. In the last year, 61 per cent of the charity’s 886 client cases involved some aspect of rape, sexual assault, childhood sexual abuse or sexual exploitation.
The UN Women UK findings have been launched in the wake of the alleged murder of Sarah Everard, who was found dead after she walked home through London.
Since then, thousands of women across the country have spoken out on social media to highlight their own experiences of sexual harassment and assault.
“It’s deeply concerning that this survey shows that the vast majority of young women in this country have experienced sexual harassment at some point in their lives,” explained Jo Birch, head of operations at Safety Net.
“And the social media response to Sarah’s murder shows that women regularly feel the need to modify their behaviour in order to get home safely.
“We feel it’s really important to state that sexual harassment and sexual assault is never, ever the victim’s fault. Whilst it is understandable that women want to take steps to ensure their safety, we also need attitudes towards women to change so that they are able to live in a world free from violence and fear.
“61 per cent of our cases involve some aspect of sexual assault or abuse. We are here for all victims – if you have experienced such abuse and you come to Safety Net, you will be believed and we can help you recover from this trauma.”