You may have heard about the 97% study, especially if you are on TikTok as this study gained viral interest on the app, sparking trending hashtags such as #NotAllMenButAllWomen and more. The publication of this study sparked lots of conversation around sexual harassment and sexual assault.
What Is The 97 Percent Study?
This is a study that was done in the UK that surveyed over 1,000 women between the ages of 18-24 and determined that around 97% of all women have experienced sexual harassment. The survey also showed that only around 4% had actually reported anything.
Listen on the Podcast
In episode 216 of the Boom Tequila podcast we talk about the 97% study that was done in the UK surrounding women and sexual harassment. We walk through the study and some of the conversations about it on social media.
Sexual Harassment VS Sexual Assault: What’s The Difference?
Sexual harassment involves unwanted sexual attention such as staring and making sexual comments, exposing ones-self or making rude comments about someones gender or sexual orientation. Sexual assault involves unwanted sexual touch or physical contact.
U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission defines sexual harassment as “offensive remarks about a person’s sex, unwelcome sexual advances, requests for sexual favors.”
- Constant unwanted requests for dates or sexual favors
- Inappropriate comments about someone’s body or appearance
- Unwanted sexual exposure – flashing your privates or sending unsolicited pictures of your privates to someone
- Staring, making sexual gestures at someone
- Sexist comments
- Cat calling or whistling at someone who you don’t know
Sexual assault is any type of sexual contact or behavior that occurs without the explicit consent of the recipient. According to The United Stated Department of Justice, “the term ‘sexual assault’ means any non-consensual sexual act proscribed by Federal, tribal, or State law, including when the victim lacks capacity to consent.”
- Groping, grabbing or touching someone in a sexual manner
- Unwanted kissing
- Forcing someone to touch you sexually
- Rape, attempted rape or penetrating any part of your body with an object
Grey Area Between Sexual Harassment & Assault?
There are a few things that seem to be a bit debated. These are things that technically meet the definition of sexual assault (as they involve unwanted touch), but some argue fall more accurately under sexual harassment. These include:
- Slapping someone’s butt
- Pressing up against someone while dancing in a club (forcefully, to someone you are not there with)
Regardless of where these might legally land or what the perception is though, regarding harassment vs assault, neither indicates acceptable behavior.
Things Women Do Because They Don’t Feel Safe
There are so many things that women do because they don’t really feel safe. Many of these things have become so integrated into our everyday lives that we don’t even really think about it.
- Walking with keys between your fingers
- Carrying mace or pepper spray
- Pretending to be on our phone to avoid having to interact with men who might be staring, cat calling or otherwise making us uncomfortable
- Walking only in well lit areas
- Not going places alone when we can avoid it
- Never leaving a drink unattended at a party or bar
What Is TikTok Saying About The 97% Of Women Study On Sexual Harassment?
This study sparked a lot of conversation centered around phrases and hashtags like “not all men, but all women.” A lot of women are opening up on TikTok and other platforms to talk about sexual harassment they’ve experienced.
There were TikToks pressing men to ask the women in their lives if they any of these things had happened to them. This was used to make that point that if a man is unaware of these situations it is either because they’ve never asked or the woman did not feel safe telling them.
Other videos said things like “don’t be the type of person that says to his wife or girlfriend – ‘It’s not you, I just don’t trust the guys out there, you know how men are’… and ALSO says #NotAllMen!”
Many women also posted videos showing what they were wearing when they became a part of the 97 percent.
There was also a “put a finger down if” challenge going around where women would create videos in which they put a finger down for each statement that was true for them, regarding sexual harassment (video example featured). This trend helped to raise awareness and helped women who participated to share their experiences.
Controversy Surrounding the 97% Study
One argument that seems to be prominent among men is noting that 1,000 women is a small fraction of the population of women. To be honest though it seems like most of these arguments come from people who do not understand how sample set work and have not actually read the study.
Others argue that the scope for sexual harassment is too broad and that some of these things, like sending dick pics “don’t really matter” or aren’t really harassment. (again… mostly men making these arguments).
Is Sexual Harassment The Norm?
A lot of women are also realizing for the first time that they have been sexually harassed. Some have noted that they perhaps didn’t do anything when the sexual harassment happened before because this type of behavior is so common that they have gotten so used to dealing with it. Others women have voiced feeling like a lot of sexual harassment is perhaps too normalized in our culture because that’s all they’ve known or how it’s always been.
This is also bringing up additional conversations around victim blaming and the need to hold men accountable for their actions. I think it is far past time we progress beyond a “boys will be boys” mentality which sadly many still hold today.
- UN Women Sexual Harassment Report: https://www.unwomenuk.org/site/wp-content/uploads/2021/03/APPG-UN-Women_Sexual-Harassment-Report_2021.pdf
- Article from YouGov on the survey: https://yougov.co.uk/topics/relationships/articles-reports/2021/03/08/eurotrack-two-thirds-women-sweden-and-half-britain
- Full survey results: https://docs.cdn.yougov.com/qepiqi9xaf/YouGov%20Sexual%20harassment.pdf
Erin is ambitious, sarcastic and optimistic. She values authenticity, education and personal growth. Read More…