CNN, by way of LifeWire, reports on survey by Holly Kearl, a former graduate student at George Washington University, on street harassment or “catcalling,” and the results depress:
[Kearl] found that 98 percent of respondents experienced some form of street harassment at least a few times, and about 30 percent reported being harassed on a regular basis.
The number surprised me, but I wouldn’t be surprised if it were true, though I call into question Kearl’s methods. The “study” only informally surveyed 225 people by email. That figure seems rather too small to produce any meaningful population representation—if Mss. Kearl is even looking for quantitative results.
Also, the survey was done anonymously by email. I would think—Speaking as someone with no data-mining or psychology qualifications working off pure speculation—voluntary response surveys might skew results towards neutral or even positive responses to harassment, a few of which the article quotes. Someone deeply affected by harassment would seem to be not in the best of places to answer questions about it for a stranger over the Internet, possibly the most unaccountable of mediums.
But even if figures are inflated (or underreported) or reactions skewed, or the reporting framed under a dismissive headline, talking about street harassment seems the best thing to do about it. Women know they are not alone, but in fact in good company.
Also, is anyone else surprised to find CNN has file photos of a gang of men ogling a semi-scantily-clad woman just lying around on hand?
Note: Kearl’s correction to misunderstandings and replies to my criticisms here.