Street Harassment Statistics

Research by ILR professor, students reveals magnitude of problem
Friday, April 17, 2015

Eighty-five percent of women in the United States experience street harassment before the age of 17, according to research by ILR and Hollaback!, a non-profit organization.

ILR Professor Beth Livingston directed the research and was assisted by Maria Grillo MILR ’15 and Rebecca Paluch M.S./Ph.D. ’18. Data from more than 16,600 women in 42 cities globally is slated to be released in May.

Livingston said, “Creating a survey to be consistent across multiple countries is a complicated undertaking, but it provides an amazing opportunity to understand street harassment cross-culturally.”

The survey was conducted between Oct. 15 and Dec. 15. It was translated into English, Spanish, French, Italian, Dutch, Bosnian, Croatian, Hindi, Polish, Nepali, Marathi and German.

Survey findings from the nearly 4,900 respondents who live in the U.S. showed:

  • Sixty-seven percent experienced harassment before age 14
  • Seventy-seven percent under age 40 reported being followed by a man or group of men in the past year in a  way that made them feel unsafe
  • Fifty-seven  percent under age 40 felt distracted at school or work due to street harassment
  • Half reported they have been groped or fondled during the past year
  • More than half changed their clothing, refused a social event, chose a different transportation option or felt distracted at school or work due to harassment
  • More than a third said they were late for school or work due to street harassment
  • Three percent under age of 40 reported finding street harassment flattering.

Debjani Roy, deputy director of Hollaback! said in a statement, “We hear stories of street harassment every day and, even so, this data shocked us.”

“The prevalence of street harassment in the U.S. is profound. We can no longer dismiss street harassment as a ‘little problem,’ this is everyone’s problem,” she said.