KUALA LUMPUR: Over a third or 36 per cent of Malaysian women have experienced sexual harassment, compared to one in six (17 per cent) men, said a survey.
The YouGov Omnibus said their latest survey which sampled 1,002 Malaysians showed that of those who faced harassment only half (53 per cent) reported or told someone about what they had to endure.
“Women are more likely to report an incident than men (57 per cent versus 44 per cent). Amongst those who had reported the incident, most told a friend (54 per cent) or family (51 per cent) about being sexually harassed, rather than the police (15 per cent),” claimed the market research agency in a statement.
“The main reason people chose not to report sexual harassment is embarrassment (54 per cent), feeling that no one would do anything about the problem (38 per cent) and fear of repercussion (26 per cent),” it said.
Topping the list on the forms of harassment cited by respondents was sexual assault (59 per cent), followed by verbal comments of a sexual nature (48 per cent), flashing (29 per cent) and (using) unwanted sexualised photography or videography (20 per cent).
“To avoid being sexually harassed, seven in 10 (70 per cent) of Malaysian women regularly take precautions, compared to four in 10 (30 per cent) men.”
They, among others, took precautions by avoiding certain areas (70 per cent ), avoiding or minimising interaction with strangers (61 per cent) and avoid being alone (60 per cent).
Men are more likely to learn self-defence skills than women (39 per cent versus 31 per cent), and women are more likely to dress in a certain way than men (56 per cent 33 per cent) to prevent sexual harassment.
A quarter (27 per cent) of those surveyed said they were aware of the #MeToo movement. Three in five (61 per cent) thought the movement would make people more open to talking about sexual harassment. One in ten (10 per cent) thought it would make no difference, and one in eight (12 per cent) thought it would make people less open. The remaining two in ten (18 per cent) were undecided.
Jake Gammon, Head of Omnibus APAC at YouGov Omnibus, said that due to a lack of official statistics surrounding sexual harassment in Malaysia, the agency wanted to find out how prevalent the issue was.
“What is surprising is the number of sexual harassment cases that go unreported, and the reasons behind it. It’ll be interesting to see if these figures change in an age of #MeToo.”