Hollaback! Boston survey sheds light on harassment in the Hub

Kate Ziegler, left, and Britni de la Cretaz

Hollaback!Boston today released the results of a first-of-its kind local study examining instances of harassment on the streets of Boston.

In August, 543 Bostonians responded to the survey, which found that 88 percent of respondents experienced harassment in Boston. Of those that responded, 97 percent said they were hassled on the street in the past year, and 63 percent said it also happened on the MBTA.

Most respondents, 92 percent, said they responded by ignoring it, although nearly half, 42 percent, said they occasionally yelled something at the harasser. Just 14 percent of people said they had someone intervene on their behalf.

About 87 percent of female respondents said they experienced street harassment. About 78 percent of people considered leering or staring to be harassment, and nearly all respondents considered touching, honking, degrading comments and blocking someone’s path to be a form of harassment.

“We firmly believe that the solution is creating a community of active bystanders,” said Britni de la Cretaz, co-director of Hollaback! Boston. “I think the (14 percent number) shows it’s part of our society, that we just kind of accept it as something that happens. We want to teach people how to be an active bystander regardless of who they are. ”

The volunteer organization, which is a local chapter of an international movement that fights street harassment, hopes the findings will influence the city’s handling of street harassment and shed light on its prevalence.

“Ideally we’d like to take it to policymakers,” said de la Cretaz. “I think the results are compelling enough to warrant more in-depth research and public education.”

Visit Hollaback! Boston for the survey’s full results.

Follow Morgan Rousseau on Twitter: @MetroMorgan
Follow Metro Boston on Twitter: @MetroBOS


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