China cross posted from WSJ
In a world that is full of places where women can’t walk the streets alone, China appears to be relatively safe.
Yet Chinese women are facing a rise in sexual harassment, according to asurvey from China-based research firm Canton Public Opinion Research Center.
Of the 1,500 women above the age of 16 surveyed, 31% reported a rise in sexual harassment incidents over the past three years, while 48% of those between the ages of 16 and 25 said they have faced increased incidents, the survey, conducted by phone with women in Beijing, Shanghai and Guangzhou, said.
Compared with countries such as India, where “aggressive sexual harassment is a fixture of daily life,” as reported today in The Wall Street Journal, China has appeared comparatively safe for females. Sexual harassment in Japan has become such a problem that subways now offer female-only cars.
Yet women have long faced many obstacles in Chinese society, including cases of domestic violence and acts of subjugation, such as foot-binding.
The Canton survey reported that 35% of victims suffered sexual harassment in verbal form, in person, or through text messages or phone calls. The survey did not provide reasons for the rates of increase.
Research from the University of Chicago in 2006 suggests that as China’s economy has undergone a massive transformation in the last two decades, so has its society, including its views of sex and of women.