Ioanna Gouseti, PhD
Leverhulme Research Fellow
Gendered harassment in public and the potential for a "zero-tolerance" culture
This 3-year project is funded by the Leverhulme Trust Early Career Fellowship, and looks at lay experiences of and attitudes to gendered harassment in public spaces in the UK, focusing on socio-cultural and contextual factors. Existing research suggests that sexual harassment in public is a universal phenomenon, disproportionately experienced by women as victims and men as perpetrators (Stanko, 1990), leading to its characterization as a gendered form of violence (Vera-Gray, 2016).
Although violence against women has been studied extensively, the focus has been overwhelmingly on the domestic and work environments. Only recently has sexual harassment in public attracted more academic, political and media attention, with emerging research suggesting that it is a pervasive form of violence against women (ibid.). Therefore, this project aims to develop a systematic approach to the theorization and measurement of the phenomenon, examining its sociocultural and contextual explanatory parameters, with emphasis on gender identities and public spaces.
Methodologically, the project utilizes triangulation of quantitative methodologies, combining survey and experimental data. The project seeks to develop a systematic approach to the empirical exploration of gendered harassment, looking at its multiple manifestations from a gendered perspective.
It also seeks to investigate the degree of its normalization in the understudied context of urban public spaces. Conceptualizing harassment as part of a continuum of gendered violence and inequality, the ultimate goal is to produce data that will contribute to a ‘zero-tolerance’ culture to gendered harassment in public spaces.