Prague, Czech Republic – More than a third of Czech women have experienced sexual harassment in public transport, according to a new study.
The Focus agency poll, released earlier this week, found that 35% of women in the Czech Republic declare having been victims of sexual harassment while commuting on public transport.
Around a quarter of respondents said they witnessed such incidents, with the same proportion declaring they knew someone who had been victim of such behaviour.
Examples of public harassment include inappropriate touching or staring, suggestive comments and sexual gestures, exhibitionism, shouting, kissing, as well as asking a woman for sex or a date.
Some 7% of female respondents said they had experienced attempted rape on public transport.
“For the first time, we have data that describe the experience of the Czech public with sexual harassment on public transport,” declared Helena Valkova, the government’s human rights commissioner. “We focused on an area that previous research on sexual harassment in the Czech Republic has not yet addressed. It turned out that every fourth woman does not feel safe because of sexual harassment in public transport.”
Approximately 10% of men also declare having experienced sexual harassment.
The head of the Gender Equality Department Office Radan Sararik presented the results of the survey, saying that the government was preparing measures to tackle sexual harassment via EU and Norway-funded programs.
“From other cross-EU studies, we can see that overall sexual harassment occurs relatively often in the Czech Republic, we are slightly above average,” he noted, warning that many people remained unaware of the seriousness of the problem or still considered some milder forms of harassment as “acceptable”.
Measures under consideration to improve the safety of passengers across the Czech Republic include the training of drivers to recognize acts of harassment and intervene accordingly, more frequent police checks and the installation of call buttons for people in distress.