“Nobody Teases Good Girls” a Study on Perceptions of Sexual Violence and Harassment among Young Men in the Slums of Mumbai

Susannah C. Zietz, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill

In Delhi, 91.5% of women age 16-49 reported ever experiencing sexual violence in public spaces, most commonly verbal. Sexual harassment of girls and women in public spaces, one form of sexual violence, is commonly named and socially constructed in South Asia as “eve teasing.” Experience of sexual harassment in public spaces is associated with restrictions on mobility, interrupted education, and early age at marriage. This study seeks to understand attitudes and perceptions of adolescent boys and young men on this topic. Ten focus group discussions were conducted in two slum communities. Coding and thematic analysis were performed. The findings reflect a “blame the victim” approach, which legitimizes sexual harassment. Themes of acceptance of harassment, weak sanctions, traditional gender norms supportive of harassment, and ideologies of male sexual entitlement were identified. Community mobilization is necessary in designing interventions focused on the primary and secondary prevention of sexual harassment in such locales.

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 Presented in Session P8. Economy, Labor Force, Education, and Inequality/Gender, Race and Ethnicity