‘Over 70 percent Australians face sexual harassment’

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Nearly 71 percent of Australians have been victims of sexual harassment at some point in their lives, a report published on Wednesday by the Australian Human Rights Commission said.

One in every three have experienced it at work in the last five years, Efe news quoted the study as saying.

Sex Discrimination Commissioner Kate Jenkins indicated in the report that sexual harassment is generally perpetrated by a man and “in many cases, it is ongoing over an extended period”.

The main forms of sexual harassment cited in the study are sexual jokes and comments, inappropriate physical contact and rape.

At least 23 per cent of women have been victims of an attempt or an act of rape or sexual assault in their lives, the report said, adding that 89 percent of women have also suffered other types of harassment.

The study also reveals that more than 85 percent of women and 56 percent of men under the age of 15 say they have been sexually harassed at least once.

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The rate of sexual harassment is higher among people between 18 and 29 years old while indigenous Australians are the most vulnerable to these crimes, according to the research.

The data adds that 83 percent of homosexuals and 90 percent of bisexuals have been victims of sexual harassment compared to 70 percent of heterosexuals, while 68 percent of disabled people have been sexually harassed at some points in their lives.

The research indicates that 64 percent of sexual harassment cases in the workplace is carried out by a single perpetrator who most often is a co-worker at the same level as the victim.

Jenkins stressed that the workplace harassment rate is “particularly high in the information, media and telecommunications industries”.

About 19 percent of the workers who made a formal complaint on sexual harassment in the workplace were labeled troublemakers, another 18 percent were isolated or ignored and 17 percent quit their jobs, while the perpetrator experienced no consequences in 19 percent of the cases.

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