'97 Percent' TikTok Trend Sees Women Sharing Sexual Harassment Experiences Following Study

Tiktok users are sharing their experiences of sexual harassment after a study found almost all young women in the U.K. had survived it.

Data collected for the United Nations and published on March 10 showed 97 percent of women aged between 18 to 24 in the U.K. had experienced some form of sexual harassment in public.

The survey of 1,089 women also found 71 percent of respondents of all ages had been sexually harassed in a public space including on transport, in venues like pubs or clubs, at events such as concerts or sports games, in streets, parks, commons, recreational spaces, and on social media. Respondents were not asked about harassment at work or school.

Sexual harassment included but was not limited to being cat-called, started at, groped, experiencing indecent exposure, and receiving suggestive content online or in person. Over 95 percent of the women surveyed said they did not report their experiences of sexual harassment.

The research was published amid heightened fears and anger around women's safety in public spaces as police in the U.K. investigated the alleged murder and kidnapping of 33-year-old Sarah Everard. The marketing executive went missing on March 3 as she walked home in London. Police officer Wayne Couzens was charged in connection with her death, and is due to stand trial in the fall.

The results of the survey hit a nerve with Tiktok users, who are relatively young. Posts with the "#97percent" hashtag had been viewed over 23.3 million times on Thursday morning, according to Tiktok data.

Girls and women detailed their experiences of sexual harassment, and recounted the moment they joined the "97 percent" described in the U.N. report. One user said this happened when she was nine.

Others hit back at suggestions that women can prevent sexual harassment by changing their behavior, including by detailing the modest clothing they were wearing at the time. Instead, they suggested, the onus to prevent sexual harassment is on men.

Some boys and men gave their support, with one writing "97% what is wrong with us" and others hitting out at jokes that the remaining 3 percent of women should also be harassed.

The posts echoed the content of Twitter posts made by women following the disappearance of Everard, which were met with criticism that they unfairly painted men in a bad light and that "not all men" are guilty of sexual harassment.

Many Tiktok users who posted with the #97percent hashtag took objection to this stance, with one writing "its not all men but its almost every woman."

TikTok 97 percent sexual harassment, getty
The TikTok logo is seen on the screen of a smartphone on September 18, 2020 in Paris, France. TikTok users have been sharing their experiences of sexual harassment. Chesnot/Getty Images