Sexual harassment: How it stands around the globe
Updated 6:51 PM ET, Wed November 29, 2017
Chat with us in Facebook Messenger. Find out what's happening in the world as it unfolds.
(CNN)Any woman, in any country, will most likely be able to relate to this situation:
Walking down the street, alone, past a group of guys hanging out with nowhere to go. Her guard goes up, and preparation takes place. Many things could happen when she passes them.
It may be the words "hey, beautiful" or "hey, sexy," or being instructed to smile. It may be more intentional: standing in the way or blocking the path in hope of some interaction. It may get more aggressive, with hands reaching to inappropriate places.
The spectrum is far and wide, with one end harboring the potential for things to become more violent with physical abuse or rape.
"Rape is an extreme consequence of sexual harassment," said Rachel Jewkes, director of the What Works to Prevent Violence Against Women and Girls global program. But there are a "myriad of behaviors," she said.
The fact is that sexual harassment is part and parcel of daily life, particularly in public places, Jewkes believes. "It's used to curtail a woman's freedom."
In the streets of London, Mumbai, Washington or Lagos, the recent outpouring of stories from women using #MeToo and its many iterations has showed the uniformity of the problem -- irrespective of country and culture.
In 2017, the world has made one thing clear: Sexual harassment is everywhere.
When quantifying the problem on a global level, minimal levels of reporting and data limit what experts can provide to help prove -- and solve -- the problem. Based on what is available, here's how the numbers look globally.
"There is massive male sexual entitlement ... especially in south Asia," said Jewkes, who is now based in South Africa but researched male violence in Asia and the Pacific.
"Public spaces are run by men. They perceive an ownership of all public places," she said, adding that social norms enable men to feel this way and, in turn, harass women.
When the streets are unsafe, it provides an excuse to keep women and young girls at home or take them out of school, Jewkes added.
The gang rape of a young female student on a bus in New Delhi, India, in 2012 brought attention to the issue across that country. Research by international charity ActionAid in 2016 found that 44% of women surveyed in India had been groped in public.
Data from the United Nations Entity for Gender Equality and the Empowerment of Women, also known as UN Women, reveal that almost four in 10 women have experienced sexual or physical violence from a partner in their lifetime.