Extent and consequences of verbal sexual harassment

Project period

01.07.2021 – 31.12.2021

Project staff

Dr. Lena Lehmann (Project Manager)

Laura-Romina Goede

Yvonne Krieg (advisory function)

Helena Schüttler (advisory function)

Project staff

Catcalling is a term used to describe sexually connotated behavior or various types of sexual harassment without physical contact. This includes, among other things, whistling or kissing noises, intrusive glances, supposed compliments, suggestive remarks or comments about a person’s appearance in public spaces, or sexual harassment by means of digital media, e.g. through the unwanted confrontation with pictures or videos of sexual content. Currently, non-contact but unreasonably imposed sexuality is not yet a separate criminal offense or misdemeanor. Already the “#MeToo” movement has brought the problem of sexual harassment by men in everyday life to the attention of the international public. The petition “It’s 2020. Verbal sexual harassment should be punishable” on catcalling by Antonia Quell was supported by almost 70,000 people, and the German Women Lawyers Association has also already called for a legal standardization of non-contact sexual harassment (DJB, 2021).

The aim of the project is to shed more light on non-contact sexual harassment. For this purpose, the extent as well as the forms and consequences of catcalling will be investigated. In addition to characteristics of the perpetrators and victims such as age, gender, sexual orientation, their motivation and relationship to each other, the location of the event as well as other aspects will be analyzed. In order to include the legal perspective, the possibility of criminal sanctioning of the perpetrators as well as the criminal treatment on the experience of the victims will be examined.

The data will be collected by means of an online survey. Approximately 1,000 young people will be asked about their experiences with and the consequences of verbal sexual harassment. The survey link is to be distributed on the Internet using the snowball method. For this purpose, KFN is supported by various activist-organized networks that emphasize the relevance of the topic of catcalling and draw attention to the problem. The survey period stretches from the beginning of September to the end of October 2021, and the results will be presented at the interdisciplinary scientific online conference “Gender & Crime – Gender Aspects in Criminology and Criminal Justice”. The conference will take place at KFN from November 25 to 26, 2021.