Introduction: There has been violence against females since a long time ago in different communities irrespective of social status, religion and race. Street harassment is a form of violence against females by strangers outside of the family in public places. It is one of the obvious aspects of sexual harassment in the public in which women are sexually humiliated. This type of violence leads to various negative consequences for both victim women (such as increasing physical and mental disorders) and society (deprivation of women’s aptitudes and capabilities). Regarding to the fact that most of researches in this field have investigated on the domestic violence which implemented by males (husbands) the street harassment has been neglected. In spite of the slump of the academic circle in the past decades, street harassment has been highly considered in recent years. Although many researchers in different countries of the world recognized the importance of this
problem and therefore it is now the subject matter of numerous studies. In spite of high prevalence of street harassments in our country, a few studies has been conducted in this regard yet. However, the findings of some studies in several cities such as Tehran, Mashhad, Kerman, Gorgan, Shiraz and Sanandaj point out that the street harassment is been spread in Iran. The objective of this research is social analysis of the street harassments toward females as well as their passive reactions to it.
Method: The study is done by implementing quantitative method by using survey. Statistical population of the study is 6399 of the female students of Mazandaran University which 362 students have been chosen by stratified random sampling method. Data has been collected through self-administered questionnaire and data were analyzed by SPSS software.
The rates of victims of street harassments as well as the passive reaction to these harassments were considered as dependent variables. These variables measured with an investigator-made scale based on 22 and 18 questions, respectively. The reliability coefficient for two above mentioned scales were 0.890 and 0.760 which are indicating high internal consistency of these scales. Furthermore, acceptance of gender roles stereotypes, acceptance of patriarchal values, and social learning of passive reaction has been treated as independent variables. To analyze the collected data, SPSS has been applied.
Findings: The findings of the study indicated that the respondents mainly were young girls (average age 22.1 years old), residents of dormitories, unmarried, and undergraduate students. These respondents mainly belong to low and medium socio-economic status families. Furthermore, 97.4 percent of respondents experienced one type of street harassments during last yare, while 14.1 percent of them reported daily street harassments. Patterns of harassment show that harassers were mainly young men (under 29 years old) which harassed their victims mostly in the places such as streets, parks and markets at the time of between evening and night.
Discussion: According to the findings of the study, the street harassment is happening in the different times and places irrespective of the age of the victim women. Moreover, acceptance of patriarchal values may cause to more passive reactions by victims. These findings are in line with radical feminist theory which emphasize on the process of female monitoring by male. Radical feminist theorists aim to analyze the men violence against women, and try to unveil the fact that patriarchal values conceal men violence against women, hide it, or inculpate women for being under violence. In this theory point of view perpetration of violence against women and women's passive reaction toward sexual taunts shows that women are suppressed in a patriarchal system.
Furthermore, the rate of “acceptance of sexual role's stereotypes” by young girls and women in this study had no impact on the passive reaction toward the street harassments. According to Pearson's correlation test there is a significant and positive relationship between the “acceptance of sexual role's stereotypes” and passive reaction to the street harassments. But, the results of multiple regression analysis show that as acceptance of gender role's stereotypes increase, the rate of passive reaction to the street harassments will not increase and people who act based on their sexual role’s stereotypes do not have more passive reaction in comparison with the other respondents because those females, who are affected by masculine hegemony in society, have passive reaction toward the street harassments. It seems that believing in the sexual role’s stereotypes or not, could not overcome the patriarchal structure.
In addition, it has been concluded that the social learning of passive reaction to street harassment from family, friends and peers, is effective on the passive reaction of females to street harassments. This might be, to some extent, due to complexity of human behaviors especially in regard to sexual affaires. In the other words, female reactions to street harassment might be under the influence of many factors which can't be reduced to factors like observation and imitation. Seemingly,
between the learning process- as a first step- and the incidence of behavior -as the final stage-, numerous factors and conditions might intervene as moderate and mediate factors. It seems that in this study, the girls who learnt passive reaction to street harassment from their families and friends mentally, may behave differently depending on the time and place of harassment.