A stunning 44 percent of women in the Netherlands regularly feel unsafe in public spaces, according to findings of a large survey conducted by De Telegraaf.
Over 1,000 female readers were polled on a series of questions pertaining to personal safety and security, and the results indicate a sizable portion of the country’s female population is unable to comfortably move about in public on a consistent basis.
“Avoid public transport in the evening, hold your breath when you pass a group of young men on the street and always have a bunch of keys or a hair spray in your hand to ‘arm yourself’ against sudden danger: for a considerable number of Dutch women this has become the daily reality,” De Telegraaf reports.
Interestingly, buried deep in the article is the revelation that “a striking number of women mentioned men of foreign origin” in connection with negative personal experiences, including sexual assault, harassment, and physical intimidation.
Key findings of the survey include:
- 85% sometimes feel unsafe using public transport, with one-third of that group saying the feeling is frequent or constant
- 44% avoid public transportation altogether after dark
- 55% regularly carry carry items that can be used as weapons, like umbrellas, keys, defensive sprays, or even knives
- 42% sometimes walk alternate routes, even if they are longer, for safety reasons
- 43% sometimes feel unsafe taking taxis
- 28% feel unsafe walking around due to harassment by groups of men
- Most women who have been attacked or sexually assaulted were not assisted by bystanders
Multiple readers shared tales of being surrounded, robbed, or attacked by large groups of foreign males.
One woman says she awoke on a train to a man pleasuring himself in front of her before he pulled out a large knife and began cleaning his nails.
The survey findings closely resemble those of a recent poll conducted by the Brussels–Prevention & Security (BPV) service, which found that 44 percent of Brussels inhabitants now carry a “means of defense” when they travel around the city.