Our friends at Stop Street Harassment shared news this past week of an anti-sexual-harassment bill that is currently before the Chilean parliament. The bill focuses specifically on groping in public places.
Chile currently has a series of fines for public groping, but the problem continues because many women and girls are too scared to report the crime. It is estimated that only 17% of women who experience this crime report it to police. One of the aims of the bill is to increase reporting. In fact, a key supporter of the bill proposed that one of its main objectives be “to highlight what is invisible most of the time.”
The writer of the post applauds the initiative but cautions that severe penalties may also deter women from reporting. Women may want men punished, but long jail terms are considered too extreme. There is a need “to find the line where the law is one that people feel comfortable and able to use but also one with a stiff enough penalty that it deters people from groping.”
Although there are questions over how to implement anti-groping laws to ensure their effectiveness, the fact that they are being discussed and passed in many countries is good news indeed.