Survey on sexual harassment in Madagascar [Survey results 2019]

02/08/2019. Sexual harassment, you’d think it only exists in movies, or at least outside our country. And that’s exactly where we’re wrong. Although we don’t see it every day, it is there, lurking behind a few innuendoes or small gestures heavy with innuendo. In the workplace, at school, in the family circle or on the street, we are not safe anywhere. As usual, we took to the streets of Antananarivo to ask for the Malagasy people’s opinion, which today is about “sexual harassment in Madagascar”. A rather sensitive subject that allowed us to extract some confessions that you will discover in the following lines.

Do you know exactly what it is?

We’ve asked this question of everyone who’s crossed our path. We asked those who think they can define sexual harassment (78%) how it is recognized through a multiple choice question. The main characteristics collected are

  • Showing pictures/images of a sexual nature (15%)
  • Lustful glance (4%)
  • Making inappropriate gestures (5%)
  • Having the hand “walkman” (4%)
  • Making inappropriate remarks (5%)
  • Spreading rumours of a sexual nature (5%)
  • Telling sexual jokes (5%)

For the 21% who were unsure, we mentioned these options above and asked them which of these points they thought constituted the beginnings of sexual harassment. In the same order, the results were 23%, 23%, 35%, 29%, 19%, 5% and 3%.

Sexual harassment can take the form of a few slightly inappropriate actions
Sexual harassment can take the form of a few slightly inappropriate actions

So, you can show off naughty pictures, clown around with dirty jokes or start nasty rumours about a colleague you don’t like to put the office in the mood. But be aware that if you put too much emphasis on one person, it can backfire you and get you fired or even sued. So watch out!

Sexual harassment is especially visible on public transport in Madagascar!

Always with a multiple answer question, we asked them where they often saw this odious phenomenon.

Already that the quality of transport in Madagascar leaves something to be desired, it is necessary in addition that 40% of our respondents point to the buses of Antananarivo as the scene where this kind of thing happens the most. There is really something to discourage Tanananarivians from using their usual means of transport to get to work.

The work environment and public places such as the street are not far from these public transports with their 35% and 31%. Even the family environment (26%), schools (18%) and social networks (16%) are not spared.

The workplace, the second place where sexual harassment is most prevalent in Madagascar
The workplace, the second place where sexual harassment is most prevalent in Madagascar

For the 1% who point the finger at other places, such as bars and nightclubs, it is not surprising. After all, these are the places where Tananarivians go out at night to unwind when the long-awaited weekend arrives and, why not, to find some company with a bit of luck. In this context, the men and women who venture there must be prepared to receive advances from their heterosexual and homosexual congeners as well as from unfaithful Tananarivians looking for a little getaway.

Three-quarters of the population do not intervene in cases of harassment

73% of our subjects have never witnessed a scene of sexual harassment, but the others (27%) have. The bravest (26%) of those who have witnessed this kind of act dared to intervene. This means that the remaining three-quarters (14%) stood idly by and looked the other way!

Really inadmissible, you might say. Yes, certainly, but understandable all the same. Often, this voluntary blindness is due to the fact that they fear the possible negative repercussions of their intervention.

Harassment, just a bad habit?

According to 51% of our subjects, those who engage in harassment are “victims of bad habits”. We can’t tell you what bad habits we’re talking about here, but they may refer to pimps who like to destabilize people in an obnoxious way or macho people who want to express their virility by approaching all the women around them, whether they are receptive or not.

These stalkers are also described as “mentally ill” and “victims of sexual disability” by 11% and 37% of our respondents respectively. If individuals who allow their sexual misconduct to affect the integrity of others are labelled “victims”, one wonders where the world is going.

Even though nearly 75% do not intervene when they witness harassment, 89% of all our respondents still believe that these offenders deserve to be punished. On the other hand, 10% do not agree. Here we repeat: “But where is the world going!? »

Sentences are varied, but 62% of them are for prosecution. There are also other proposals such as verbal (19%) and written warnings (8%), layoff (9%) and dismissal (2%).

The confessions of our Tananarivians

Of the total number of employees surveyed, 49% were women and 51% were men. Among the women, 18% had already been victims of harassment against 80% who said no and 2% who preferred not to answer.

A very rare but existing fact is that men are also sexually harassed. As proof, even though almost all (98%) of the men who participated in our survey said that they have never been victims of this type of behaviour, 2% of them told us that they had.

We have grouped the locations where these victims report experiencing these harms in the following table:

At school11%4%
In the professional environment11%2%
In public transport11%3%
In the family environment5%1%
In the street22%7%
On social networks5%1%

This harassment took three forms:

  • non-verbal: 33% for women and 40% for men…
  • physical: 55% for women and 50% for men
  • verbal: 12% for women and 10% for men

Some of them (39% of the women and 50% of the men) dared to tell someone around them to ask for advice and to know what they should do. These relatives were mostly friends (57% of women) or family (43% of women and 100% of men).

Unbelievable as it may seem, men are also victims of harassment
Unbelievable as it may seem, men are also victims of harassment

Unfortunately, a large proportion of them (61% of women and 50% of men) preferred to keep quiet, probably for fear of reprisals or simply out of shame.

Conclusion of this survey

Madagascar may be the largest island in the Indian Ocean and a sanctuary of unsuspected richness (endemic animals, biodiversity, exceptional flora, wood and precious stones, etc.) but it is not spared the scourge of sexual harassment.

Despite what they know about this infamy, there are 10% of Malagasy people who think that the perpetrators do not deserve punishment. It seems as if they support this movement. How can you not be sorry and shocked by such a mentality?

The most distressing thing in my opinion is the fact that the majority of stalkers have not been apprehended and punished. Indeed, of the registered victims in our survey, 89% of women and 99% of men told us that those who have subjected them to these horrible torments have not been properly punished. It is so overwhelming that I am at a loss for words.


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