PURPOSE: To identify the extent of sexual harassment, to identify the main types and forms of sexual harassment in Kyrgyzstan and assess their impact on the lives of women and girls, to identify the factors influencing the extent of sexual harassment in Kyrgyzstan in order to provide for proportionate legal responsibility for such actions.
On November 22, 2019, the Kyrgyz Association of Women Judges presented the results of a study on sexual harassment committed in universities and workplaces. More than two-thirds of women interviewed for the study recognized that sexual harassment is a problem; at the same time, one in four women reported having been sexually harassed themselves.
As part of the study, supported by the USAID Cooperative Management Program, the Association anonymously interviewed 877 women and girls at various workplaces and universities in Bishkek, Kara-Balta, Osh, and Tokmok. Most of those interviewed recognized that the problem exists; 23% of working women and 21.9% of female students reported that they themselves had been sexually harassed.
The study shows that 80% of harassment cases occur in public institutions.
The vast majority of respondents stated that they did not know where to turn to with this problem, and even if they did, many feared being judged. In most cases, women turned to their friends for help and advice (48.4%), and there were no cases of contacting law enforcement agencies.
The results of the survey were presented and discussed during a roundtable with more than 100 representatives of government agencies, international organizations, civil society, as well as judges and deputies of the Jogorku Kenesh.
According to Chinara Aidarbekova of the Kyrgyz Association of Women Judges, young women and girls are the most frequent victims of sexual harassment. “It was depressing to read the research report.