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90% of groping victims in Fukuoka survey didn't report incidents to police

A Railway Police Unit investigator is seen on a station platform in Fukuoka's Hakata Ward on May 27, 2021. Female investigators respond to cases involving female victims. (Mainichi/Toyokazu Tsumura)

FUKUOKA -- Around 90% of groping victims who responded to a survey by the Fukuoka Prefectural Police's Railway Police Unit didn't report the crimes.

    When asked why they didn't file reports, about half of those surveyed chose answers indicating that their feelings as victims were repressed, suggesting that many victims are left to suffer silently amid a lack of weight attached to incidents involving sexual violence by those around them.

    The survey was conducted online between February and March this year, and responses were obtained from 2,079 women and 960 men. The majority of respondents were living in Fukuoka Prefecture. By age group, around 70% of them were high school and university students.

    A total of 35.1% of women said they had been groped in the past, and of these, 60% reported having been molested more than once. Over 60% of the incidents occurred on trains.

    When asked what action they took when being groped, 26.6% of the respondents said they "put up with it." Another 24% said they were "too scared to do anything," while 20.8% said they moved to a different place. The results indicate that around 70% of respondents were unable to fight back against the gropers. Just 2.1% said they apprehended the perpetrators by themselves.

    Over 90% of those who said they were groped didn't report the incidents to police. Among them, 16.4% said they "didn't want to make a big deal of it," 9.5% said they were "embarrassed about it," and 8.3% said they "didn't want to make people worried" -- suggesting that they were repressed by such factors.

    When asked how others around them felt about groping and camera voyeurism, 39.2% of women responded that they felt others "think of such incidents lightly, or don't have an interest in them." Just 20.7% of men gave the same response, indicating a perception gap between men and women.

    The results of the questionnaire that also allowed free responses including the opinions of groping victims will go up on the prefectural police's official website in the near future.

    "We're putting effort into cracking down on incidents, so we want people to take the courage to speak to us," Takanori Sakemi, the vice head of the railway police unit, commented.

    (Japanese original by Akira Iida, Kyushu News Department)

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