Brazil: Nearly half of women report being sexually harassed

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SAO PAULO (AP) — At least four in 10 women in Brazil say they have been sexually harassed, according to a survey released Saturday by polling institute Datafolha.

The survey indicates 42 percent of those interviewed have experienced sexual harassment, with 29 percent of incidents happening on the street and 22 percent taking place on public transport.

Among better educated women, 44 percent report being harassed, while just 13 percent of those with only an elementary school education said the same.

"There's a difficulty among social groups in Brazil when determining how to define harassment," said Debora Diniz, an attorney and activist with women's rights group Anis.

"Women who are poorer are the ones who are exposed to a much greater degree to the places where harassment is most likely to occur," she said. "So how can we explain that they're more exposed to high-risk places, but suffer fewer incidents of harassment?"

Experts said they believe the overall rate is much higher than what was reported, but women don't often share their experiences publicly out of fear of being blamed.

In 2016, social justice organization ActionAid reported that 86 percent of the 503 women it polled said they had suffered sexual harassment.

Datafolha interviewed 1,427 women and said the poll had a margin of error of 2 percentage points.

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