Over a third of Malaysian women have experienced sexual harassment
August 6th, 2019, Kim Ho

Over a third of Malaysian women have experienced sexual harassment

Half of sexual harassment incidents go unreported

Latest YouGov Omnibus research finds that over a third (36%) of Malaysians women have experienced sexual harassment, compared to one in six (17%) men.

Of those who have faced sexual harassment, only half (53%) reported or told someone about the incident. Women are more likely to report an incident than men (57% vs. 44%). Amongst those who have reported the incident, most told a friend (54%) or family (51%) about being sexually harassed, rather than the police (15%).

The main reason people chose not to report sexual harassment is embarrassment (54%) feeling that no one would do anything about the problem (38%) and fear of repercussion (26%).


The most experienced form of sexual harassment is sexual assault (59%). This is followed by verbal comments of a sexual nature (48%), flashing (29%) and unwanted sexualised photography / videography (20%).

To avoid being sexually harassed, seven in ten (70%) of Malaysian women regularly take precautions, compared to four in ten (30%) men.

The most common ways people take precautions are avoiding certain areas (70%), avoiding / minimising interaction with strangers (62%) and avoiding being alone (60%). Men are more likely to learn self-defence skills than women (39% vs. 31%), and women are more likely to dress a certain way than men (56% vs. 33%) to prevent sexual harassment.

Overall, over a quarter (27%) of Malaysians are aware of the #MeToo movement. Three in five (61%) think the movement makes people more open to talking about sexual harassment. One in ten (10%) think it makes no difference, and one in eight (12%) think it makes people less open. The remaining two in ten (18%) are undecided.

Jake Gammon, Head of Omnibus APAC at YouGov Omnibus commented: “Due to a lack of official statistics surrounding sexual harassment in Malaysia, we wanted to find out how prevalent the issue was. What is surprising is the number of sexual harassment cases that go unreported, and the reasons behind it. It’ll be interesting to see if these figures change in an age of #MeToo.”

***Results based on 1,002 Malaysians surveyed on YouGov Omnibus