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Cat Calls & Sexual Harassment on the Streets of Costa Rica

Costa Rica News – It’s annoying and even offensive that every time a woman leaves the house she has to deal with creepy looks, whispers, “compliments,” and unwanted touching.

Soft edges on this humorous concept

Walking past a man on the street doesn’t mean she wants this kind of attention. Getting on a crowded bus is no excuse for excessive bumping into her.

These types of street sexual harassment generate 7,000 complaints in court each year. The National Institute for Women found that eight in 10 women have heard inappropriate comments about their body or clothing.

Complaints are heard in court based on Article 385 of the Criminal Code. They are handled as misdemeanors. The offenders might face penalties of up to half their daily wage for between five and 30 days.

Many victims are afraid of their attackers or doubtful that the system can help. Police are obligated to get the name of anyone reported for harassment and contact details of the victim to be notified of the trial date.

The process is short and has flexible hours, which should encourage more victims to speak out.

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