COSTA RICA JOURNAL – Costa Rican women are more likely than men to experience some kind of violence related to sexual harassment in the workplace, as is apparent in an analysis by the Encuesta Nacional de Salud Sexual y Reproductiva de 2010.
“Piropos” is the Spanish word with a double edge, it can be either a compliment or a disparagement. It all depends on what is being said or the gesture made and the person receiving it or giving it.
“Que rica mami” (“rico papi” in the case of a man), a common expression in Costa Rica, can be seen as a compliment or can get you a slap in the face.
[/su_pullquote]Piropos and other expressions directed at women (an men*) in the street are just one part of the gestural and verbal sexual violence lived by women daily in Costa Rica. But ‘piropos’ are not only confined to the streets, it carries into the workplace.
Although women are main victims of such violence, which ranges from feminist jokes to inappropriate sexual comments, suggestive glances, compliments or expression and touching, men are not excluded.
According to the study, 80 out of 100 women, while 72 out of 100 men interviewed report having suffered some form of workplace violence.
The marked difference between the experience of women and men in workplace harassment is in the physical, ie inappropriate touching, like a pat in the butt or a hand placed on a shoulder (in a suggestive way), with 25.6% of women and 11.6% of men reporting physical violence.
According to the data, 26% of women vs. 12% of men are victims of physical violence in the form of aggression that is a means to lead to sex.
Another type of violence indicated by the survey is by submission, which is explained as having no decision in: when to have intercourse, sexual contact or position.
The study also reveals that men are more prone to risky sexual practices and therefore more prone to possible HIV and other STD infections.
It is estimated that 10% of Costa Ricans generally have “unsafe” sex: 14% of men and 7% of women.
The people most at risk from sexual harassment and unsafe sex practices are found in urban areas. The study concluded that people in rural areas ten to have less risky sex practices, where the risk factor is 57%, as compared to 71% in urban areas.
Source: CRHoy,com, Universidad de Costa Rica (UCR), with editing by QCostarica
* Foreigner men visiting or living in Costa Rica are often the subject of leers and even improper touching by women, on the street, a bar, even at the local supermarket. Use the comment section below to tell your story.