One In Three Young Aussie Women Don't Feel Safe Walking Alone At Night

And some think they're outfit choice influences the chance of assault.

12/05/2016 7:40 PM AEST | Updated 15/07/2016 12:52 PM AEST
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One in three young Aussie women avoid public places when night falls.

Grady-Mae Dixon's world has become much bigger lately. It now includes the big smoke.

And with smoke comes not only mirrors, but also looking over her shoulder a little more. The 18-year-old now travels into the city from her small home town on the outskirts of Melbourne to attend university classes.

Dixon considered deferring a subject so she didn't have to attend night classes. She worries about being on public transport alone at night. Now she walks from the train station to her car with her keys between her fingers, just in case.

And one in three teenage girls feel exactly the same way, according to a new report.

On Thursday, a new report commissioned by Our Watch and Plan International revealed 30 percent of young Aussie women aged between 15 and 19 avoid public places when night falls.

It also found that 23 percent feel unsafe travelling alone on public transport (particularly at night).

The figures -- drawn from a survey of more than 600 teenage girls nationwide -- stand despite past research revealing more assaults against women are carried out by a person known to them.

Seventeen percent of teenagers surveyed also believed what they wore influenced their likelihood of being harassed or assaulted.

Our Watch CEO Mary Barry said women and girls should not have to modify their behaviour to avoid being targeted.

"It's not okay to ask 'why was she out after dark?' or 'what was she wearing?' as this lays blame on the victim and removes accountability from the perpetrators of harassment or violence," Barry told The Huffington Post Australia.

"Perpetrators must learn that aggressive and disrespectful behaviour and harassment against women is unacceptable."

While Grady-Mae Dixon calls the link between clothing choice and assault risk "preposterous", she is not surprised many Aussie girls believe there is one.

"I remember growing up and my dad would go, 'Maybe you should wear pants, wearing a skirt might not be a good idea if you're going out late,'" Dixon said.

With so many young women worried and parents also concerned, what is the answer?

While Barry believes it lies in promoting respectful relationships and addressing "the drivers of gender-based violence", Dixon said more extensive security near public transport will help more women feel safe in the meantime.

"Considering we're a first world country and we're so advanced if it hasn't gotten to that point already then we need to be doing something more proactive to help.

"But I think growing up with our parents, our generation has been given more opportunities and we're more educated than any woman before us, so there's a lot of hope for the future."

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