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Women Harassment in Public Transport

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By Sadia Ashfaq

Incidences of harassment in public transport are increasing gradually. Public transport is consistently identified as one of the worst spaces for public harassment. Most of the women commuters attempt to downplay such incidents and do not report them due to socio-cultural patterns that complaints will not be acted on and it’s really shameful for one’s society.

“The most common types of sexual harassment at bus stops include staring, stalking obscene gestures, whistling, catcalling, and touching.”

Travelling for women by means of public transportation all over the country is nothing short of an ordeal and for the working women and female school or college students it is a daily ordeal. They have to face vulgar remarks and disgusting stares that make travelling for women a troublesome experience. Women feel insecure until she reaches her destination.

If a bus or train is crowded or if a woman is sitting by the window and the man harassing or assaulting her is sitting beside her, she cannot scream or raise her voice since most of the women do not want to get people’s attention in cases like these.

While asking a girl: She has to travel daily using public transport to reach her destination. She said most of the drivers are the culprits that harass female passengers, sometimes they even touch the female passenger sitting next to them on the front seats while pretending as if they were merely shifting the gear. Women have no other option since they have to sit on the front seats, next to the driver, because they are the only seats available for them”.
It has been studied that drivers take advantage of the situation; sometimes by touching, staring or playing loud vulgar songs but the women commuters usually avoid complaining to anyone because they feel embarrassment in doing so. Women mostly avoid complaining if they are harassed.

Faiza Younas, another commuter complained that some drivers would put a curtain behind the front seats so that the passengers sitting in the back could not witness driver’s shameless acts. She said that it was shocking for her when she complained about it to the traffic policeman and he told her that he was there to monitor the traffic and that she should report that particular matter to a women’s police station.

According to a survey conducted by the Social Research and Development Organization (SRDO), 92 percent women prefer to travel in the women-only buses or vans, which is non-existent.

There is a strong need to look into the problem in order to stop harassment on public transport and make the traveling comfortable for women.

She is the student of the media studies in Punjab University. One can reach her at:
([email protected])

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