Public transit is a women's issue

Drimonis, Toula

Publisher:  Richochet
Date Written:  15/02/2016
Year Published:  2016  
Resource Type:  Article
Cx Number:  CX20492

Drimonis highlights the problem of sexual harrassment of female passengers and the failure of transit officials to address this problem.



Widespread sexual harassment has led transit agencies in many places around the world to implement sex-segregated buses and trains. Countries with women-only bus services include Bangladesh, Guatemala, India, Indonesia, Mexico, Pakistan, Thailand, and the United Arab Emirates. Women-only subway cars or train sections are found in Brazil, Egypt, Iran, Japan, Malaysia, Mexico, Nepal, and Russia, according to author and Stop Street Harassment founder Holly Kearl.

While sex-segregated public transit hasn't been implemented in the Western world, that doesn't mean harassment isn't a concern there.

A recent investigative report by Quebec’s French-language daily newspaper Journal de Montréal revealed that in 2015 police received a considerable number of reports of sexual assault on the metro, making it the worst such year since 2008, whereas overall crime in the city’s metros has decreased by 42 per cent since then.

In Greater Vancouver, gender-based harassment has become such a problem for many Translink customers that it actually inspired a website where passengers can report their stories.

"Our hope is to compile stories of these experiences to demonstrate the reality and severity of this particular issue to Translink and the City of Vancouver," the site's administrators explain on the website. "Once this has been accomplished, we hope to have their support in forming a response strategy to make transit usage safer and more inclusive for all riders."

Sexual aggression is neither rare nor localized, yet transit authorities and law enforcement tend to treat it as more of a nuisance than a crime.

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