As of last month, all bus stops in Central Jakarta, India have sex segregated lines to curb sexual harassment and other crimes. To further curb and address the widespread problem of the sexual harassment of women waiting in line, the Transjakarta public service agency has installed closed-circuit tv’s at all bus stops. The agency is encouraging passengers to report any crime and the cameras can be monitored via the agency’s website. They’ve also started posting female officers at every bus stop. Soon there will be 54 officers at 27 stops. It’s to see the the issue of harassment taken seriously and I hope these new measures will deter harassers.
In other news for that region of the world, AFP reports about eve teasing in Bangladesh, the spike in suicides among girls who’ve been eve teased by boys and men, why there are so many reports about eve teasing, and what needs to happen for it to end. Here’s an excerpt:
“Some girls even chose suicide as they feel so unsafe. The parents don’t listen to their daughters. Instead they accuse her of being responsible for the harassment,” she told AFP.
Even if parents do listen, they may not be able to help, with ASK evidence pointing to men who try to intervene and prevent bullying often being attacked themselves.
The father of one bullying victim committed suicide and another recently had a stroke — allegedly because he was terrified his daughter’s suicide would be reported in newspapers, ASK said.
Bangladesh, a Muslim-majority nation of 146 million, remains a deeply patriarchal society, and Women’s Minister Chaudhury said the balance of responsibility between the genders had to change.
“I think there is a gradual change in this, and girls are now coming out — they’re raising their voices against it and this is a good thing,” she said.
For Chaudhury, this year’s spike in reported instances of female sexual harassment or bullying is, to some extent, a sign of how successful Bangladesh has been at getting girls into schools and women into the workforce.
“Our females are in school and they are employed, so when they are facing this problem they are coming out with it. Eve-teasing has always happened, but it was not reported as much before,” she said.
But a fundamental transformation in how men treat women looks a distant dream.
At the moment, “perpetrators are being released too easily. If a perpetrator is arrested and the next day he gets bail, the girl is again unsafe and the family is also in danger,” said ASK’s Goswami….
“Bangladeshi girls get little respect in many families, and often boys grow up believing girls are not human beings but sexual objects,” said Dhaka-based psychology professor Mehtab Khanom.
“Traditional attitudes and new technology like mobile phones have combined to change how young people interact and leaving victims, parents and the authorities struggling to respond,” she said.
I hope the government, educators, policy makers, and regular people can work together to overcome this problem. Already the Bangladeshi government has taken action like prosecuting harassers and declaring an Eve Teasing Protection Day.
The US and other countries can learn from these tactics, by first of all acknowledging public harassment to be a problem. Let’s hope it doesn’t take suicides, as it did in Bangladesh, before more people pay attention to the damage street harassment causes.