Sexual harassment on public transport unabated

Kathmandu, January 30

A few days ago, a video showing a man masturbating inside a public vehicle went viral on social media. A woman standing beside the man seemed to have become aware of his act, but she didn’t muster up the courage to alert other passengers and just turned away.

Many women and teenagers using public transport often face different forms of sexual harassment, but most cases go unreported. Public vehicles in the valley are usually overcrowded, providing the molesters with ample opportunities to sexually harass women.

A flash survey conducted by THT showed that 13 girls and women out of total 15 above 16 years of age had suffered some form of sexual harassment on public transport. Six of these women said they had suffered more severe forms of harassment such as men making sexual advances and groping them.

Sharita Khadka, 20, a bachelor’’s level student at Adharsha Secondary School, Sanothimi, said sexual harassment was common on public transport.

“However, most of the offenders behave as if they’d touched body parts of female passengers by accident.” None of the victims surveyed, however, complained about the incident to police.

Police had launched ‘Safety Pin’ campaign on August 2, 2017 in a bid to discourage sexual harassment on public transport. Police claimed that they had so far arrested 421 people for sexually harassing women on public transport since the campaign began. Cases have been filed against 21 such offenders under the Public Offence Act in the first six months of the current fiscal.

SSP Puja Singh at Metropolitan Police Office, Ranipokhari, said, “With incidents of sexual harassment growing on public transport, more girls and women are coming forward to report such incidents to police.”