Sexual abuse in public transport: Victims recount the horror’s

The picture is only for representational purposes

Most working women choose to opt for public transportation in our union territory.
Regrettably, during the course of their travel, they are vulnerable to verbal and physical harrasment at the hands of their fellow male passengers.

Such incidents are rampant in Kashmir but the only issue with such incidents is that they are not reported properly.

Underreporting ensures that cases of this kind do not surface in media. “The Kashmir Radar” fact finding team, conducted a few studies and managed to contact those women who regularly commute within the Srinagar city, and other prominent towns of Kashmir valley.

In this connection, an attempt was made to measure the prevalence and nature of harassment suffered by women using public transportation.

Here are the details of the magnitude of harrasment women faced while commuting in public transport in our valley.

“I am a working lady and I am supposed to travel 4.5 kilometers everyday, barring Sundays. That dirty gaze, coming too closer, inappropriate touching, is something I don’t want to face. You can’t even resist for the fear of male domination in the bus, Said Dilnasheen (Name changed.)”

“I am a student, and fear even at the sense of being next to a man in the bus, not all men are same, some are angels, once a gentleman sensed that I was being inappropriately touched by a guy in the bus, he immediately went up and slapped that guy, he then let me sit in the seat he was sitting on. It is a norm, but it needs to be checked.” Said Nawareen (Name changed)

Another girl, Suneebar (Name changed), narrated a very bizzare incident about one of his friend who once told her that he would purposely board an overloaded minibus from route A to route B just to be closer to girls. “I was shell shocked, I was actually on a social experiment when I asked my friend about the authenticity of “sexual harrasment in public transport.” Said Suneebar.

“This is an evil, this needs to be eradicated or I must say uprooted, a proper mechanism needs to be put in place to check this menace. Yes, I have myself observed it and experienced it too. I Cant say all men are doing it, but a specific section among men who have lost their Morales, who are blind to relations. Back in 2015 I was 36 years old then, I turned back, I held the collor of a young boy in his early 20’s, I slapped him then I requested the driver to stop and got down.” Said Sheebak (Name changed), another victim. She also added that no one in the bus had the courage to speak in my favour, that is what I felt more disgusting at that time.

“No one says, every man you sit next to in the public transport vehicle will harass you, some men don’t want to sit next to a woman, but a section of people who sometimes without any assignment would board an overloaded vehicle to create mess.” Said, Munazir (Name changed).

“It truly happens, but I think you need to speak about it, you need to name them and shame them, exposing them in the vehicle itself is such a better idea, I am a student and I am very confident of myself as no one dares to even think of this stupidity when I board the vehicle particularly of my regular route, most of the commuters on that very route have watched me punching a few guys of this kind. I train my friends as to how you can counter such people in vehicle, you need to be clever, very clever in such matters.” Said Showkeena (Name changed).

This needs to be stopped. Let’s put an end to it. Let’s be responsible citizens and let’s respect women.

Umran Hussain works for “The Kashmir Radar” as an online editor, he can be reached at umranhussainkr@gmail.com

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