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Mar 14, 2013
…..Uff!! The bus is so crowd…….
……..Please move inside don’t stand near door… move inside……..
……..Where to move there is no place at all…..
We are familiar with this tone and everyone has gone through this situation every other day. Yes, you are right I am talking about our public transportation!!! In this utterly paced world, everyone has a rush to meet the destination. We become the part of the very crowd which we often disgusts. But it is not the crowd I am talking about I want to share the news which is talk of the town these days i.e. the Metropolitan Traffic Police Division (MTPD) has revived its plan to ensure reserved seats for women, the disabled and elderly people in public transport vehicles. MTPD had forced more than 3,000 public transporters to mark out reserved seats in their vehicles and non-complying vehicles will now be fined Rs 200 to Rs 1,000 from next week.
You may say that women are also equally able to tolerate the crowd and move along the public transport system we currently have in Nepal. I am not here questioning the physical stamina of women. This issue is much serious then it looks as because they are also the most common places for girls and women to suffer sexual harassment. Sexual abuse is not limited to sexual intercourse; touching the body parts, staring and even using obscene language is sexual abuse. The crowd inside the public buses provides favorable environment for these rampant activities.
“Women and Cities : Examining the gender impact of violence and urbanization” a research conducted in 2011 in five countries – Nepal, Ethopia, Cambodia, Liberia and Uganda jointly conducted by Action Aid Nepal, Home Net and Mahila Adhikar Manch showed that sexual harassment in public transport is getting an ugly turn. The research urges a system for controlling such violence. Besides, it calls for better transport facilities that could make traveling easier for women.
Women and girls are sexually harassed by fellow passengers or even the bus staffs. These harassments destruct self esteem and confidence of women and girl. They often face double victimization first being sexually harassed and next not being able to speak out. Society blames the victim in cases of sexual abuse, so women fear stigma. Instead of speaking out, they keep quiet and endure the violence. Another major problem is women are simply unaware where to report the case. The environment is not victim friendly and it is very difficult to produce tangible evidence to prove the point.
The recent event of Delhi Gang rape and similar cases in Nepal shows how public transport is linked with serious issues of sexual violence. However the attitude is what matters the most. Public transport should be easily accessible and safe for all but not a public place to satisfy all those dirty sexual urges.
Often seen yet neglected stories of those pregnant women, mothers with small children and school going girls and their journey in public transport creates moral and ethical pressure to once again wake up and see the issues differently. It is not only about providing seats for women in buses its about respecting her difficulties, hindrances thus respecting women, respecting humanity.
In such a state, provision of ensuring seats for women and girls in public transport is small yet a responsible step taken to address the problem. Let us hope this provision is not only limited only to papers, let the action begin. Lets get the momentum.