Have you ever travelled in a public transport or in any bus, train, or metro train? Do you think public transports are safe for women? Being a women do you feel safe while travelling in any mode of public transport? Public transport is on essential service that provides individuals with access to work, to an education and to all of life’s opportunities. And yet, the access of many women and girls to safe public transport options is threatend by the potential of being assaulted or victimised. The findings revealed that 59% of women use public transport like buses, trains and on demand taxis as it is affordable but only 9% of women feel public transport is completely safe, while 3% claim it is completely unsafe and rest 47% claiming that they felt somewhat safe using it during the day, but not at night. The fear of molestation, assault, eve-teasing and male-gaze makes women feel unsafe in modes of public transport. Everyday 7 out of 10 women face some kind of bad behaviour, molestation, male-gaze while travelling in a public transport. Travelling late at night alone in train, bus, on demand taxis is a topic of concern for women. As you remember the Nirbhaya case happened in 2012, a 23 year old girl was beaten, gang raped and tortured in a bus in which she was travelling. Lack of road lighting is a key factor behind feeling unsafe, with 40% women stating only major roads were well lit. Sanitisation is also a problem for women in public transport/bus. Train stations and trains are vulnerable spaces for women due to crowded space or, due to isolated areas where there is no one available to intervene and help in case of emergency. Sexual assault, molestation and even rape are reported on trains and have been on the rise. Not reporting sexual harassment is also a common occurence. Only 30% women report the case of molestation as the women fears that reporting the case will degrade her family’s reputation. More than 50% of the cases remain upreported and the culprit live freely in the society.
The cases against women in public transport are on a rise but the following written measures can be taken to stop the increasing and high pace of these evil acts. Improving the lighting on the roads and on railways; bus and metro stations will have a direct influence over the perception of safety. Having more entry and exit prints to ease congestion. Improving infrastructure including toilets; staircase and pedestrain bridges; publicising helpline numbers; having functional and visible helpdesks where women can get immediate assistance; Making reporting incidents simple and easy so that more women do it- this can help show the patterns and trends and lead to pre-emptive solutions.
In conclusion, i would like to say that the world is changing at a rapid pace and we are living in the 21st century in a technological world but still the women in our society doesn’t feel safe while travelling in a public transport. Women fear molestation, rape, assault and male-gaze in public transport. Measures should be taken to safeguard women as women are the important pillar of our society and safeguarding them is the need of the hour. Men and boys should also be taught to respect women instead of disrespecting them and seeing them as a sex object. Both women and men are equal in society and should be treated equally and respected to make the society a better place for living.