Rush hour 'brings out male sex pests'

Rush hour 'brings out male sex pests'

A female commuter shows her feelings about her situation with a male passenger during a short street-theatre performance staged at the launch of a campaign, 'Safe Cities for Women'. The campaign aims to prevent the harassment of women on public transport in Bangkok. (Photo by Tawatchai Kemgumnerd)
A female commuter shows her feelings about her situation with a male passenger during a short street-theatre performance staged at the launch of a campaign, 'Safe Cities for Women'. The campaign aims to prevent the harassment of women on public transport in Bangkok. (Photo by Tawatchai Kemgumnerd)

Nearly half of all female passengers say they have been sexually harassed on public transportation, mostly on buses, according to a survey conducted by the Faculty of Public Health, Thammasat University.

The survey canvassed 1,654 male and female passengers who regularly used public transport in Bangkok.

The figures indicated that 45% of females reported they had been sexually harassed on public transport.

A 32-year-old female passenger, named only Krathae, said her skirt was once slit open by an abuser while she was on the BTS skytrain.

"It was very embarrassing because the cut was long and wide and other passengers could see my underwear. I had to use 30 pins to repair my skirt," she said.

In terms of transport type, 50% of those who were sexually harassed said it happened on buses, 11.4% on motorcycle taxis, 10.9% in regular taxis, 9.8% in public vans and the rest on the skytrain or on the subway.

The patterns of sexual assault which emerge most often are visual, physical and verbal, respectively. Women also said reported they had been subject to individuals looking at pornographic images and films.

Some 25% of the female victims chose to remain silent or walk away while 28% informed bus conductors of the lewd acts they had experienced.

Respondents said offenders took advantage of congestion during rush hour to commit acts of sexual harassment on public transport.

The results of the survey were revealed at an event on Tuesday to launch the "Safe Cities for Women" campaign which is being held to coincide with the International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women this coming Saturday.

Speaking about the campaign, Maneesh Pradnah, director of ActionAid Thailand, said Safe Cities for Women is intended both raise awareness of the problem and come up with solutions to sexual abuse against female passengers on public transport.

Waraporn Chamsanit, manager of the Women's Wellbeing and Gender Justice Program funded by the Thai Health Promotion Foundation, said the survey also pointed out that 35% of respondents had witnessed other passengers suffering sexual harassment.


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