Before taking a ride on public transportation, there are some important safety concerns to keep in mind. While it may be possible to overcome some of these concerns, others could be difficult to avoid or require applying your preventive measures.
These concerns are increasingly serious for women, as they are more susceptible to attacks by strangers, and they are sometimes forced to live with the consequences. In comparison to their male counterparts, women on public transportation are more likely to be harassed, less likely to feel safe, and less likely to report incidents of harassment.
Women in particular face a difficult situation on public transportation, as they are sometimes forced to live with the consequences of an attack by a stranger when they do not feel safe enough to leave. Here are some safety concerns for women who take public transportation detailing what they need to be aware of and how a woman can protect herself while taking public transportation.
Sexual Harassment and Sexual Assault
According to law enforcement authorities and non-profit organizations, sexual harassment is a form of illegal discrimination that occurs in the workplace. It is discrimination based not only on sex but also on other prohibited factors such as race, religion, national origin, and age. Sexual harassment can include verbal harassment, physical contact, or even online communication. For example, if a woman in a public vehicle is being harassed with remarks about her figure or looks, it is sexual harassment and should be reported to the authorities. If a stranger is physically assaulting a woman on public transportation, she needs to contact law enforcement. There have been cases of sexual assault on trains where victims have been unable to report the crime because they were threatened by their assailant or feared retaliation or humiliation. These attacks should not be taken lightly as they are often violent and can result in serious physical injuries. In such incidences, women should report the incident to local law enforcement and seek medical attention.
Unsafe public transport cases involving gender-based violence include harassment of women and girls, including unwanted sexual comments, touching, and lewd comments. This type of violence ranges from verbal harassment to physical assault. A woman on public transportation is more likely to be harassed if she is a victim of domestic violence. She may not be able to report the incident because she fears retaliation or being shamed by society. This type of violence is more commonly committed by a family member, an acquaintance, or a stranger. It also includes being forced to ride with the assailant by pretending to be the victim’s friend. A woman’s safety is at risk when forced to live with ongoing sexual abuse.
Via public transportation, women are at risk of being harassed and assaulted by strangers. Bus drivers are often considered responsible for respecting women and ensuring their safety. In some cases, women are more likely to encounter violence on public transportation than men. Women who live in areas known for having a high rate of violence are especially at risk for sexual harassment, physical assault, and gender-based violence.
Women who live in areas known for having high crime rates are at a greater risk of being sexually assaulted on public transportation. Strangers could attack these women, or they may live in neighborhoods where drug traffickers, gangs, or domestic violence incidents occur. Research has shown that victims of crime are more likely to go back to their abuser and not report their assault as they fear retaliation or humiliation. Women who decide to try to report the crime but fear retaliation should always contact local law enforcement first and seek medical attention. Even if the assailant does not physically retaliate, women live with the threat that their attacker may retaliate in other ways, such as inflicting additional assault and harassment. In addition to reporting a crime to the police, victims of crime should also report public transportation harassment to public transit authorities and seek medical attention.
Safety Tips for Women
There are some precautions that women need to take when riding public transportation. Here are some of them:
1. Avoid a Quiet Place
When moving around on public transportation, women should avoid it to limit the possibility of being harassed. This includes avoiding bus or train stations and areas where there are many people. These places have relatively high concentrations of people, and many strangers may be present. If women must travel to these areas, they should try to make sure that they travel in a very crowded vehicle. Other areas with high concentrations of people include parking lots, crowded tourist locations, shopping malls, and other busy places.
2. Avoid Alone
Women should consider not traveling by themselves when using public transportation. According to research, women are more likely to be harassed if traveling alone, with men, and on the weekend. This is because women who travel in these situations may be promiscuous and sexually available to strangers. It is also easier for a stranger riding a vehicle alone to harass a woman than if there are other passengers present who can help her deal with the situation.
3. Avoid Assailants
Women should avoid riding public transportation with known assailants. For example, bus drivers are responsible for ensuring that all passengers have a safe ride on public transportation. They are often considered responsible for the safety of passengers during incidents of crime, especially sexual harassment and assault. Therefore, women should avoid riding with individuals who have been convicted or are accused of committing sexual crimes against women and girls to reduce their risk of being harassed or assaulted. Women should also avoid public vehicles that they know to have a high crime rate.
4. Be Aware
Women need to be aware of their surroundings, especially when on public transportation. If they see someone staring, they need to move to a different place as soon as possible. Women should also avoid being alone on transit systems or in isolated areas such as parking lots with strangers, especially if the vehicle is empty.
5. Be Prepared
Women need to be aware of their surroundings when using public transportation. They should keep quiet and avoid talking to strangers, especially in a busy vehicle. If women are afraid that they may be sexually assaulted, they should try to find another form of transportation. In some cases, women’s safety depends on their ability to leave a bus or train quickly in case of an incident.
Women on public transportation are at risk of being assaulted or harassed by a stranger. Even though they are exposed to this kind of violence while in the vehicle, they also need to be cautious before, during, and after the incident; women should always use the most available form of transportation to prevent being harassed in public transportation. Women should also be aware of their surroundings, especially in an isolated or crowded area. Women must always look out for themselves and try to change locations immediately if a stranger is harassing them.