Fri, Mar 13, 2009
my paper
Sexually harassed but most did nothing

By Chen Jingting

TWO in five young women here had been sexually harassed on public transport like buses and trains.

To make matters worse, more than 95 per cent of them kept mum and did nothing about it.

Some perpetrators would stare at the women's chests or legs throughout the entire journey, or make lewd and suggestive remarks.

Others press themselves against the women during peak hours. But the victims did nothing because they did not wish to overreact or appear to be over-sensitive.

These were the results of a poll conducted on 150 female students at the Singapore Management University (SMU) in January.

The survey was carried out by six SMU students for Empower!, a campaign against sexual harassment on public transport done in collaboration with the Association of Women for Action & Research.

Organiser Nicole Oh, 20, told my paper: 'Sexual harassment refers to acts that lower the dignity of women.'

Perpetrators are likely to strike when the bus or train is packed, and students are often the victims because they tend to keep quiet, she said.

When she was 14, a man repeatedly rubbed his leg against hers on a crowded bus.

'I kept quiet because I did not know if he was doing it on purpose,' she said.

Fellow SMU student Liane Tan, 20, recalled a time when a man pressed himself against her back while they were on board a crowded train. She was a secondary- school student at the time.

'I tried to dismiss it as an accident,' she said.

A forum on this issue will be held at SMU next Wednesday at 7.30pm.

IF YOU are sexually harassed on a public bus or train, do not just keep quiet, urged Singapore Management University (SMU) undergraduate Nicole Oh.

The National Crime Prevention Council has these tips:

Be alert. Do not nap on the bus or train.

Alert others and the driver if someone is making you feel uncomfortable or touching you inappropriately.

Avideo on dealing with sexual harassment will be launched during a public forum and later uploaded to YouTube and Facebook.

The forum will be held at Singapore Management University next Wednesday at 7.30pm.

For more my paper stories click here.


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