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Have You Ever Been Harassed on the Bus?

10:57 AM PDT on April 4, 2013

(Note: When Streetsblog first launched, we were taken to task by the writing team at The Bus Bench for reporting about the dangers of cycling and harassment from drivers, but never the risks taken by transit riders, especially those riding after hours. We've gotten better on this issue, Sahra Sulaiman's piece on THAT GUY and our ongoing coverage of the dangers posed by LASD Sheriffs only touch the issue. In the wake of a story of a group of women being assaulted on a bus in New Delhi, Dana Gabbard wonders how prevalent harassment is on Metro and other transit buses. If you have a story you're willing to share, please do so in the comments section or you can do so privately by emailing me, - DN)

One morning last week while getting ready for work I was especially taken when hearing these comments on National Public Radio'sMorning Edition about the creation of women-only compartments on New Delhi's metro system as a safety measure against inappropriate behavior by male passengers:

Male and female perceptions of the problem can differ widely.

Rajesh Kumar travels in the general compartment with his female colleague Manisha Murli. He says out of 100 men, "perhaps two or three" engage in Eve-teasing or unwanted touching.

But Murli disagrees. "It's not that little," she protests, putting it around 50 or 60 percent of the men.

It reminds me when looking over some online comments on my apartment building I ran across one in which a women resident complained that while working out in our gym that she noticed one of the male residents was looking her over in a way the creeped her out by being obvious objectification.

Also in the past in blog comments women have complained about men deliberately in crowded conditions on buses and trains taking advantage of the situation to rub themselves against woman's body. Also on a near empty bus a man abruotly sitting right next to a woman in a manner that bespeaks of inappropriate attention and forcing the woman to sit close to the bus operator to discourage a repeat of the harassment.

I look forward to the comments hopefully overcoming the perception divide between the genders on whether this is a pervasive problem in Southern California or not.

For context regarding the situation of women in India (including a description of social context summed up as "India can be a cruel place for women") one need look no further than Shoma Chaudhury's heartbreaking piece for Newsweek on the horrific gang rape aboard a bus that sparked an international outcry.

Full disclosure: I am male -- thus I am Dana as in Dana Andrews not Dana as in Dana Delaney.

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