You’re in a crowded bus, when you feel a hand groping you. You’re angry and frightened at the same time, but you don’t know what to do.
You’re not the only one. Many women have experienced sexual harassment on public transport, and most are not sure what to do in that situation. In fact, Jakarta has the world’s fifth most dangerous public transportation system for females, according to a survey by Thomson Reuters Foundation and market research firm YouGov.
But a newly published and free digital booklet provides some useful guide on how to avoid as well as respond to sexual harassment on public transport. Written by Astrid Malahayati Fathma and R. Rika Rosvianti of @_perEMPUan, the booklet shows you how to avoid being harassed and how to fight back if we witness or experience sexual harassment on public transport.
First, it describes the various methods of sexual harassment that can happen on public transport, whether a bus, commuter train, taxi or motorcycle taxi, so that you can be aware of potential threats. For instance, in a bus or train, the offenders usually fold their arms on their chest and cover them with a jacket.
They move closer to their target and slowly reaching for the target’s breast from the side. They also reach for buttock and thighs. When it’s really crowded inside, these men may rub their genitals against their victims. The victims may get sperm all over their clothes by the time they reach their destination. The message: always be aware your surrounding.
To seek help when you’re in a bus, tell passengers near you about what happen to you, or simply shout so that other passengers can be aware of the offenders’ position. If you’re in a taxi, open the window and shout. Usually people quickly respond to the word “maling” (thief) or “copet” (pickpocket) – and because it’s complicated to actually address sexual aggressors.
When riding microbus (angkot), there are several things you need to do to stay safe:
- Write down or take a picture of the plate number before you get in, then send it to your closest ones
- Choose microbus that doesn’t have dark windows
- Don’t get in the microbus if all the passengers are male
- Sit as close as possible to the exit to make it easier to escape
- Avoid getting into microbus that plays loud music. The loud music can mask the victim’s scream.
- Make sure the driver isn’t drunk
And here are some suggestions on fighting your offender:
- Attack the offender’s eyes. This can be done with your fingers, perfume or ointment oil (minyak angin)
- Attack his genital. This one requires space and more courage. You can kick with your knee or foot. You can also hit his genital with whatever heavy item you have in your hands like books, umbrella or oil ointment spray
- Shout! So that people nearby will help you get away from the offender
- Claw, slap or bite the offender
- Push him away to alert people of what happened
DO NOT wear a headset or spend too much time staring at your phone, when you’re on public transportation because it takes your awareness away from your surroundings, making you more a vulnerable target to be harassed, assaulted or robbed.
When escaping from a public transport, run to the opposite direction of where it’s heading. Run towards the back of the vehicle. You should also consider stopping at a police station rather than your own house because the offenders may recall the location.
Everyday items can be used as weapons, such as umbrellas, perfume, high heel shoes, books, ointment oil spray, brooches, glasses (if you wear one), helmet, lit up cigarette. It is also highly recommended to have a whistle.
For the more detail tips and instructions on how to stay safe in specific type public transportation, click here. Also follow twitter @_perEMPUan_ for the latest updates on the issue.
To continue the conversation and support the campaign against sexual violence, visit campaign.com/mulaibicara.
Read how the Indonesian media has been covering sexual violence cases unethically.