Keep girls and women safe on trains - create a female-only carriage
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Women and girls, both young and old, should not have to feel uncomfortable and unsafe on trains.
On Monday evening July 31st, 2017, I boarded a metro train after work. I noticed the man directly opposite me deliberately staring at me the entire journey. He even extended his leg as though to keep me there, and began fidgeting with something in his hand. I considered changing carriages, but it was peak hour and besides, I was afraid he would follow me anyway.
I felt intimidated and and wondered if I was just imagining things, but I was not. I felt afraid and vulnerable - powerless to escape his eyes and thoughts. Worried he would follow me, I phoned my father to meet me at the station platform despite not needing a lift (as I had a car parked at the station). But I felt I needed my father there to keep me safe.
Things like this or worse happens all too often on trains. Many women face this issue - teenage girls face this issues.
True, not all men are like this, not even most men. But those few men who are make many women fearful, cautious, concerned and intimidated. Having extra police on call, or security at train stations isn't going to stop this from happening, but a female-only carriage could prevent it from happening on trains.
For any men, I know that most of you are decent respectable men and would never act this way, but imagine if it were your daughter, your sister, your wife, or your mother. How would you feel if even one man stared at them, rubbed against them or groped them on trains? These things happen, and most girls and women feel or are told it's 'just a thing females have to live with'.
Why? Because as much as people are abhorred by these men's acts, no action takes place. There is an action that is simple, and attainable that can take place. I want to raise this petition; to create a female-only carriage on all trains. To give girls and women the freedom to choose to feel safe. A safe haven they can go to if they feel concerned.
It won't affect how much space trains can allow for men and women to travel, it just means that it will be arranged differently - in fact, it should create more space in most carriages as some of the women who would ordinarily sit down would prefer to stand if it means they can at least be in a safer environment. I for one, would surely do just that.
I hate feeling like I can't do anything about our circumstances, but this petition gives all us women the chance to feel safer on trains. This attainable change would have a huge impact on the way we - your daughters, mothers, wives and sisters - would feel about using trains to get to work, school or home.
HOW MANY MORE?
How many more teenaged girls and adult women have to come home and cower and cry after sexual harassment on public transport?
How many more have to have showers and wrap themselves in blankets at home trying to forget the thoughts and touch from the man who sexually harassed or assaulted them?
How many more have to consider ending their own lives (and many do consider it) because the feeling they experienced won't go away?
How many more have to fear public transport?
How many more have to feel vulnerable?
How many more have to feel paranoid about a guy sitting next to the because they don't know if they are good or not?
How many more?
When will it end?
QUESTIONS AND ANSWERS
What message does this send to them? Shouldn't we just deal with the perpetrators?
Answer : It actually says women don't feel safe. It doesn't mean they can act terribly on other carriages. If they think that, they are going to act this way regardless.
You can't deal with 'perpetrators' because there is never enough 'evidence'. If some weird guy stares at woman or imagines himself with her in a sexual way, or groans weirdly, if a girl calls security or police and tells them she just could 'tell' what he was thinking and doing, what do you think will happen? Nothing.
Why not leave things as they are? Aren't these just rare anomalies?
Answer: No, they are not rare. Believe it or not, this happens to the majority of women who use public transport, not necessarily rape (that is rare) but man glaring at women, inappropriate staring, groaning, imagining sex with the female, groping them, pinching their butt, rubbing against them, hovering over them, stalking, muttering under breath, wolf whistling. You go into a group of fifty men at various ages, if you asked, how many will say they have been sexually harassed or were worried that it could happen to them on public transport in any of these ways. Probably none, although exceptions may have one or two. You go into into a group of fifty women and ask them the same thing, how many will say they have had these things happen or worried it could happen? 3-4 might say it openly, and then later in private discussions you find out from them that 30 of the women had felt these experiences. Nothing can be done unless they were practically raped. Should this be left like this? What is really the priority? That men should be allowed on any carriage they choose, or that women feel safer using public transport? The feelings caused by these experiences often don't leave for days or weeks. Why do we have to suffer because men are worried one small right is taken away from them. It's not like it decreases the space in carriages in fact it will increase them. This issue can't be left alone. Just because women shouldn't have to feel like they have to be careful on trains doesn't make it reality. Reality is there are enough guys who are sick-minded and not enough good guys who see this and respond and protect the girl, that sexual harassment is a part of public transport for women, unless something is done about, and the only thing that can really be done (unless you want to jail anyone who even looks at a girl weirdly) is to make a female-only train carriage. Deal with the bigger problem, and then try and deal with the smaller ones afterwards.
Won't CCTV footage help catch perpetrators?
Answer: CCTV footage won't deter men from rubbing against women in a packed train, and it won't condemn them either as in a packed train the cameras can't see the exact incident with such close proximity between the people on the train. It won't stop them staring indecently, worst punishment you may be able to give is maybe a fine, but that probably won't be justified anyway - not strong enough evidence of his motives. Females often feel so put-out by their experience they often don't have the courage to lay charges or ask someone to review the footage.
Will this only help women and bring down men?
Answer: Almost every man has either a daughter, sister, wife or mother. Surely they would feel sick just thinking that someone would sexually harass one of them, because they care about them. So it helps men too, to feel better about the females they care about. It also creates more seats for men to sit in carriages, as many women who would ordinarily sit down, would prefer to stand in the women only carriage than to sit in one that isn't.
Isn't this just gender segregation, like colour segregation?
Colour segregation was in truth nothing to do with reality, but rather myth, due to their lack of human reasoning for mere reason of feeling like they were somehow above someone else, worthy of a seat. They were feared because they were different.
Here, only a few men are feared, but there are enough of them to affect the majority of women. Women are literally built defenceless, they are vulnerable (despite what some might otherwise claim) and they are seen as objects to some men. This is women only carriage idea is in the interest of keeping women safe (unlike colour segregation - where is was about maintaining power and control over another race).
Think of it like restrooms. Do we say "oh is it gender-segregation that we have ladies and men separate?" Why don't we? Because some men might abuse the restrooms to take advantage of the women, or take footage of them, or so on. Because it's a private task?
Perhaps to some degree, taking transport should be considered a private task. A woman is on their own, doing something necessary, minding their own business, and one man decides he can take advantage of her. It's wrong on so many levels, and a ladies carriage could fix that.
If situations were reversed, and it were the men in majority who were being sexually harassed, I'm sure there would have been a men's only carriage adapted.
The problem is men think, I'm a decent guy, I don't act like this, my friends don't act like this, women are just other people like us blokes. Sure, they're weaker, but this whole just isn't really a problem, not that bigger problem anyway. Men are pretty good, these women are trying to make us look bad, they're blaming us.
But they don't see the big picture. We know there are plenty of 'decent blokes' but we can't deny the facts that there are more cases of women being sexually harassed by men than the reverse. The fact is, if there is going to be sexual harassment on a train, there is a 98% chance it's going to be a guy causing the problem on the girl/woman. These things happen regularly, because it only takes one bad person to cause sexual harassment.
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