Last year, there were 156 cases of molestation on public transport in Singapore. The number is a rise from 154 in 2012, and 114 in 2011.
In the first 3 months of this year, 42 such cases of molest in trains and buses have been reported. This almost double the 29 reported in the same period last year, according to police statistics.
Overall, there were 1,414 cases of outrage of modesty last year, compared to 1,396 the year before.
And according to a TODAY report, “cases of molestation on public transport comprise an increasing ratio of all outrage of modesty cases — growing at an average of 1 percentage point every year since 2011. That year, it made up 0.8 per cent of all molestation cases. This figure rose to 10.8 per cent in 2012 and 11.8 per cent last year.”
In a My Paper report last year, Women’s-rights group Aware said it was “very concerned” by the “big jump” in molestation cases on board buses and trains.
Aware’s executive director, Ms Corinna Lim, said: “In cases that Aware has seen…cases of sexual violence such as sexual assault, rape and molestation have risen across the board.”
She added: “The burden falls on all of us to become a more civilised society so that cases of sexual harassment will be reduced.”
However, former Public Transport Council president Gerard Ee said then that the rise in such cases “is likely due to the public-transport system being more crowded.”
He told My Paper: “If there are more people in trains and buses, there might be occasions when people brush against each other. People may get irritated and decide to report it to the police, especially if the (accused) did not apologise.”
Ridership on public transport has risen by 3.4 per cent for buses, and 3.9 per cent for trains.
The police says victims of molestation should not remain silent and to expose the culprits at the earliest opportunity, to ensure that the culprit is caught and to save others from being victimised as well.
The police also said that the Public Transport Security Command conducts regular patrols at the train networks and bus interchanges.
One of the public transport operators, SMRT, said passengers should alert its staff immediately if they are victims of such incidents or witnesses such incidents.
They can also activate the emergency communication button within the train cabins and staff at the next station will be notified and will assist the victims.