From Public Opinion
The number of cases of molest in our public transport system has seen a consistent increase in the last three years.
“Overall, molestation cases increased from 1,325 to 1,367 in the same period, according to the police's annual crime statistics released yesterday,” The Straits Times reported in January this year.
In 2014, the TODAY newspaper had a more sobering observation.
“Proportion of such incidents in all outrage of modesty cases [has gone] up by 1 percentage point every year since 2011,” it said in a report in April that year.
And in 2013, The New Paper had this to say about the situation:
“The number of suspects arrested for outraging the modesty of women in Singapore has risen sharply this year, with many cases happening on public transport.”
These statistics prompted the MP, Gan Thiam Poh (Pasir Ris-Punngol GRC), who is on the Government Parliamentary Committee for Transport, to advise:
"Commuters shouldn't let their guard down and must also help each other. If you see someone taking a nap next to you, you can help to look out for them."
But with a transport system that is straining to keep up with the increase in population, will this be enough?
While enforcement to deter such behaviour by would-be molesters should be done, what else can women, in particular, do?
In India, for example, a woman related how she was molested while she was street-shopping with her friends at a crowded marketplace.
“I usually don’t talk like this,” the woman, played by an actress in a video, said. “It’s because my tooth is broken.”
She then related how she ended up with the fracture.
“We were checking out some dresses in a shop,” she said in a video. “Suddenly, somebody touched me from behind. It was very uncomfortable. I screamed out of fear and everybody around got to know what just happened. It was very embarrassing.”
The man who molested her, however, carried on walking with his friends, and laughed at her.
She had thought that someone would step in and help her – but no one did.
“Everyone was staring at me only,” she said, “as if I have done something wrong.”
But later “an uncle” did step forward.
He said to her, “Dear, they are mannerless people. Nobody can do anything about it. They are incorrigible. You better take care of yourself, and try wearing decent clothes.”
This shocked her.
“I didn’t wear a bikini to shopping,” she said. “I was just wearing jeans and a sleeveless shirt.”
She decided she had has enough of the judgmental attitudes of some towards women and how they dressed.
So, she told the uncle that she would handle the situation.
“I grabbed him by his collar and slapped him hard,” she related.
“They hit me back.”
This was, presumably, when her tooth was broken.
“But then people came around to help me and beat them up badly.”
“They are all behind bars now, charged for harassment.”
“If we don’t empower ourselves, nobody will,” she said.
How far will you go to protect yourself in such a situation? And do you think enough is being done to deter such molesters?
Watch the video here: