Sexual harassment has become a major cause for concern in Bangladesh, with an alarming rise in reports of women and girls being sexually harassed in public places — sometimes in broad daylight. In the first instalment of a four-part series on sexual harassment, the Dhaka Tribune looks into what female commuters put up to when travelling on public buses. Victims of sexual harassment on buses continue to suffer as the painstakingly slow trial process and case backlog at courts delay justice. Few incidents are reported and very few alleged offenders have been detained. Those who have defied the fear of social stigma and hassles and courageously filed cases are losing hope as trial proceedings drag on. But the court could not start the trial proceedings as none of the witnesses came to testify. It had to issue non-bailable warrants against the witnesses and sent them to Darussalam police station.
100 Women: Why I didn't report sexual harassment on the bus
For working women and students, commuting by public transport brings them against harassment in various degrees everyday. Photo: R. Though crimes against women account for 95 of crimes recorded in the city in , many incidents of harassment such as groping, shadowing, stalking, verbal and physical assault go unreported. Women from various walks of life this Reporter spoke to acknowledged that the city was relatively safer for women when compared to others they have visited.
Nathalie Gordon , who spoke about her experience through a series of tweets, explained that she had been travelling on the bus when a man began to harass her, and the bus driver refused to remove him, telling her: "'You're a pretty girl, what do you expect? She wrote: "I was just on the bus on my way to a meeting. A man taps on my knee. I'm listening to music so take my ear phones out. He asks me where the bus is going.