Despite repeated incidents of sexual harassment against women in the city and claims of safety measures adopted by authorities concerned, the city is still unsafe for the fairer sex, proves the recent incident in which a woman was assaulted by an inebriated police official. Sadly, authorities say this is just an isolated incident while most people feel it is sad that even the fellow travellers don’t support the victim.
“The public behaves like nothing has happened. I once reacted when I saw a man misbehaving with a girl in the bus. His reacted by asking me why I cared when the girl herself was enjoying it. Nobody bothered to respond. The man also verbally abused me,” said Sonia, a beautician from Ochira. M M Hashim, a regular bus commuter, says most people, especially women, are scared to react. Recently, I had to react when a man harassed by wife in bus. He attacked me. Sadly, other passengers sat mum,” he adds.
M R Divakaran, a bus conductor, feels the public overlooks such incidents for the fear of getting involved in legal cases.
However, the Kaloor bus stand which was once was a haven of anti-social elements is now a better place, says Naushad, who runs a small shop at the stand.
“There are instances of attack on women. But, there is a slight decrease in such cases. If we come across such events, we deal with it together,” said Prakashan, a head load worker.
Meanwhile, many women feel it is time to respond back. “We were very vulnerable. Parents cannot afford to send their kids out freely as before. They should teach them to act in accordance with the situation. If reaction is demanded, it should be given. Being silent will never help,” said Nirmala Krishnan.
Vyttilla Mobility Hub is one spot that is most unsafe for women. “The police aid post helps but there are many instances of attack against women,” said Sudhakaran Kunnath, a security staff.
But, a police official, who is in charge of the hub, said this is the first reported incident and the hub is far safer for women than any place, even at night. The transport authorities too dismiss that women feel less safe.
“We got to know about what happened yesterday only from the papers. These are just isolated issues and the hub is otherwise very safe,” said an employee of KSRTC.
Deepa Krishna, a lady conductor working in a bus plying in the Piravom- Ernakulam route too feels safe about commuting.