To address the widespread problem of sexual harassment on public transportation in Sri Lanka, Sri Lanka Unites in Colombo is undertaking a unique project this week called S.H.O.W You Care (S.H.O.W. = Stop Harassment of Women).
“From June 25th to 30th in all bus routes in Colombo, students (from mostly boys schools) will board the buses according to a formulated plan and address the passengers in all three languages (Tamil, Sinhala, English):
1) apologizing to all women for any incidents of harassment they may have encountered in the past,
2) handing out leaflets highlighting the legal recourse available to women if they experience such treatment,
3) making a general statement of the right of women to be treated respectfully and the men taking the responsibility to safeguard this right and the negative reflection on them, if they fail.
These leaflets will also contain information regarding basic women’s rights and the actions that could be taken if one’s found violating them.”
It’s great that so many young men plan to participate…we must have boys/men involved in these efforts in order to make them truly successful.
Their decision to target bus riders is very smart. More than 70 percent of women aged 15 to 45 surveyed in Sri Lanka last year said they’d experienced sexual harassment on public transportation. The survey was conducted by the Legal Aid Commission. In other studies, it was revealed that more than 95 percent of women feel it’s unsafe to travel alone in public spaces in Colombo, and one in four women report sexual harassment on public transportation in the country, according to a report by the Transport Ministry.
Sri Lanka Unites is a grassroots youth movement that empowers youth to be the driving force of social change in the country. Already their initiative has received nice media attention. Look for another blog post later this week to recap how their efforts went.Share on Facebook