Public transport safety survey: 87% of women report being harassed in Bangladesh

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April 9, 2022

Public transport safety survey: 87% of women report being harassed in Bangladesh

An online survey of more than 5,000 women in 24 regions of the country showed that nearly 87 percent of them had faced some form of harassment at least once in their lives.

The survey results also showed that 36% of women faced frequent sexual harassment in public transport (such as buses, launces and trains) and in terminals. As a result, more than half (57%) of respondents believe that public transport is the least safe.

Apart from public transport, streets, malls and online platforms are also places where women are targeted.

The United Nations Development Program (Bangladesh), the National Human Rights Commission and the Research and Information Center jointly conducted the survey in May-June this year and released the results.

They reached out to 5,187 women across districts through various mediums, including social media, text messages and emails.

The survey also revealed that they experienced the most harassment during the day. A whopping 52% said they were harassed during the day, with most incidents centered in the afternoon.

The most stark of all the findings, however, was the response to harassment. Only 36% protested when they were harassed, and only 1% contacted law enforcement after the incident, reflecting victim stigma and lack of social or legal support.

This is also reflected in bystanders helping harassed women. The survey showed that 44% of victims received no help when they were harassed in public.

When asked why public places are dangerous, 48% said the only reason was a lack of respect for women, 19% said overcrowding on public transport was to blame, and 10% cited a lack of proper laws is a potential cause.

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