Imagine if sex crimes on public transit became so common that subways, trains, and light rail trains had separate cars for women. In Japan, India, and Mexico City it’s already happened. Is the U.S. headed in the same direction? In the San Francisco Bay Area, sexual crimes on public transit are grossly underreported. Across the country, mostly female victims often fail to report the crimes for many reasons. That failure to report leads to incorrect statistics that end up endangering more people in the long run.
Public transit passengers are sometimes subjected to people masturbating, groping, rape, and unwanted advances. Women in our culture are conditioned to ignore sexual advances and not ‘create a stir’. In interviews with women who had been subjected to this behavior and didn’t report it, some said it was ‘just easier’ to get away from the assailant, they didn’t want to ‘create a scene’, they thought ‘what can I do’ or just assumed it would be too hard to prove. A poll of subway riders in New York said that 86 percent of riders who had been sexually assaulted didn’t report it! Those numbers have to change.
It’s time women stand up for themselves and stop allowing criminals to get away with these sex crimes time and time again. It won’t stop every assault, but studies show that women who seem confident and look people directly in the eye are less likely to become victims. Learning good self-defense and carrying a stun gun or pepper spray, if legal, are great confidence boosters. Sadly, with sexual behaviors, women always seem to be the ones who have to make the changes, at least until someone finds a way to actually scare the criminals into changing.
Â© Margie Wilson-Mars 2012