Women who use public modes of transport are often exposed to gender-based violence in the form of groping, catcalling, and even rape.
Which is why two women worked together to protect a fellow commuter from harassment and the moment was captured in a 45-second video clip that has since gone viral on Twitter.
In the video, a man is seen ogling a woman who tries hard to avoid looking his direction. The woman is sitting one passenger away from him, and he is sitting on the edge of the taxi bunk, staring at her intently.
It seems other women in the taxi could see the man’s inappropriate behaviour and how uncomfortable it made the young woman. At first, the woman sitting next to the target of harassment encourages her to move closer.
When the harasser sees this, he stands up and tries to sit beside her. But she and the other woman shift to the opposite bunk and a third woman passenger moves to their side, leaving the man visibly ashamed.
The video has since clocked more than 1.5 million views, 13 000 retweets and more than 39 000 likes on Twitter.
It has also sparked conversations about how women have to constantly look over their shoulders to be safe in public transports.
“See how women adjust just to protect each other and we still blame them because boys will be boys?” commented one, while another added: “I love how women protect other women."
Responding to those who were arguing that there was no potential danger or harassment in the video, one woman took it upon herself to explain harassment.
“Sexual harassment can include but it's not limited to: - inappropriate looks or staring at someone's body - physical intimidation (standing/sitting too close to someone, following someone, etc.) unwanted attention for a long period of time is inappropriate,” she educated tweeps.
the girls protecting her omfg i love— ?? (@lynsoo_) April 15, 2019
Public transport safety remains a huge concern even for South African women. You will remember that the Soweto Women’s Forum partnered with Soul City Institute in a safety charter campaign named #SafeTaxisNow in 2017, in an effort to increase safety for female commuters.
To illustrate the street and public transport harassment South African women face on a daily basis, they had two women walk silently with a hidden camera through several taxi ranks in Johannesburg.
During their 10-hours of secret filming, they revealed that they counted more than 150 incidences of harassment.
Have you ever experienced harassment in a taxi? Chat to us here
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