In Malaysia this week there has been a new bus line introduced in an attempt to quell sexual harassment. The Rapid Lady Bus service will run the most popular bus lines during peak-hours so that passengers can have the choice of stepping into a women-only pink bus rather than deal with the jostling and harassment of men.
RapidKL Bus Chief Operating Officer Datuk Mohamed Hazlan Mohamed Hussain said, “This is based on feedback received from our customers, especially females, who shared with us their discomfort during peak-hour travels.” The bus service aims to provide a safe and comfortable space for women to travel. A “women-only” icon will be placed in the front window and LED screen of the bus to differentiate between this service and the normal bus service. Boys under the age of 12 may accompany mothers and sisters on the bus. They are still only in the trial runs, have since interviewed many women who are utilizing the bus service and the surveys seem to be showing strongly positive results.
Malaysia, a country made up of mostly Muslims, is apt to adhere to gendered law enforcement and social restrictions. It’s great that now there seems to be some sort of recognition of unfair treatment of women in a public space, such as the bus, but will segregation really help anything? One woman laments, "I hope men will not think we are a pampered lot.” There are no significant consequences for men caught and there seems to be no push to teach men not to abuse and harass women. Is this a step towards ending sexual harassment in Malaysia or will it only add fuel to the flame?
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