No To Female Passenger Harrasment
Recently I saw a friend update a status on Facebook on how a woman had been beaten mercilessly by a Matatu tout (minibus commonly used in Kenya for public transport) for the reason that she lacked Ksh. 10 to fulfill the required amount for transport fee. Following the post, I read the comments and some of them were so disheartening. The followers were explaining how they had experienced ugly scenes of women being sexually and physically abused by arrogant touts. One of them said that a tout shoved a woman out of a moving matatu and she ended up being run over by another vehicle and she died on the spot.
As I went through these comments, I started relating them to what I had also seen and experienced and I felt so angry deep within. I remember one day I went to the bus park, just as I was about to board the vehicle, a tout spanked me and when I turned to confront him, he started hurling obscenities at me. One would think that I was the one who had actually offended him. To make matters worse, his two colleagues joined him in calling me all sorts of names. I went home full of tears and wishing someone was there to defend me.
On another occasion, a rude tout ordered my mother out of a matatu claiming that she was a plus size. My mother reprimanded him and the people who had witnessed this supported her. I was so encouraged to see how people reacted to the issue.
I loved the way my friend on Facebook handled the issue. Even though he is a man, he felt compassion for the poor lady, took her to the nearest police station and helped the poor woman write a statement of what had happened. He was also willing to be a witness on the same. He further urged the public to take note of such and report them to the police when they harass innocent passengers, especially women.
Having witnessed and gone through the same, I now have the courage to stand up against such vices. If a man could come to the defense of a woman, then I am obliged to defend women passenger rights under all circumstances. Never again will I sit back and watch those disrespectful male touts harass women passengers. Even if it means shouting on top of my voice, I am willing to do so until women are accorded their much deserved respect. I hope to gain support amongst women and even men in my quest to get women respected in our Public Service Vehicles.