WhispersMonsters on the bus [Archives:2005/849/Opinion]

June 9 2005

By Fahmia AL-Fotih
Today's story is whispered by many Yemeni women and they want their whispers to be heard. Fatima is one of those women. She is a university students has to travel on public transportat to and fro mostly everyday. She naturally is exposed to various harassments along her way. In the beginning she was afraid and was scared when she heard bad words and immoral manners and thought to stay at home. She remembers the first day when she was running to the bus to shelter from the people looks, words and to have a rest after a hard and a long journey in the street. The bus soon became full and was ready to start when she felt a strange movement under her seat. She thought she imagined it but the movements continued. So she looked behind her and saw a young man! She could not do anything but look at him harshly. But he kept his bad movements. She was afraid to shout or scream, as the passengers would not believe her and they would not stand with her. So she stopped the bus and got off hoping to find another bus without any harassment. Nowadays Fatima turns a blind eye for all the kinds of harassments. However it hurts her and affects her emotionally and psychologically.

I was with a group of girls and they all complained about these harassments, as it becomes an annoying phenomenon. Some of them do not respond but few are brave enough to take their shoe and beat those who try to disgrace them and express their ill psychologies. Interestingly, some women keep some sharp tools in their bags and they perfectly use them in the case of being irritated by ill-mannered people. Usra, housewife, remembered that she was in the bus when she felt a hand of someone under her seat, but she took her brooch and planted it in his hand and he shouted painfully and could not bear the pain amidst the laughter of the passengers. He deserved it and more!

Many students like Fatima and housewives like Usra, who used to go shopping and all the women who are forced to use public transport, are exposed to such bad and worse situations. Unfortunately, most of the women prefer to be silent as they are either shy and they do not want to attract people's attention or they do not actually expect having the support of the passengers who mostly blame the girl or the woman. Consequently, this silence and society's indifference to this issue encourage those bad people to keep doing these shameful deeds. However, the question that poses itself is when can this bad phenomenon could be stopped. What's the role of the society members who watch such bad people practice wicked movements? The important question is where is the role of the security officials who they themseleves sorrowfully practice such harassments?

I do not know what is the point and what are the benefits that those evil people get when they try to make these silly movements behind any girl or woman. What if this girl or woman were his sister, mother or relatives? Do they accept this indecorous behavior for them? Absolutely not! In my opinion, those who practice these rude actions should be punished and be example to others! And this phenomenon should be ended as we live in a Muslim society.

In India there are special buses for women to avoid such harassments and I think it is a good idea to apply it in Yemen.