“Did you get there OK?” “I’ve arrived!” “Let me know when you get there!” – common phrases sent by friends to one another after a night out has ended. The regularity of these messages highlight the insecurity and sense of danger felt and experienced by women and other identities when travelling on public transport, or waiting for the subway, bus or taxi on the way home.
According to a new report prepared by the Marea group, in collaboration with the Universidad Popular Barrios de Pie, six out of ten women surveyed said they were victims of sexual harassment while using any means of public transport in the Buenos Aires area in January.
The study, conducted in January, revealed that almost 90 percent of women surveyed feel insecure at night, while during the day the percentage reached 68 percent.
But of those who said they had been a victim of sexual harassment, 87.5 percent did not make a complaint. Among the reasons for not reporting this type of incident, the women surveyed highlighted lack of information, fear of reprisals, shame, fear of being attacked again and the naturalisation of violence.
mong the resources most frequently mentioned as a means of prevention or to alleviate the feeling of insecurity, the respondents indicated that they modified their route home (86.7 percent); they were accompanied by a friend or family member (81.2 percent); they shared their location with friends or family (75.8 percent) and they took a taxi/used a ride-sharing app to travel (57.7 percent). In addition, 95 percent of those surveyed said they wait for a message from a family member or friend to confirm that they arrived safely at their destination.
The study was presented this week by Buenos Aires City legislator Laura Velasco (Frente de Todos) and served to highlight the insecurity facing women, lesbians, trans, transvestites, non-binary and gay people in public spaces and while using public transport in the capital.
Presenting the report, Velasco highlighted that the City Legislature had passed a law in 2016 against street harassment, with another passed three years later at the national level. Even still, she observed, “the vast majority of women and diversities continue to feel unsafe when we move around the city."
The City lawmaker called on City Hall to create a Women, Gender & Diversity Ministry to give the subject a higher profile and budget, in line with the national government’s portfolio.