Sexual assault is a critical issue around the globe. It severely impacts its victims and those around them. One place where sexual assault has been especially common is Asia. Despite its prevalence, “…in many countries in South Asia, sexual harassment in public spaces has been normalized and referred to obliquely as eve-teasing, implying that the victim—or temptress Eve—is at fault,” write the World Bank’s Maria Beatriz Orlando, Rohini P. Pande, and Uzma Quresh.
Sexual assault is extremely common because it is accepted in almost all settings, depending on how it is carried out. There are thousands of reports about sexual assault on public transport and crowded metropolitan areas in Asia that go unaddressed because leaders do not view the issue as a major issue, and thus, feel less of a need to address it. However, recent data shows that this is indeed a major issue – in Delhi, “66% of all women and girls experienced sexual assault in public spaces,” and in Lahore, Pakistan, “82 percent of women (primarily younger, between 20-29 years) experienced sexual harassment at bus stops, and 90 percent experienced it on buses.” If people feel comfortable enough to sexually assault people on public transportation, who’s to say they won’t do it in other public places?
We must address this issue before it slips even further out of our reach. For the sake of the people in Asia, and for their futures, we must take a stand.