Wroblewski, a graduate student in new media photojournalism at George Washington University, has been working on a project called “I Was On the Metro When,” highlighting the experiences of other women on public transit. She’s photographed and interviewed a handful of women about their personal encounters with harassment on the system. Ultimately, she said, she wants to interview 50 people, and find a way to share their photos and stories at an exhibit inside a Metro station. “There are so many small moments, and a lot of women feel that their story isn’t valid, or valid enough,” she said. “And they just brush it off and move on with their day. But it is valid, and it’s important.”
While the technology itself is not faulty, some experts question the usability of panic buttons. In India, women—the target demographic for panic button usage—are 36% less likely to own a mobile phone than a man, according to GSMA, a worldwide mobile operators network. In the hinterlands, this disparity is even wider with only 12% of women using a phone. This is especially worrisome since between Jan. 01, 1984 and Dec. 31, 2009, almost 80% of rapes were committed in rural areas.
Women are at greater risk of violence while using public transportation everywhere, and Mexico is no exception. Taxis are only marginally safer, with many women wary of hailing a cab off the street at night. So-called "pink taxi" programs have been launched in Puebla and other cities over the years, but they appear to be mostly defunct today. Mexico City has tried to address the issue by designating women-only cars on many buses and on the metro, but still, when Uber launched here in 2013, many women welcomed it. With driver profiles and GPS tracking, it seemed to be a safer option. But when a woman accused a Mexico City Uber driver of rape last year, the hope for a safer way to get around dimmed.
The campaign is #MyMatatuStory, and aims to educate and sensitize conductors and drivers on providing safe spaces for their passengers. Passengers and matatu crew can prevent and report cases of sexual harassment and assault to NTSA through a complaints hotline. Eventually, they envision having a gender desk at NTSA dedicated to sexual harassment/assault complaints. Matatus taking part in the campaign have a ‘Nganya Safe’ sticker (‘safe matatu’).
85 percent of the victims were women and those living in the Paris region were at greater risk, with 7.6 percent of women aged 18-21 living in the area saying they had been sexually abused on public transport. "Young women are significantly more at risk than their older counterparts, with 2.3 percent of women aged 18-21 living in cities experiencing this behaviour," said the study.