By Dhanusha Gokulan www.khaleejtimes.com
Jaimie M. has been using the Dubai Metro daily to commute from her home in Karama to her office in Jumeirah Lake Towers (JLT).
A designer by profession, Jaimie said one of the reasons she did not apply for a driving licence is that the Metro is such a convenient and safe form of transport. But the experience got unpleasant one day when a male co-passenger harassed her.
Though the Metro is considered safe for women travelling alone, Khaleej Times has found that there have been cases of women being harassed by male passengers at the Metro station.
“My work hours can stretch on to 10pm on certain days. I risk going back late because I know it is safe. One day I had a man approach me with the pretense of casual small talk as I was walking towards the Al Nahda Metro station. I avoided eye contact and began walking towards the platform. He asked me for my mobile number which I refused to give. I walked away and next thing I know is that he followed me all the way till the JLT station,” said Jaimie. Later, only after she threatened to alert the police that the stalker backed off.
Eve-teasing, a common euphemism, is an act where women face sexual aggression ranging from sexually suggestive remarks, catcalls and sometimes outright groping.
Another passenger and a retail store employee, Nicole S., said she had faced similar cases of harassment. “I was standing outside the station waiting for a feeder bus, smoking a cigarette. A man came up to me and asked me if he could borrow my cigarette lighter. He started small talk and started asking personal questions,” said Nicole. She stated that the man outrightly asked her if she would like to be dropped home in his car, which was parked a few metres away. “He said that he is new and alone in the city and was on the lookout for new ‘hot friends’. My question is if he had a car what was he doing waiting outside a metro station,” asked Nicole. When Khaleej Times asked these women as to why they did not alert authorities at the station, they said that they did not want to ‘create a scene’. More info