Study: Over Half of Women Afraid to Use Public Transport as Assaults, Robbery Common

AP Photo/Jacques Brinon

A new study by the Paris Region Planning and Development Agency (IAU) has found that 56 per cent of women are afraid to use public transport due to concerns over sex attacks and theft.

Le Parisien reports respondents’ insecurity as a “legitimate fear”, noting that 37-per-cent of robberies without violence and 39-per-cent of sexual assaults against women are carried out on public transport and at train stations.

“Amongst female respondents, the fear of being attacked or robbed is so strong it prevents them from using public transport,” the IAU said.

“Women are four times more likely (6.2 per cent) to declare avoiding at least one mode of public transport for fear of aggression or theft than men (1.7 per cent).”

Covering up (with regards to clothing choices) and avoiding travelling alone are common tactics women use to minimise their risk whilst using public transport, according to Le Parisien.

“I identify anything that could be a possible source of trouble, so I can get away from it as much as possible,” said a woman named as Cécile.

Another woman, Clementine, told the French newspaper she makes sure never to be alone when using public transport and will seek out “women, families and couples” to sit near to.

Women who spoke to the publication said they avoid low-cut necklines, short skirts, heels, and even tight jeans so as to avoid harassment or an assault. Wearing a large scarf is another tactic that was mentioned.

Entitled “victimisation and feelings of insecurity in the Ile-de-France”, the study discovered that overall 42-per-cent said they are afraid whilst using public transport, with the figure amongst men standing at 27 per cent.

The most feared form of public transport was revealed to be the RER suburban express train (35 per cent), Paris’ underground Métro (31 per cent), other trains (27 per cent), buses (19 per cent), and trams (14 per cent).

The figures are reported to have come as no surprise to Alma Guirao, creator of a mobile phone application called HandsAway which allows people to alert its users to the presence of “frotteurs” or “rubbers” (persons who obtain sexual gratification by touching or rubbing against the clothed body of another person in a crowd) and other sex attackers.

“Public transport is being deserted by women in particular, who don’t feel safe using it,” said Guirao, whose app has amassed thousands of users since its release in October last year.

Breitbart London reported last month that six out of 10 people in France “no longer feel safe anywhere”, with one in four opting to “strongly agree” with the sentiment, according to a major survey.


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