Cities such as Vietnam’s capital Hanoi provide girls with more opportunities than rural areas. However, they also put girls at a higher risk of abuse.
Around 10,000 adolescent girls travel by bus in Hanoi every month, risking sexual violence harassment and theft. Our research shows that over 40% of girls seldom or never feel safe when using public transport in Hanoi. Lack of safe public transport is one of the greatest barriers stopping girls from moving around cities independently.
My, 17, uses the bus to get to school. She says: “On the bus, mobile phones are being stolen and girls are being harassed. A friend was touched and when she objected, she was thrown out of the bus into the street, but the boys were allowed to continue their trip.”
On the bus, mobile phones are being stolen and girls are being harassed
Plan International Vietnam has established a youth media project which spreads awareness about safety on buses. My is a member of the youth group. She says: “We have created 4 comic booklets dealing with the subject of theft, harassment and violence on buses.
“We advise caution. In emergencies, bus drivers or ticket inspectors must help. They are responsible for security in the bus – many people do not know that.”
The youth group hand out their comics at bus stops and ticket offices across the city to help keep girls safe on public transport. So far, 40,000 comic books have been distributed to passengers.
In addition, 4,600 bus drivers and ticket collectors have been trained by Plan International to stop girls being abused on buses.
Manh, a ticket collector, is very conscious that women and girls do not get harassed on his bus. He says, before taking part in a training, he had no idea how girls felt when travelling in crowded buses. Participating in the workshop has helped him see from a girl’s point of view.