Harassment On Singapore Buses

Last year, stories of sexual harassment popped up all over the world when women spoke out against sexual harassment in the movement #MeToo.

But just one popularised hashtag won’t put an end to the different forms of harassment.

Just yesterday, a woman was verbally harassed and stalked by a man in his late fifties when heading home via public transport. Fortunately, a 23-year-old man, Yong Jie, came forward to help.

What he did

On his Reddit post titled ‘Ladies, you are not alone’, Yong Jie wrote how he saw a middle-aged man verbally harassing a woman on bus 98. The man requested for her address and asked if she was free for weekend dates.

Sensing something amiss, he gestured an ‘okay’ sign to ask if she was alright. When she shook her head in distraught, he mouthed for her to alight the bus.

The pair alighted at the next stop, but was unfortunately followed by the harasser. To shake him off, Yong Jie walked closely behind the middle-aged man until he eventually left the lady alone.

Reflecting on the incident, Yong Jie mentioned how he feared not being able to physically protect the lady, as he was weakened from a stroke which occurred a few years ago. He currently has trouble controlling his left wrist and fingers.

Yet, his disabilities did not prevent him from taking action. He shared, “I have been a victim of such predicament and I understand the confusing mix of anger, sadness, loneliness, helplessness and the feeling of being dirty all at the same time.”

While his act of kindness earned the respect and praise of many Redditors, some thought Yong Jie was harassing the lady.

Others commented how he and the lady should have alerted the bus captain or the police.

In response, Yong Jie feared doing so might aggravate the situation and distress the victim even more.

“Making a ruckus or commotion in public will add stress to the victim, making them more uncomfortable about the whole ordeal,” he explained.

Understanding why victims don’t confront their harassers

Yong Jie’s recount spawned a discussion on how bystanders’ support has helped victims find the courage to stand up for themselves.

Someone explained how many young girls don’t confront their harassers because they’re afraid of being STOMP-ed. Sometimes, they panic and freeze in the moment of danger.

As much as women shouldn’t remain silent victims, bystanders shouldn’t turn a blind eye when a person is in danger.

Dealing With Public Harassment

Through this incident, Yong Jie hopes to raise awareness for public harassment and to encourage Singaporeans to watch out for one another.

“We should focus on what we can do as a community, and how we can help each other as fellow human beings. So when incidents like these happen again right in front of our eyes, we’ll come together and collectively solve problems like harassment for a safer Singapore.”

With the exchange of positive discussions and solutions on the Reddit thread, it looks like we’re headed in the right direction.


Cover image: Source