Stories and news of women facing sexual harassment at places of work, public spaces and any form of shared transportation continue to raise their ugly head. Narrating a disturbing experience on bike taxi app, Rapido, a Twitter user and columnist Athira Purushothaman, shares, "Today, I went for the Manipur Violence protest at Town Hall Bangalore and booked a rapidobikeapp auto for my way back home. However, multiple auto cancellations led me to opt for a bike instead."
It is for a reason they tell women, time and again, to rely on the intuitive powers to smell anything off. When something doesn't feel right, it probably isn't. She adds, "Surprisingly, the driver arrived on a different bike, explaining that the one registered with rapidobike was under servicing. I confirmed my booking through his app and proceeded with the ride."
Continues the thread, "During the journey, we reached a remote with no other vehicles around. Shockingly, the driver began riding with one hand and engaging in inappropriate behavior (masturbating while riding the bike). Fearing for my safety, I remained silent throughout the ordeal. I asked him to drop me 200 metres away before my actual destination to conceal my home location. Once the ride was over, he started relentlessly calling and messaging me on Whatsapp. I had to block his number to stop the harassment."
Unfortunately, similar real life harassment for women using public transport for daily commute between work and home will anything but stop.
Tagging the bike sharing app platform for their lax safety measurements, she questions, "What measures are you taking for background verification. Your users' safety should be a top priority. Please ensure that people registered with your service can be trusted for a safe travel experience. He keeps calling me from different numbers now!"
Not the first harrowing experience for a woman user
Given the flimsy or rather failed infrastructure when it comes to women's safety, no wonder almost every woman has been through similar horrible experiences. Reacting to the post, shares a woman, "These rapido creeps are on Whatsapp groups together, sharing female passenger details, locations, pics, numbers etc. like one large creep syndicate. Beware." Just the stuff that nightmares are made of.
Similar unpleasant encounters by women users of ride sharing apps have come to light from time to time. Cab drivers misbehaving with women, verbally and sometimes even physically, are not unheard of. In the city of Bengaluru itself, an Ola cab driver tried to molest a female passenger when she booked the cab to catch a late night flight at the airport. The driver stopped the car on a deserted street, attempted to molest her and even threatened to kill her when she resisted. Later while dropping her to the airport, he warned her against approaching the authorities. The driver was later arrested by the police when the woman filed an official complaint but the trauma of having gone through an experience like that doesn't go away even when the justice has been delivered.