Smashing Spatial Patriarchy: Shifting gender norms driving sexual and gender-based violence on public transport in Sri Lanka
With rising urbanization following a civil war, sexual and gender-based violence (SGBV)
on public transport has become increasingly relevant in Sri Lanka, as women, girls and
transgender and gender non-conforming people enter historically masculinized
spaces more than before. Despite important legislative and policy advances, sexual
harassment on public transport is widely under-reported, and suffers from both
bystander and duty bearer inaction.
The campaign in Sri Lanka, ‘Not on my Bus’, co-created with local partners,
aims to reduce sexual harassment in public transport through promoting bystander
intervention. It focuses on challenging the harmful norms that bystander intervention
will not help or even worsen matters, and that the responsibility for action solely
rests on survivors. It seeks to promote positive norms that bystanders should
intervene and that it is everyone’s responsibility to uphold everyone’s rights
to violence-free public spaces.