THE BLOG

Women-Only Carriages Won't Stop Perverts With Wandering Hands

30/09/2014 12:40 BST | Updated 30/11/2014 10:59 GMT
justintanwy via Getty Images

If you're a woman on public transport and you get groped, shame on you.

Why? Because you were either:

a) drunk

b) wearing a short skirt

c) sitting in close proximity of a man with wandering hands

d) all of the above

Now, this might sound like a load of nonsense, but, in truth, it echoes the message society sends to women and victims of sexual assault everysingleday.

If you are a victim of unwanted sexual attention, you probably asked for it. Society is unable (or unwilling) to address the real problem here: the criminal.

And as women-only carriages spread through public transport systems in Brazil, Thailand, India and Japan... it looks like the preventative, victim-blaming measure may be heading to the UK.

According to transport minister Claire Perry MP, in order to tackle sexual assault on public transport, we should focusing energies on removing the victim from the situation rather than punishing the offender.

"They have introduced women-only seating in Japan because there is a particular problem with groping and low-level violence," she said at an event at the Conservative Party conference in Birmingham.

"It is a very interesting question and I will look at all ideas."

Ms Perry's attention to the growing problem is, of course, welcome. There were 1,117 sexual offences recorded by British Transport Police (BTP) between March 2013-14, signalling a 20.8% annual increase.

But so far her suggestions echo the sexist sentiment that has perpetuated the problem of sexual assault and fuelled its growth in the first place.

While Ms Perry has made forward-thinking suggestions such as banning repeat offenders from public transport altogether, in the same breath she quickly dismissed the idea as "wacky".

"I've come up with some wacky ideas like 'three strikes and you're off' - which is my idea rather than departmental policy," she said.

Personally, I fail to see anything "wacky" about addressing the problem head on.

In fact, I propose a 'one strike and you're castrated' policy that lets passengers sit where they bloody well want.