19 Mar 2012

Fiji young women's organisation working with transport authorities over harrassment

6:00 pm on 19 March 2012

The co-ordinator of a young women's organisation in Fiji says her group is working with the transport authorities to stop public service drivers from sexually harrassing female and transgender passengers.

The former head of the Fiji Taxi Association Rishi Ram stepped down from his position last week following an outcry over his suggestion that if women stop wearing short skirts taxi drivers won't sexually harrass them.

Roshika Deo of the Fiji Women's Rights Movement's Emerging Leaders Forum Alumni says much of the time drivers don't realise that what they're doing is wrong.

However she says there are other other times when they know their behaviour is inappropriate but think it's their right.

"These are instances where they start following you in the taxi. They acquire your phone number, they're outside your home, they're calling you or they start grabbing you or groping you. There have been instances where when they give change they touch you inappropriately in the sense that they linger on your arm or they just touch your arm or hold it."

Roshika Deo says her organisation is working with the Land Transport Authority to set up safe complaints procedures, revise sexual harrassment policies and provide gender sensivity training.