Smashing spatial patriarchy: Shifting social norms driving sexual and gender-based violence on public transport in Sri Lanka

Author: Anam Parvez Butt, Sharanya Sekaram
Published by: Oxfam
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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.