16 Stories

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16 stories
of sexual harassment
on public transport


on the Move

Sexual harassment is an insidious expression of gender inequality. It knows no social, economic or national boundaries.
Especially when the threat persists in public spaces, sexual harassment restricts women and girls from pursuing education and employment by restricting their movement.

This is doubly the case in Sri Lanka, where women and girls depend more on buses and trains than men do. Sexual harassment undermines their health, dignity and autonomy – and suspends them in inequality.

Yet nearly every woman who relies on public transport in Sri Lanka has been subjected to it.




of women and girls have endured sexual harassment while taking public transport


say the harassment
is physical in nature


don’t seek help from
law enforcement

Women remain silent for many reasons. By the time they reach safety, most have a good sense of how others will respond to their anguish. The majority of incidents occur with witnesses. And the vast majority of those witnesses choose never to intervene. Women and girls endure, while others look away. All videos © Studio Zoo.



Worldwide, an estimated one in three women will experience physical or sexual abuse in her lifetime. Yet sexual harassment remains shrouded in a culture of silence. For the 16 Days of Activism against Gender-Based Violence, UNFPA has teamed up with Eliza Hatch of Cheer Up Luv, a photojournalism series that tells women’s stories of sexual harassment in their own words, to amplify the voices of those unheard.

Join us over these 16 days for the stories of women who have endured sexual harassment in Sri Lanka, and who refuse to be silenced.