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No one did anything

From the time I was in school, I have been harassed in many ways. Sometimes by leaning on me or touching me.

One day I was travelling in the bus. The seat next to me was a little shaky. Between Townhall and Nugegoda, two people sat on it, and we managed to travel comfortably.

Another person came and sat next to me, and he started touching me with his elbow. I pushed him with my elbow and moved away. He continued to touch me so I kept my handbag in between us. I pushed him again. He got really angry and stood up from the seat and slapped me. This was in the afternoon, around 2 or 3 p.m., so there were a lot of people in the bus, but no one did anything. He just slapped me and got off the bus. This put me in a really uncomfortable situation.

Even if nothing major happens, whenever someone sits next to us we are afraid. We are afraid that something might happen. Because of that, when we travel by bus we can't read a book, look out the window or fall asleep. We are always anxious.

The sad thing is, when people see these things happening, they don’t intervene or tell them to stop. Everyone looks away. If we avoid doing that, everyone will be able to travel safely.

Photos © Eliza Hatch/Cheer Up Luv for UNFPA and Videos © Studio Zoo

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UNFPA, the lead UN agency responding to gender-based violence in emergencies, is working with the Government of Sri Lanka to tackle sexual harassment and other forms of gender-based violence, wherever they occur. UNFPA advocates for women and girls at the highest level and engages them in efforts to find lasting solutions. Yet more can be done to protect women and girls and hold their perpetrators to account. You can help. 

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