While it is shocking to even think of this as an issue there were apparently 850 arrests in January 2023 on trains alone which is a 47% increase from the same month in 2022! Rail minister Huw Merriman said: “This innovative VR experience shows that even small actions such as alerting rail staff can make a big difference.”
The VR experience is based on real-life accounts of sexual harassment on public transport. The scenarios include a woman being followed on a train, a man being groped on a bus, and a group of teenagers being verbally abused on a tram. After each scenario, passengers will be asked to discuss what they saw and how they would have intervened. It is designed to raise awareness of sexual harassment on public transport and to empower people to take action if they see it happening. It is also hoped that the experience will help to change the culture around sexual harassment and make it clear that it is not acceptable.
Currently, it is being launched at Waterloo, the UK’s busiest railway station. Rail minister Huw Merriman said: “This innovative VR experience shows that even small actions such as alerting rail staff can make a big difference.”
A survey of 2,000 UK adults commissioned by Britain’s rail industry suggested 79% would feel relieved if someone intervened while they were experiencing sexual harassment on public transport. British Transport Police say this could be as simple as asking the targeted person if they would like to swap seats or distracting the perpetrator with a question.
Jacqueline Starr, chief executive of the Rail Delivery Group, which represents train operators, said: “The rail industry is actively tackling all forms of sexual harassment and we are committed to making people feel safe. Our customers have a right to feel safe on Britain’s railways and to feel confident to call out this behaviour without fear.”
The VR experience is part of a wider campaign by the rail industry to tackle sexual harassment on public transport. The campaign includes posters, leaflets, and social media messages. It also includes training for rail staff on how to deal with sexual harassment and it is definitely a positive step forward in the fight against sexual harassment on public transport.
For more on this story check out the original article: https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-england-london-65195206