Sexual harassment: Women’s stories

“I feel like no one will believe us”

I’m 39 years old. I’m a single mother with three children. My son is in high school and my two girls are in primary. My husband died last year. He had a heart attack. He was 45. He was a mechanic. He used to drink a lot of kava.

Things are very hard for us now. We grow some vegetables at home. I still work weekdays at a garment factory and on Saturdays I do housework for a family for extra money.

Every morning I take two buses to go to work at the garment factory. My friends from work take the same bus. We all get off in the industrial area where our garment factory is based. Some men take the same bus as us ladies. They work in other factories in that area.

There is one man who is always sitting too close to us ladies. Even if there is an empty seat, he will come and sit right next to us. We don’t say anything to him because the bus gets very full. But something about it doesn’t feel right. He presses his body into us. Sometimes he pretends to accidently brush his hand on our shoulder or knee. But it doesn’t feel like an accident. It feels like he means it. And I don’t like it!

My friends don’t like it either. We are all married women on the bus. We have been talking about what to do. We can’t say anything to the bus driver. He is not a friendly man. He won’t listen to us. He doesn’t care about us. We have been thinking of telling somebody at work about this problem. But we can’t say anything to our supervisor, because he is like the man on the bus. When some of us are changing at work, he comes into the ladies’ changing room. And he doesn’t leave, even though it makes us uncomfortable. He has never touched anyone, but still. He shouldn’t be in our changing room looking at us.

Maybe our big boss can talk to the bus company. Or maybe the factory can have a bus just for us ladies. I don’t know. I feel like no one will believe us. Or they think it’s not important how we feel and what we go through to get to work. I can’t afford to lose this job. How will my family survive? I keep quiet. We all keep quiet and put up with him.  What can we do to make those men stop behaving like that?