Here’s the Problematic Way One Airline Is Responding to Sexual Assault on Its Planes
Flying can be a nervewracking experience (although this app can certainly help!). There’s the turbulence, the crowds and stress of travel in general — so, needless to say, safety is the last thing you want to worry about.
Unfortunately, a passenger on Air India’s Mumbai Network wasn’t afforded that luxury when, after falling asleep during her flight, a man switched seats to sit next to her and groped her in her repose. (We know — totally disgusting.)
The airline has since responded to the incident with a new initiative meant to make its female passengers feel safer: only it’s kinnnnnndddd of problematic.
Reports indicate that six seats on each flight will now be reserved for only female passengers in an effort to keep them away from the groping hands of would-be ravagers.
We’re kind of torn on this one. While we think it’s great that the airline is taking into account the complaints of its female passengers and being proactive in its response, as Cosmopolitan pointed out, the way it’s choosing to respond is troubling.
Rather than punishing the male aggressors who are committing such heinous acts by oh, say, removing them from the airline or having them arrested, the company is putting the burden on potential victims (an all-too common occurrence in today’s rape culture), forcing them to alienate themselves to a separate sector of the plane, for which they might potentially feel shunned or shamed simply for seeking common decencies of which they are deserving — namely, safety.
There’s also the assumption here that since women will be seated with other women, they’re completely free of risk from assault, sexual or otherwise, which is simply not the case — not all offenders are male.
What we have here is a shining example of great intentions, bad follow-through — but progress (of sorts) nonetheless? We’ll let you decide.
What do you think about Air India’s new policy? Share with us @BritandCo.
(h/t Cosmopolitan, photos via Tetra + Arnt Haug/Getty)