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Hard on crime

Mexico City installs a penis seat on the subway to fight sexual harassment

Mexico City installs a penis seat on the subway to fight sexual harassment

The latest weapon being used to combat the rampant sexual harassment women face on Mexico City public transit is a penis.

A “men only” seat molded in the shape of a man’s torso — including a prominent penis poking up from the seat — was installed on the city’s Number 7 train line, with a sign on the floor in front of it that read, “It is annoying to travel this way, but not compared to the sexual violence women suffer in their daily commutes.”

An ad campaign video showing people reacting to the seat has been viewed on YouTube hundreds of thousands of times.

The campaign is the result of a collaboration between the Mexico City government and U.N. Women, who were hoping to raise awareness of sexual harassment on the city’s public transit; 90 percent of women who use it have faced some form of sexual abuse, according to U.N. Women. And a 2014 YouGov poll of women in 16 major cities all over the world found that Mexico City’s public transit was the second-most dangerous for women.

The city has employed other strategies to make women safer, including women-only train cars and buses. Last year the government offered women whistles to use when they felt threatened.

“We want to push so that men stand side by side with the rights of women,” said Teresa Inchaustegui, director of the Women’s Institute of Mexico City, “to move safely and free from violence.” 

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