U.N. Installs Anatomically Correct Seat To Raise Awareness Of Sexual Assault Among Mexico City Commuters

Nine of ten women have been victims of sexual harassment on the city's subway.

Commuters on the Mexico City Metro were met with a surprise earlier this year when they searched for a place to sit while on their way to work. As part of a campaign to increase awareness of sexual harassment on public transit, a seat featuring the imprint of a male torso, complete with protruding plastic genitalia, was installed in a train car under a sign labeling the spot for males only. A plaque below the seat reads:


It's unpleasant sitting here, but it's nothing compared to the sexual abuse women experience on their commute every day. 

A video capturing people's reactions as they try to sit down was uploaded to YouTube on March 20 and has since garnered more than 1.5 million views. 

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The seat is part of the #NoEsDeHombres (which roughly translates to "this isn't manly") campaign launched in the city this year by U.N. Women and Mexico City authorities. According to U.N. Women, 9 out of every 10 women who ride the subway in the city have been subjected to some type of sexual abuse while in transit. Reuters reports that for years, certain cars on the Mexico City Metro have been designated as "women-only" to try to curb rates of harassment, but only since last year have men who sat in those cars been fined. 

"Most men do not consider sexual harassment as violence," Ana Güezmes of U.N. Women Mexico told the Telegraph. "Saying things to a woman, whistling at them, are considered absolutely normal. The campaign seeks to change [this view], to stop men thinking that sexual harassment is normal."

The campaign also includes a project in which the buttocks of men waiting for the metro are projected onto the subway television monitors. The men are shocked and embarrassed, but the U.N. is hoping such experiences will help men understand the degrading nature of sexual harassment. 

"In order to generate change, you need to create empathy," Yeliz Osman, a program coordinator with the Mexican U.N. Women office told the New York Times. "The idea is that men can get a sense of what it is all like. By creating empathy, we hope that this might change their behavior."

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