Travelling in Cameroon is always a challenge! Between the condition of the roads and cars, cows on the road, and preachers blessing the steering wheel of the bus, travelling is one big adventure. ‘Safe journey’ is one of the most used sentences in this country for a reason.
Travelling between cities usually takes a lot of time. The roads are often bad and checkpoints can cause serious delays. The concept of one-seat-one-person is unknown in many vehicles, which makes travelling quite a challenge. For longer distances you can also take a night bus which has become and nightmare for young girls and women.
Being sexually abuse on a night buses in Cameroon has become a very common phenomenon. A lot of young girls and women go through the scary experience of strangers groping them on these buses daily.
Most victims are afraid to raise an alarm out of fear of stigmatization, and those who actually find the courage to speak up don’t really get the help the need.
The Cameroon government seems to be oblivious to the growing rate of sexual abuse on these night buses and the companies running them have totally ignored that aspect of their business.
A KB reader experienced sexual abuse on an Vatican Express night bus. Read her story below:
On June 4, I was travelling from Bamenda to Yaounde in a Vatican Express bus during the night. I was super excited to have landed a window seat given the pungent smells that sometimes linger inside these buses. A man in his mid forties sat next to me and as soon as everyone boarded the bus and it started moving, the lights went off, and I went sleeping.
I most have been sleeping for about an hour when suddenly I felt a hand on my breast. I shook it off, scared. It belonged the man next to me and I looked at him to ascertain if it was a mistake but couldn’t really see much in the dark.
After about 30 minutes, I managed to go back to sleep again but was suddenly woken up to a hand rubbing my crotch. It was frightening. I lost my voice, I couldn’t call out.
I readjusted my position, pushed his hand away, used my elbow…I did everything silently and discreetly, as if hiding it was more important than stopping it. It took me by surprise and I was neither equipped to deal with it nor fully aware of what was going on.
Immediately we reached a checking point and the lights came back on, I ask a man who has been mourning about a window seat behind my abuser to take my seat.
I was in shock through out the journey to Yaounde and when I finally got home, I told my auntie and she said that is what has been happening to young girls and women travelling by night.
I am sharing my story on this platform to warn women and to call on the government to do something about this evil act!