Teen girl in sleeveless top barred from bus in Israel after driver says outfit is ‘sexual harassment’

A 13-year-old girl wearing shorts and a sleeveless top was barred from getting on a bus in central Israel after the vehicle’s driver informed her that her outfit was deemed “sexual harassment by law”.

The teenager was waiting for the No 9 bus, which makes its way from Or Akiva to Binyamina-Givat Ada, on Friday, a hot day, when the incident happened.

Ha’aretz reports that the driver asked her whether she had anything to cover herself up with.

After she told the bus driver she did not have any other clothes, the driver is said to have refused to let her on the bus.

The young girl told Ha’aretz: “I was shocked. I couldn’t understand what was happening. I later regretted not confronting the driver. I don’t think boys would have been treated like that.”

She added: “It took me a while to understand the situation. It’s very upsetting. I think the driver didn’t let me on because of a chauvinistic approach.”

The girl’s mother filed a complaint against the driver with the National Public Transport Authority when her daughter told her what had happened.

The mother said: “His behavior in a public space constitutes a serious offense to basic rights we all have, and especially to human dignity.” She added that her daughter “was raised learning the importance of complete equality. Nobody can tell her what to wear.”

The Kavim bus company has said it will investigate the incident, and that disciplinary action will be taken against the driver if it transpires that he infringed the firm’s policies.

“The company instructs its drivers to allow any and every passenger to use its services, and to get on the bus regardless of their appearance,” the firm told Ha’aretz.

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