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Uber received 6,000 reports of sexual assault in two years. But there's still more to be done

The company is the first ride booking app to share such a report for the United States. They have since committed to releasing similar reports every two years.

Uber received 6,000 reports of sexual assault in two years. But there's still more to be done

Over the years, Uber has received immense backlash over a wide variety of issues, ranging from drivers' unions and wages to sexual harassment. When it came to issues of sexual harassment, the company did not have any data — whether it be complaints or otherwise — to analyze the problem. Now, however, the taxi booking app has finally conducted a survey to make the issue more tangible. According to their investigation, Uber received 6,000 reports of sexual assault in the United States in the past two years alone, BBC reports. The survey itself was a big step in the right direction. However, the burning question still remains: what do they plan to do about it?


In 2017 and 2018 collectively, Uber received 6,000 assaults. The number of reported incidents increased in 2018, but the rate of incidents dropped to 16 percent. This is mostly due to the rise in overall cab rides in the United States. Perhaps anti-thetical to common misconception, many of the incidents of sexual assault were perpetrated not by the Uber drivers, but by other passengers. Nearly half of all reported cases were perpetrated by passengers, as per the report. Nonetheless, the company claimed that 99.9 percent of the total journeys were completed safely; of the 2.3 billion rides that were completed in this two-year period, 5,981 sexual assault incidents were reported.


Uber is the first ride-booking company to complete such a report and release it voluntarily — despite the expected "grim headlines." The company claimed it was a complex undertaking that was two years in the making. Most of this time was used to audit all the data in order to ensure accuracy. Tony West, chief legal officer at Uber, stated, "Voluntarily publishing a report that discusses these difficult safety issues is not easy. Most companies don't talk about issues like sexual violence because doing so risks inviting negative headlines and public criticism. But we feel it's time for a new approach." This report was compiled for rides in the United States alone, and as per the firm, they do not have any plans to release similar reports in other countries across the world. Nonetheless, the safety report has been considered rather significant — it is the first to provide details about the once-emerging gig economy and how it can, unfortunately, put people in harm's way.


With this in mind, the company has committed to releasing similar reports every two years, eventually analyzing global markets. Though this is an expensive commitment, Uber is dedicated to it. The report was welcomed by US National Sexual Violence Resource Center, Karen Baker, who said, "[It] provides an opportunity to shed light on how this information-sharing emboldens our work for a safer future." Safety has always been a major concern for the firm, and this is the first step in ensuring passengers are protected. As Uber continues to battle allegations of underpaying their workers and not taking passengers' safety concerns seriously, this report is perhaps the first of many measures to protect customers. Nonetheless, there is more work to be done.


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