I was on the Expo line leaving Surrey to transfer to Coquitlam. It was mid-afternoon – overcast outside and not crowded on the skytrain. Typical day. I got onto the train and did my usual isolationist thing – listening to my ipod – when I couldn’t help but notice some sketchy man trying to get my attention. He nodded at me from across the train, without smiling, without saying anything – he started handling his crotch. There were certainly other people there – but if they saw him they did their best to pretend they hadn’t.
Not wanting to look like a hysterical woman I just moved train cars on the next stop. He followed me. He followed me onto five different cars at five different stops.
He didn’t actually say anything – he just stared intently at me and it got to the point that when I was at my stop I was too afraid to board a bus and go home. Fortunately, skytrain security was at my stop and I told them what was happening. They ended up escorting me most of my way home (until it was absolutely clear that the man wasn’t around).
What I hated most about this was how invisible it was to every other passenger. I had this mounting panic over what was clearly becoming a situation but still felt like it was somehow a breach of etiquette to “make a fuss”. When I felt like I had to ask for help from a male authority figure, I felt even worse.