What We Won’t Publish (Note from the Moderators)

We have received a MASSIVE influx of submissions over the last two days, thanks to the wholly unexpected (and much appreciated) media coverage this blog has attracted.

The stories of course, break our hearts and spark fury in our minds. However, some of the submissions we have received have something of a disturbing reactivity to them that we wanted to address:

This blog DOES NOT and WILL NEVER advocate for any sort of legislation that restricts access to transit for people with mental illnesses or people living in poverty. We have tried to make this clear in our interviews, but unfortunately, our statements on this matter have largely been cut from the coverage pertaining to this project.

People with mental illness are not the source of the problem.

People living in poverty and people living on the streets are not the source of the problem.

We are very uncomfortable with this discursive track and would like to make our feelings on this plain. We maintain that the heart of the problem is inequitable gender socialization (and, in some cases, plain ol’ shit-disturbing disrespect). Being that we are not mental health professionals, we are not qualified to speculate on whether or not harassment is exacerbated by a mental illness. When we equate rude, abusive or antisocial behaviour with mental illness, we further ostracise an already massively marginalized population. We will not publish stories that make this kinds of speculations in a cruel or dismissive way, even if we feel that the rest of the story is full of legitimate complaints.

Thank you for your understanding.

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7 thoughts on “What We Won’t Publish (Note from the Moderators)

  1. Wow, I think it’s really disrespectful to the mentally ill and impoverished to assume that these stories are about them in the in the first place. Many of these stories are about men who would be classed as completely “mentally stable” feeling that they are entitled to make advances, or harass and intimidate (or both).

    • LOL umm I think you missed that point. Clearly some stories are coming in suggesting a segregated transit system. “Keep bums and loonies” off the trains. No one is assuming anything, they are requesting people try and keep a mutually respectful line of communication open.

      It is a PUBLIC transport system, the mentally ill, homeless and those living with various issues brought on by different things are members of the public. No one it suggesting that living with this issues its an excuse to treat anyone with disrespect…..including those who are considered to be less than ideal travel companions.

      • I don’t think I totally missed the point, that is actually what I was getting at, I just didn’t articulate very well in my previous comment.

        I mean that it’s offensive that people are suggesting that “bums and loonies” are the source of the problem. Also, that some may be suggesting that keeping them off of transit will help end harassment. I was responding in particular to the line about “not [publishing] stories that make this kinds of speculations in a cruel or dismissive way.” Which suggests (to me) that people are making speculations about peoples mental health or socioeconomic status who have either harassed them, or others.

  2. I live in Coquitlam and I had just started taking the skytrain downtown for my new job downtown Vancouver in March. One day, after work, I was on the millenium line and it was packed like sardines as per usual. I was sitting down and there was a male standing by my side; I didn’t think anything of it as the train is so busy. As we moved, he kept coming closer. I looked up, to tell him to get out of my personal bubble, as he looks down at me and PUSHES HIS BONER INTO MY ARM AND TOUCHES MY SHOULDER with his hand.

    I freaked out. This is what taking public transit it is? I yelled many profanities that seasoned truckers would be proud of. Then, someone told me to “mind my language”. Thank you residents of Vancouver for NOT helping a young woman.

  3. Hello. I really want to give you guys kudos for starting this project. I’m a young woman and have been taking transit for 9 years now. I’ve noticed this bystander effect [often firsthand] wherein people willingly ignore the plight of women being harassed. But I’ve also heard some stories of strangers helping to defend strangers from inappropriate actions/language. Just yesterday me and my girl friends had a heated and lengthy discussion of our worst transit experiences. You ladies are onto something here. Hopefully your site will help transiters to be more brave and outspoken!

  4. I just wanted to say I think this a great project. I am originally from a small town and when I moved here for university I was afraid to take the train. The first night i took the train i had an incident and it scared me alot.

    as time has passed while living here it has become a part of taking transit. Like a few other women have said. the bystander effect is very powerful in Vancouver and I hope that your project also can encourage women to stand together and speak up when we experience this harrassment on public transit. Until I lived in Vancouver I never knew people were so sexist, rude, and disgusting toward women and it makes me sad that at this day in age women are berated and treated so poorly everyday.

    i hope that the awareness out of your project encourages all women any age taking transit to speak up and say something if you see another woman being harrassed. I feel that alot of people are afraid to speak up or do anything because they don’t know how others will react. We all are strong women/men too who have the right to refuse this treatment and behaviour.
    no one has the right to touch your body without your consent.

    I hope we can all start supporting each other, and speak up or help someone when we see that they are in this situation. I know when it has happened to me, I have never felt so alone because people just turn their heads. Please get involved!

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