Story 1: The Asian and The Pervert
It was on a sunny afternoon about a couple of years ago. I take the 99B Line to Commercial Skytrain to get home after work. Generally the 99B is full (if you hadn’t heard). The bus I was on was busy but there were seats. I was sitting in the front part of the bus against the window across from the middle doors.
The guy sits beside me. I looked at him. I normally wouldn’t but there was something about him that gave me the heebeegeebees. As in Fargo, “he was funny looking.”. As the bus left the stop, I turned to look at him again. He smiled. I did not smile back. A part of me said that I should get up and sit elsewhere. The other part of me said if you try, he may do something.
As the bus moved on, I noticed that his bag on his lap started to ‘jingle’. This carried on. Then his breathing became laboured. I was staring out the window and I was filled with anxiety. I said to myself, “Look. You gotta look.” So I did. The guy showed me his penis. He smiled. I didn’t. I freaked out. I punched him as hard as I could on his shoulder–he fell into the aisle. By this time, the middle doors opened as we had arrived at a stop. I yelled, “Get the f**** away from me you f****en pervert.” The guy pulled up his pants and ran out the doors. No one could fathom what had just happened. The bus driver said, “What happened? What’s going on?” I said, “The guy is a pervert! He was jerking off beside me.” The bus driver ran out to see if he could catch the guy.
No one said anything to me. Not one person. In a strange way, I felt abandoned by other women.
When we arrived at Commercial, the bus driver asked me if I was okay. I thought I was. He advised that I should speak to police. I began walking toward the station and then it really hit me hard. It so happened there were two female police officers there attending to another call. I filed a report.
My feeling is that since I was an Asian female, this pervert did not think I’d speak out and react the way I did.
Story 2: The Asian and The Angry Man
I was standing at a bus stop one day with four other Asian woman. When the 99B Line approached this very tall Caucasian male butt in line and got on the bus before any of the women.
He wanted a seat. He sat in the elderly/disable area. Beside him was an Asian grandmother–she looked young but she was definitely a grandmother (an Asian thing?). She had a young boy on her lap (maybe about 4 years old). Her other two grandchildren were sitting on the other side of this man. These children were about 6-7 years old–also in the elderly/disabled area. I was sitting watching just behind these two children. He looked at the children and then turned and looked at the grandmother. He did this a few times. I knew he was itching to say something…. and he did. He said something to the grandmother pointing to the children. She put up her hand to acknowledge what he had said. She said something in a foreign language to these children. They vacated their seats and stood by her–holding onto the only handle that they was within their reach.
This was not enough for this man. He began to berate her. He would start and stop. I couldn’t take it. I said, “Why don’t you just leave her alone. She did what you wanted and THAT isn’t enough for you??” He replied with an answer about the seats are for the elderly and disabled and that they shouldn’t be sitting there. He went on pleading his case and ended with, “It is not any of your f****n business.” I responded, “It is my f****n business. If you are so concerned for the elderly/disabled… you’re a big strapping man, why don’t you give up your seat? But you prefer to belittle a grandmother and the children… why? Because it makes he feel BIGGER? Don’t sit there and tell me it is none of my business… You are the SAME man you butt in front of five females a few stops ago. What a BIG gentleman you are!” After my rant, all the other females on the bus began saying something to him. A big construction worker occupied the seat that the young kids had vacated only minutes before. A lady said to the construction worker, “You better get approval from that guy there if you want to sit in that seat.” This angry man’s blood pressure hit the roof–he was turning red–or maybe that was from being embarrassed. When we all exited the bus, he stayed behind probably to gain validation from the bus driver.
Story 3: Wearing Sunglasses When It Is Dark
I was heading into work–the mornings were still dark.
A big construction worker sat beside me: me against the window; him in the aisle seat. When he sat down he placed his big bag by his feet and then he peaked over to see if I could move over more. I was flush against the wall. He began giving me subtle hip checks to push me against the wall of the bus. This continued on for several minutes. Then he used his elbow to jab me–he wanted more room. He kept looking to see if there was more room. This hip checks and jabbing continued. I didn’t say anything because he was a big guy wearing sunglasses.
When I got up to exit the bus, his bag was in the way–I could not leave. I said, “Excuse me.” He said, “There is enough room to move your sweet a*s over here…” (signaling with his hand that my butt would pass by his face). I was shocked. I said, “Fine. You’re an asshole who thinks he’s cool wearing sunglasses when it’s dark.” So I took my foot and kicked his bag which ended up in front of the middle doors. When I managed to get in front of him I turned and said right to his face, “You’re a f***n as***ole.. a big f*** stupid one. If I wasn’t right in mind, I’d b*tch slap those glasses off your face and kick your bag off the bus. Try that again next time–and I won’t be as civil.” He sat there not saying one word.
I often say something when weighed against who is around… and the situation itself. I often find women don’t say anything. Only one time did a guy rise from his seat when a man in a wheelchair began screaming at me (yes another incident) saying quite a few sexist and racist names (he didn’t like I was snacking on something after my university classes). Those two went at it.
People, in Vancouver, I find to be very passive. They don’t want to be a part of trouble. The response had it been in Toronto and NYC would be much different. People ask why I ‘attract’ the crazies. I find this perspective appalling as it paints me as the instigator. They don’t see that it maybe that the stereotype out there is that Asian women don’t say anything and men prey on that.
One guy sitting across from me was harassing a Filipino woman on the bus… saying an incredible amount of sexist things about how they (Filipinos) are in bed. She acted as though nothing happened. He continued. So I said to him, “I don’t care to hear about your sexual fantasies as with most people on the bus–so shut up or get off the bus.” People didn’t say anything but they stared at him. He felt uncomfortable.
I honestly feel there is not enough being done. I’m shocked by the lack of altruism in this city. When I speak up, sometimes I feel like the crazy one as often times no one else on transit says anything… not even the bus driver. I often post stories of my transit experience on facebook. My friends find them amusing–amusing because they’re so shocking.
**mod’s note: just a reminder that we post pretty much exactly what we are sent, and as such, we don’t alter phrasing, even words or phrases that we may personally find problematic. We believe that the rider’s personal perspective of the incident is worth hearing in a complete way.