I am not of the female gender, but my girlfriend is. As of late I feel Vancouver has been getting more and more unsafe, to the point where I feel unease for her safety when I cannot be by her side. She has told me of two stories that has happened to her while she was alone on translink.
1) While sitting on the the elevated chair on the front of a bus a man stood very close to her (with plenty of room on the bus) and pressed his abdomen into her leg. She felt very tempted to jerk her knee at every turn, but resisted the urge just in case he was not doing it on purpose. She just avoided eye contact and tried to read her book until she got off.
2) This one troubles me, because I was in the vicinity. We were commuting to UBC, and on this day the skytrain was packed due to track problems. I planned to meet her and my friends at a different station from our normal meeting station. I managed to get on the same cart as she was on, but on another section. Over where she was, a man was basically pressing her against the glass pane with his abdomen against her back. Not surprisingly, this made her very uncomfortable. At the time, I thought nothing much of it, but now I realize how wrong it was.
I did not even know that men actually “got off” on these kind of acts until I read this site/blog. It is both sad and disgusting and I’ve told my girlfriend not to give these people the benefit of doubt if they do things like these.
Translink and the public in general are failing to protect the safety of women in general. It is disgusting and sad that women can not be treated with respect, and that men insist on acting like perverted creeps for a lack of better words.
Two words of advice:
-Be assertive, if somebody is doing something that makes you uncomfortable. Tell them to STOP or MOVE. Even if they seem like they are not doing it on purpose, the fact is, many of these (including the ones that happened to my girlfriend) are very much on purpose and disgusting. If the person is doing it by accident, they will apologize and move.
-Don’t be shy. My girlfriend is a very quiet and diminutive, and I urge her to be more upfront in these situations. If somebody is doing something like this, don’t be a silent victim. Yell, scream, shout. Make sure people know, there are people that will intervene (they can only if they know!).
I hope Vancouver and the translink system becomes more safe for women and at risk individuals, but with no foreseeable resolution any time soon I am stuck with worrying for her safety every day.
**mod’s note: These suggestions are only suggestions. If you do not feel you’ll be safe if you speak up, proceed accordingly. Silent alarms, and, with any luck, the new text alert/app system Transit Police plan to roll out will assist in protecting people from an ever-escalating bad situation.