In Need of Mediation

What is one place that you cannot avoid unless you are over 16 and
have money? The bus.

The bus is an amazing microcosm of people. Sadly, it is impossible to
control who you cross paths with in the city, and when you are on the
bus you are stuck in a small contained space with these people for a
matter of time. Being a young girl and living in the area I do
(Hastings) I am constantly harassed,  on the street, in stores,
anywhere I go. It is very un-settling when your mother doesn’t want you
to leave the house once it gets dark for fear of some stranger in the
night, and even more un-settling when you know she is right, there has
been numerous times that cars have followed me down the street, trying
to convince me to get in, or people blocking the doorways of stores
saying vulgar things to me. I didn’t grow up in the city, so I’m not
as used to it, but I think that it is a good thing because I see it
for how bad it really is, I am not numb top the experience, and I
would like to make a change.

One place, I know that we could make a change is the transit system.
I think it is my right as a human to feel safe when I leave the house,
especially on city property. Let me share some of my experiences. On
the bus one day there was a man sitting across from me, I could tell
he was very drunk but that is not very unusual on the bus, the man
rolled onto the floor and started grabbing at me and the girl next to
Me’s legs. What is most surprising is what happened after that, I got
up and went to the front of the bus and informed the bus driver that
there was a drunk man grabbing at me and another girl. He kind of
grunted and did nothing, I got off at the next stop. I called trans
link and asked what I was supposed to do in  a situation like that. I
was told I should tell the bus driver, I said I did and he did
nothing, so I was told I should ask a transit cop for help, yah right,
the only time there is ever a transit cop around is when they are
harassing people about tickets, they shouldn’t really be called
transit cops they should be called transit thugs, shaking people down
to pay their dues with the ruse that they are there to help when
really they do nothing to protect the people. So I told the man on the
phone there was not a transit cop around so he said I should call 911.
Yah right, can you really see anyone taking it seriously if I called
911 because a man was sexually harassing me on the bus? It’s just not
done and anyways I shouldn’t have to go that far.

Now in that case you could say oh the bus driver didn’t see he
incident he busy etc. But in another incident of that nature I was
boarding the bus when A man sitting in the seat directly behind the
bus driver well in ear shot told me to take of my clothes. I was
shocked and kept walking, but as someone who was diagnosed with ptsd
due to past sexual abuse a comment like that can really shake me, and
it is just down right in appropriate. I walked back to where the man
was sitting and told him that I was 15, what he said was not ok, and
never well be ok. The man got very angry and started yelling insults
at me and calling to the bus driver to kick me off the bus. The bus
driver did nothing, eventually another women on the bus told him that
I was right and to shut up and a couple stops later he got off. I was
appalled, If the man didn’t get kicked off the bus for that then what
do you get kicked off for? Just not paying your ticket I guess.

I know the bus drivers have to be concerned for their safety but
what about my safety? I think bus drivers need training in how to deal
with situations like that as they are all too common. I propose a
transit cop on every bus, now I know that is unrealistic so I would
at-least like a transit cop on every bus who does the more sketchy
routes ie the 14, 16, and 20. I’m sure this happens on other routes
but it is an everyday occurrence on these routes. If trans-link
doesn’t do this, then what is the point of having transit cops?. As
people a way we can help each other is if you see someone being
harassed, stand up for them, tell the person to leave them alone, or
even just ask them if they are ok, there was a man on the bus once who
kept talking to a girl next to me in a creepy manner and started
asking her about where she lived where she worked when she got off
etc, I asked her if he was bothering her, she said no because it can
be scary, as women we are trained to be on high alert when we leave
the house, but the guy left her alone after that. Something so simple
can make a huge difference.

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One thought on “In Need of Mediation

  1. Hello – Thank you for sharing your story. Although troubling, it gives everyone a better idea of what goes on, and highlights the need to take action.
    I realize that you may only see us when we are on patrol and checking tickets. We do much more that you don’t see, and checking tickets also helps us remove criminals from the system. In 2011 we removed 722 people with outstanding arrest warrants from the system, plus 834 arrests for court order breaches, most from checking their names after they were found without a ticket.

    Here’s a recent example of our efforts to protect those on our system: http://www.cknw.com/2013/11/01/transit-police-bust-underage-prostitution-ring/

    Please let me know if you have any questions about what we do. Know that most of us are there because we want you to feel and be safe on transit.

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