There have been many incidents where I have felt uncomfortable.. but one in particular still makes me feel sick when I think of it.
I was riding the #20 to downtown at around 10:30pm this summer after having had dinner with a friend on Main St.
I was wearing jeans, a t-shirt and a leather jacket. Nothing too tight or revealing.
I sat down in about the middle of the bus, facing across to the other side of the bus, and was listening to my iPod. A few stops later, a middle-aged man got on and sat a few seats behind me, facing forward. He had an unobstructed view of me.
He started making comments about my curly hair, saying that he wanted to smell it and that he loved how large my breasts are.
He then proceeded to put his hand down his pants and jack himself off violently – he did so completely unabashedly. He clearly wanted me to feel uncomfortable as he didn’t even try to hide it and knew I could see what he was doing even from my peripheral vision.
He started moaning and asking me to come look.
I got really flushed and embarrassed – I didn’t know what to say or do – I wanted to disappear. In that moment I absolutely hated that I had boobs, a womanly figure.. (How terrible is that!?!)
Two guys, who seemed a little drunk, sitting in front of me started laughing and just said to each other “jesus, what a perv”, but offered me no assistance even though I was clearly completely offended and uncomfortable.
I was afraid to attract even more attention to myself and was scared of what he might do if I said anything, so I sat their quietly until the next stop.. waited until the last second, and then ran off the bus before he could follow me.
I was then stranded on Hastings and was so afraid that he might get off at the next stop and walk back to find me. I called a cab and told them it was an emergency. The cab arrived about 8mins (or so) later and I cried silently on the ride home.
Just thinking about this makes me sick.
We still live in an age of repression. I felt as if there was nothing I could have done in that situation… looking back on it perhaps I should have been more vocal – screamed out to the driver or something… but in that moment I froze, so afraid and shocked.