Harassment on Translink happens ALL the time, and I’m so happy that this website is finally allowing the public to see the magnitude of this problem. I have heard many stories from my friends and have experienced it myself.
A couple years ago I was on the Millenium line going towards Lougheed Station. The train was pretty empty but there were still a few people seated in the areas around me. I was looking out the window and not really paying attention to the other passengers on the train. At one point in the trip I saw the man sitting in the pair of seats in front of me abruptly get up to go stand by the doors (he wasn’t getting off at the next stop either). A few minutes later, I finally clued into what had made him move. The man seated across from me was openly masturbating while leering at me. He looked to be in his late 40’s or 50’s. Slim build. Olive skin tone.
I was so shocked and disgusted that it took me a few seconds before I fully registered what was happening. I got up and moved away from the area. He was sitting in a spot where the pair of seats in front of him blocked his penis from most of the other passengers’ view.
I felt so disgusted and violated, but at that time I didn’t feel like I could speak up. All my life I had been trained to remain polite and courteous in public areas. It felt like an impossibility for me to speak out publicly against the man, or even draw the attention of the other passengers on the train. I felt totally helpless in that situation.
The next stop happened to be mine, so I got off and told the female transit security officer on the platform. She radioed for someone and I hope they caught him.
Now, looking back on this incident I wish I had acted differently. I hate how passive I was. In a way, I feel that people like me and the man who got up before me are silently allowing the actions of these perverts to continue. When no one speaks up against public harassment, the harassment will continue. (Of course, there are instances where people don’t feel safe speaking up.)
Now, I strongly believe in publicly shaming these perpetrators and making a fuss. (ie. “Sir, why you are masturbating on the train? Your dick doesn’t belong here, put it away.”)
Oh, and for any of you who happen to be wondering, I was wearing jeans and a tank top. Nothing out of the ordinary for a hot summer day.