Life on Vancouver Buses (21/f)

It’s great what you two are doing here. I don’t think people realize what happens to women on a daily basis when taking public transit in Vancouver. And then you wonder why some countries have women only seating…
I am a 21 year old female and here are 2 events out of many.  

Man in his mid 20’s.

This summer I was waiting for the 20 on Hastings and Carrall going to Commercial and this guy saw me walk up towards him as he waited for the bus. He asked me how my day was going, and I simply said that I would like to be left alone as it wasn’t going so well. He continued to say I was beautiful and I said thank you, thinking maybe that’s all he had to say. I boarded the bus and he came on as well. As I was walking on the bus another guy in his 40’s signaled with his hands that I should come sit on his lap. He laughed and his friend did as well. I just ignored them. I thought the other guy would have left me alone by now but he didn’t. He sat beside me and grabbed my arm which is when I flipped out. I yelled “don’t touch me, I already told you that I don’t want to talk to you.” As I walked up for my 3rd seat change he’s like “why you gotta be like that.” I sat somewhere else and you could tell he was embarrassed but continue to leer. The 20 was full and people saw him grabbing me and no one did a thing.

Woman in her 30’s.

I was taking the 5 up Robson from Denman street in early September. I am sitting in the seniors section because there were seats available and like always if a senior or pregnant woman got on I would get up for them. This lady who looks quite disheveled gets on with a man. I have my headphones in and I am looking at my phone. I look up and she signals with her hand for me to get up. I look at her, knowing what she wants but if she doesn’t ask for it she’s not going to get it. Then she’s says “I want to sit.” I say “well can you say please?” She says please and I get up. I thought that was going to be the end of it. I am looking out the window and my back is towards her. She starts yelling and starts saying what a slut someone is. I turn around to see what the fuss is about. I see her looking at me and saying “you’re such a slut, you’re such fucking slut” and some other derogatory words. I say “you have no right to call me a slut.” She keeps going off on a tangent and continues yelling. I yell “you need to fucking shut up,” “you have no right to call me these things,” “how would you like it if I called you a fucking slut, you idiot?” Profanity is usually unneeded but in this case for about 5 minutes straight she wouldn’t stop badgering me. When I said these things in a stern, loud tone she became quiet. As she was about to leave she started back up again, where I yelled again. And again, the bus was full and people heard and saw what was happening.The bus driver simply said to us “be quiet over there, there are kids on the bus” not realizing, nor caring what was going on.

Other instances that sadly happen frequently…

Men: signalling with their hands that I should call them, not staring but leering at me for the entire ride and looking at my breasts like it’s the first time seeing bigger ones, making catcalls about my appearance, looking at me up and down like they’re trying to rip my clothing off with me with their eyes, falling asleep on my shoulder, sitting next to me when the whole train/bus is empty, thinking that because I am wearing a skirt it’s an invitation to look up it, grazing themselves onto my side and especially my back and the typical thigh-to-thigh touching when sitting on a bus/train as if it’s unintentional.


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