I have had the misfortune of being targeted more than once on public transit. The first time, I was 21 years old sitting in a single seat on my way back from work with my arms full of packages and staring out the window. I didn’t notice the person sitting in the single seat behind me until I saw is hairy hand groping my left breast. I yelled and the bus stopped and the man got up and let the bus. I was so upset that I couldn’t speak coherently to say what the matter was. A woman consoled me and encouraged me to talk to the driver, which I did. He gave me the number of the complaints department.
On the way back from UBC in the summer time, a man got on the bus and sat opposite me at the rear of the bus. He pulled up the leg of his denim shorts, which he had altered for easier access, and began to masturbate. I moved to the front of the bus and went to the driver. Again, the bus was stopped and the man got away.
I have also been rubbed up against on more than 1 occasion.
I am now 42 years old. I live near VGH and work downtown. I never take transit to work. I work evenings and dread coming home late on public transit. I would rather walk or drive than be sexually harassed again. I should say, that my history prior to these incidents is one of severe sexual abuse and I felt that I was targeted because I was sending out some kind of a signal to these offenders. I have had many years of counselling and am at a good place in my life with this but I still avoid transit specifically. My heightened instincts for “bad people” is on high alert when I take the bus or skytrain. I can see them better than they can see me now and they are everywhere.
Thank you so much for doing this work. It is LONG overdue!