Well, Aren’t You Creepy!

I had an unfortunate experience on transit today – I was getting on a crowded bus, and while standing at the front an older man turned, leered at me and said “well aren’t you pretty!”. I didn’t say anything, just smiled politely, signalling that I heard the “compliment” but didn’t want to engage further (was on the way to an audition). He continued, “How did you get to be so pretty?”. I said nothing and tried to walk past him. That’s when he stopped me and said “Why don’t you give me a hug?”. I very clearly replied “No”, and then tried to walk past him again. He then blocked my way past, moved closer to me and said “Cmon, just give me one hug.”
Without thinking, in a LOUD, clear voice so all my fellow passengers could hear, I said “Stop it! You are being innapropriate. Back off!” And like a dog who had been scolded he immediately shrunk and backed out of my way. I walked to the back of the bus as far away from him as I could get. He stood the rest of the bus ride staring forward and did not look at me again.
It felt SO GOOD!
Usually when dealing with transit or street harassment I just ignore it – but today I stood up for myself and in a moment I went from feeling very powerless in the situation, to having all the power. I highly recommend it.
wishing you all,
LOVE AND PEACE AND BETTER BUS RIDES.

Figure of (Gross) Speech

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.

Yet Another Uniform Ogler (f/under 18)

This dates back to 15-16 years ago. I attended a Catholic high school that still had a dress code that included uniforms. The attire consisted of a chaste navy blue skirt and a white blouse, but apparently that was still enough to instill creepy thoughts in some. Me and three of my classmates would take a public bus home and for about two months in our sophomore year, a middle-aged man (he must have been around 40-45 years old) would periodically join us at the bus stop, only he would never actually get on the bus. He would just leer at us with a lewd expression on his face and – I only realized this later – speak obscene language at us in Spanish.

This lasted until the four of us got so creeped out that we informed the school and we were briefly accompanied by a member of staff who eventually told the man to cease and desist, which he thankfully did.

Felonious Feline Imagery (23/F)

Last Saturday i was at the Royal Oak Sky Train Station at around 6:20pm  when this a man (around late 20’s early 30s) started staring at me uncomfortably and walking towards me. He was very short (around 5’3), Caucasian, had short blonde hair and he started saying things to me like “hello sexy kitty,” “aren’t you a sexy kitty,”  “meow,” and trying to walk behind me. I was very freaked out because I thought he might look up my skirt or grope me. As I was validating my ticket, he continually harassed me and started saying things like “I bet you’re a beautiful pussy” and other things along those lines. As I was walking up the stairs I noticed that he was touching and rubbing his crotch and he kept trying to come back and talk to me.  I noticed that he was going the same direction as me so I didn’t want to be on the same sky train as him so I walked to the other side, purposely walking far away from him so he wouldn’t follow me. The asshole still doesnt back off and  he walks to where I was at and starts harassing me again. I told him he should stop as he is making me feel very uncomfortable. At this point he was still rubbing his crouch very fervently.  Then the train pulls in to go East bound, he says to me, “ I really wish I can fuck you. You are so sexy, “ and “Asian persuasion.”

I felt soo disgusted, but the next time this ever happens to me, i am going to stand up for myself and tell him to fuck off and don’t harass women anymore. I feel that men like him harass women because he thinks that we are too timid and we are easy preys. The next time someone ever does that around me, I am going to say to him ” do you enjoy harassing women cuz your a scumbag and you should fuck off.”

Snippets (f/no age given)

When I was a teenager at the bus stop by myself, a man pulled up in his car and started masturbating in front of me, when he was me on the phone, he sped off.
Less than a year ago I sat on a bus only to have a man sitting near me reach over and start touching my leg. I was afraid of him so the bus driver let me stay on the bus so that I could wait for a cab.
At the Newton Exchange bus stop as a teenager a bunch of men got off the bus, one of them walked towards me, pulled his dick out and started peeing in my direction.
Another time as a teenager, I was approaching the exit door only to have a man walk up behind me and whisper in my ear that I was “very pretty.” It scared the hell out of me and luckily I saw a guy friend when I got off the bus.

Myriad Monstrosities (f/24)

~It was Christmas and I was on the train from Surrey Central to Metrotown for my second Christmas. I was staring out the window when an older, Sikh gentleman walked over to me. He rubbed his crotch on my shoulder and then asked where I was going alone. I ignored him and then he yelled at me to look at him. I did and then he asked if I was looking for some holiday spirit while gyrating. I got off the train at Metrotown and called my sister to come meet me. I was on the platform alone so I started to walk to the exit when I noticed the guy got off the train and was following. Everytime I turned around to spot him, he was closer but stopped walking. I waited on the platform in front of a camera until my sister showed up. I didn’t want to leave the area alone.

~ I was walking along Granville and a large, Native guy around 40 years old followed me from Granville station to Broadway where I switched trains at Commercial. Thinking I was being paranoid, I ignored the fact when I got on the train at Commercial. He then came up to me and commented on my ass. I ignored him. I got off at the next stop and switched cars but as the doors were closing, he got into the same car as me. I stayed there and he kept glancing over at me until I got to Lougheed. I had texted my boyfriend to make sure he would be waiting for me. When I got off the train, so did the guy. I quickly walked towards the bus loop exit, hoping to see a transit supervisor or cop but there was none. Once I got to the bottom of the stairs, I walked quickly to my boyfriends car. It was only once I was inside it, did the guy turn around and walk back to the train.

~I was on the bus once and a white drunk man with red hair around 40/45 years old tried to read my texts and then start up a conversation with me even though I had my head phones in. I took them out so I could hear what he was saying to which his pick up line was “I’m the texting champion of North America.” I just said that, that was nice (trying to amuse him). He then asked for my name and number. I refused so he started calling me a dumb bitch. When I had to get up since it was my stop, he wouldn’t move so I had to push past him.

~I was standing on the platform at Commerical when four tall, skinny, white guys around 20/25 years old stood around me. They started commenting on how hot I was and what they wanted to do to me. I ignored them, thinking they would leave. They then started shouting about how they would get my knocked up and how much of a slut I probably was. I continued to ignore them even though I was getting weird looks from other commuters. Once we were on the train, the guys sat further back but about ten minutes into the ride, two of them sat beside me and started talking about how they will make me talk. Then they spotted two other “hot chicks” and let me alone for the rest of the ride.

~It was rush hour and I was on the platform at Broadway trying to catch the train downtown. I didn’t make it onto the train and didn’t want to continue standing on the yellow line so I pushed back against the crowd. That’s when a guy said “oh baby, you know how I like it!” I started to turn around and he grabbed my shoulders to stop me. I yelled “get off” and the people to my right moved so I could walk away. I didn’t turn around to get a description of the guy, I just wanted away.

~I have red hair so that draws attention sometimes. I was on the train and these three chicks started screaming at me about how “Gingers are ugly” and how I should “go die”. They then started commenting about how no one would ever “have sex with that” and that they would be watching me so if I reproduced they would “kill it since nothing should be born from a Ginger”. They then started making sexual gestures to “show me things that you will never have”. I switched cars and they didn’t follow.

Followers: Good on Twitter, TERRIFYING IRL. (f/32)

I grew up in a small town with no transit so when I moved to Vancouver to attend university I had to quickly develop strategies to deal with sexual and gender based harassment on transit (and in public, in bars, in classrooms, in malls, in restaurants, etc etc).

I have more instances of being harassed than I can remember but here are a few that stick out in my mind:

I have been followed several times off of transit vehicles. I was once followed by a man who knew I worked on the DTES and worked at a local convenience store where I would frequently stop on my lunch break or after work. He would proposition me at the store (I would always say no) and spotted me waiting for my bus one afternoon. He got on the bus with me, propositioned me on the bus, followed me the very long trip to where I lived, followed me off the bus, followed me into grocery store near where I lived, and I finally lost him by running and ducking into an alley through a crowd.

On the same bus route, I was followed by a young man when I was arriving home late at night. I had smiled at him as I was exiting the bus and he took this as an invitation to follow me on a darkened street to my home.

One of the scariest incidences was in the last few years. I now live on a very busy, well-lit, main street that is busy all night. I only live a half block from the bus stop and it was about 10 pm at night. I had my headphones in not even thinking about it because it’s such a short distance from the stop to my front door on a well-lit busy street. I suddenly got a cold chill up my spine and suddenly realized that a man had followed me off the bus and was only a step or two behind me and was preparing to grab me. He saw me noticing him and pretended to look in a closed shop window which gave me time to run to my building door and get inside. He then lingered outside my building door staring at me. If I hadn’t noticed him and if there had not been someone walking ahead of us who would have heard me scream, I firmly believe he would have grabbed me and done god knows what. I now always look behind me when I get off the bus and when I’m walking in the dark.

I have had my ass and breasts grabbed on public transit, had nasty sexually harassing comments said to me about the way I dress, been propositioned more times than I can count, had men rub against me, been threatened, and seen some scary stuff happen to other women as well.  These needs to stop. It really does.