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.

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Don’t Stand So Close To Me

Today, I was travelling from Vancouver to the SFU Surrey campus. This incident began at the Waterfront station.

I had just got onto the expo line train to king George at around 1pm, and it just so happened that the car I entered was completely empty. I was carrying a big heavy black bag, as well as a bulky camera bag and a tripod, also in a bag. I was headed towards the end of the car to a two seater (so that I would not be in the way of travellers who would later board). However, just as I was about to put my 3 big bags down, a man who looked to be around 50-60 years old, with a big white beard, big turban on, and dark sunglasses came up almost immediately behind me, and this action just made me highly suspicious as to why he wants to sit in my immediately vicinity in an empty train.

I Immediately turned around and headed to the centre of the train, upon which he asked, “aren’t you going to sit down?” And I pretty much politely said no and say right in the middle of the middle row, making sure I had him in my sights. I then took out my phone and called my boyfriend and told him loudly that I didn’t feel safe, and continued talking to him until the train eventually filled up with other passengers. He and I both remained until I almost reached my destination. I got off early and phoned a friend to meet me and then continued the journey.

Did I overreact?
I found it extremely odd and also uncomfortable when he was about to sit next to me in an empty train. Fyi I am also a pretty petite, Chinese girl. I have simply heard so many stories about girls and women being taken advantage of – molested, groped, etc. and I also had no interest in talking to anyone, being quite tired from having to lug such a heavy load around. Better safe than sorry?

Not Your “Babes” (21/F)

I heard about this site and couldn’t believe how horrifying these encounters have been, and I just thought to myself “I’m so lucky to have not met any of these offenders”.

Until today. My female friend and I were taking transit and got off at the wrong stop, we ended up near Waterfront and were planning to either take the 16 or 14 to head back to Victoria Dr.

My friend and I wore long pants, non-low cut shirts and jackets/cardigans (for anyone wondering if it was because we were wearing anything “suggestive”, but you know, anything can happen in any types of clothes)

So the 5 comes to our stop and a man gets off, making small talk with the bus driver. Nothing too unusual but after his talk (exclaiming how interesting the bus driver’s blue spiky hair was), comes up to me and my friend and says “Hey babes.”

We both ignore him and thank goodness he moves away from us, but not even after a minute, 2 other females were walking past our bus stop and he calls them babes and asking how they are doing. In my head I was thinking is this real? I could see the annoyance on the 2 passing females.

Finally the 16 comes up and it turns out it was the same bus the man would be taking. He comes up to me and my friend and says “I’m going to shoot my load into the two of you so bad”.

After reading this site, I envisioned myself standing up and being “excuse me, your comments make me uncomfortable so get away from me”.

I just freaked out and headed straight to the bus, I heard him say behind me “Come on!” and walked behind me. Luckily I turned around and walked back to my friend who didn’t move (her move is to just ignore) and he got onto the bus and left us. I felt bad for the passengers on the bus because now they have to deal with him.

I have never felt so grossed out in my life. This man was quite heavy with a beer belly, had yellow teeth, balding and a bit of a beard. He appeared to be around his 50’s.

Who Even Knows With These Aggro Bros??

Thanks for starting this project. These stories are horrifying to read, but also so, so important to discuss and acknowledge and validate. I just learned about this blog today, and I’m really glad that I have this venue to air my grievances.

I was on the 19 Metrotown this evening on my way home from work. The bus wasn’t particularly crowded, and I was standing by the back door.  Somewhere along Pender, a red-haired man, slightly stocky, maybe 5’6, got on and immediately yelled at an older woman in the aisle to “Get out of my way! Watch where  you’re going!” So, you know, great first impression. He came to stand next to me, and made another comment about “stupid people getting in the way, idiots, blah blah.” I ignored him. From pretty much right away, I could feel him staring at me from the overly-close proximity that public transit affords, and after a couple minutes, he says, “You know, you look really good today, miss.” Again, I completely ignored him. Dude, I just saw you yell at an old woman, but wait, you think I’m pretty? Watch me swoon.

When a seat in front of the door was vacated, he made a big show of offering it up to me. I took it, and said thanks, and hoped that would be the end of our interaction. But no. He then starts going on about lazy people taking the bus when they could be walking–apparently in reference to a woman who had just rung the bell after riding for what he deemed to be too short of a distance. He got right in her face when she was getting off, calling her lazy, and finally I had hit my tolerance level for him being a jerk to undeserving people. I turned around, told him to shut up, and turned back to face the front of the bus.

He then proceeded to move in close behind me and tell me, “I should slap you in the head with my dick.”

SO NOT OKAY. I froze, not knowing what to do, but then my adrenaline took over and I stood up on autopilot and yelled “THIS MAN IS MAKING COMPLETELY INAPPROPRIATE COMMENTS AND I WOULD LIKE SOMEONE TO GET HIM OFF THE BUS PLEASE.” There was a moment when no one said anything, and then the guy mutters, “I’ll get myself off the bus,” and slinks off at the Main St stop.

I’m bold and sassy and even I freeze up when a man says something like this. It is so unexpected and so degrading and so incredibly uncalled for. Thanks to the ladies who spoke to me after the man saw himself off the bus–in those moments, having strangers reassure me that I’m not crazy for feeling and reacting as I did is a huge comfort. Nothing is worse than having something like that happen, and then everyone just pretends they didn’t notice. Plus, one of them kindly directed me to this blog.

Also, maybe I’m doing something wrong, but I’m having trouble finding a way to email a harassment complaint to Translink / the Transit Police. Like, this is really personal, so I’m not comfortable sending it to Translink’s general complaints people who deal with late buses etc. And I’d rather describe my incident in more detail than texting the Transit Police number would allow, and I don’t particularly want to call the associated number and be forced to say the words “slap you in the head with my dick” and then probably start crying.

Denim the Menace and the Gropey Gus

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!

Surreptitiously Sleazy

I was assaulted on the 99 B-line three years ago on my way home from UBC. There were hardly anyone else on the bus and a man sat down beside me. I pretended to be listening to my music and not notice/care that he had chosen to sit beside me even though he could have sat anywhere else on the practically empty bus. He then started pressing his leg into mine and I tried to move away. He kept inching closer, and then he put his elbow into my chest and used his other hand to grope my breast under his arm (so the other couple people in the back of the bus would not notice. He started breathing heavily and I was petrified. I have been sexually assaulted before so of course this experience was extremely triggering and paralyzing, I couldn’t move or speak, for what seemed like forever but was probably only about 10 minutes. Then I was finally able to get up and march to the other end of the bus, where I sat and glared at him, and texted my friend to come meet me so I wouldn’t be getting off the bus alone.

I ended up submitting a report to the police, but nothing came of it.

Three years later this memory still haunts me, and I recently had an encounter with a man who I thought could be the same guy, I was shaky for the rest of the day, and wished I could have said something to him, or done something, so I wrote this on my blog: http://heidijontheloose.com/2013/12/10/an-open-letter-to-the-man-who-assaulted-me/

“When you see me get defensive, stay away!” (18/F)

I’ve had lot of awful experience in my life (abused and molested) that makes me scared of men nowadays. I’ll share about 4 out of many stories.
First harassment on Translink was when I was 14. After Christmas shopping, I was sitting on the old train with my mom and sister. This old man who appears to be drunk, sat across from me. He kept stare at me for 15 minutes straight. It was beginning to really creeping me out and starting to make me fearful. But awhile later, I took a good look at him and realized he wasn’t looking at me but my chest. I come from a family that have large breasts so it’s hard to cover the entire thing up. I just glared at him and zipped up my jacket all of the way up. That’s when the old man realized I saw him, he got off the next stop.
Second when I was 17, I was heading off to Fright Night with my little step-brother. A man who appears to be drunk and high came to me at Langley Centre. (I was waiting for my step-brother to meet me) He began to talk to me but due to my hearing loss, I couldn’t say go away and I want to understand people first. I’ve deal with lot of drunk people in the past so I took out paper and pen. He began to chat with me normal but he began to ask personal question and flirting. He was getting touchy and close. I kept getting twitchy because of my past. I kept move seat but he still come closer. I was getting uncomfortable. When my little step-brother came, I gave him a sisterly hug. The drunk man noticed and began to ask my step-brother and his friend questions. I’ve never felt so much of rage filling inside me. I wanted to pull my step-brother and his friend away but my step-brother’s friend seem to know what he’s saying because the drunk man finally left us alone after a while. The drunk man grinned at me while standing at the line then ended up vomiting on the bus stop floor while his friends laughs at him. My step-brother was like ‘oh eh, hey at least he stopped talk to you’.
Third story was after Protest the Hero concert in Vancouver, I got on the wrong bus which ended up landing me in Newton, surrey.  I cried in the rain, the drunk man came up to me and began to ask me questions. I wasn’t definitely in mood to be nice so I told him to f*ck off. He grinned then started to flirt, placing his hand on my arm.. I slammed it away. He still refused to give up and he tired to touch my hip to gesture me in the shed which I told him to back off and gave him the stop gesture. I twitched the entire time and was scared. The bus driver definitely noticed and he drove forward to let me in. I got in and couldn’t stop crying til I got to home.
Fourth one was just last week. I got on the bus to heading to work from Braid Station, man sat two seats across from me. As long as men aren’t too close, I’m ok with that. I kept get the funny feeling that somebody was staring at me and I looked around… just to find man beside me was looking up and down at me. He moved slowly at me while still staring. I twitched and felt uncomfortable. I decided that I couldn’t handle this anymore so I moved seats from back to front. He STILL stares at me from the back. I was getting frustrated with it but luckily the next stop was my stop so I got off and told my trainer. He was pissed. I ended up on same bus as man and he sat beside me again but I growled and glared at him. So he actually left after one stop.
I can’t wait to get my full license so I can stop go on the bus. This is getting ridiculous.