Terrible Tag-Team

I just got called a “fucking bitch” because I didn’t engage a guy in conversation as he was following me trying to say hello. Then when I told him that that was rude and unnecessary and I just don’t want to have a conversation, he blew up in my face and started yelling at me and calling me names. Then I got on the bus and he did too and he and the bus driver started talking about how rude I was and what a bitch I was and how much of a nice guy that guy is. So I got off the bus and am so pissed off.

Wrecked Proposition

Thank you for creating this project!

A few years ago, when I was 19, I was a student at UBC and lived on campus. I was leaving my boyfriend’s residence and heading home to my own place across campus. It was dark, wet and I have never felt particularly safe walking on campus so I took a small shuttle bus (C22) to get home. While on the bus a young man, about my age, asked me for directions to Wreck Beach. This seemed a bit odd, given that it was winter, but I gave him the directions. The stop I told him to get off at is one stop past where I planned to get off the bus. I could feel his eyes on me so after I got off the bus I looked behind me. I saw nothing and I thought he was still on the bus. Then a minute later, as I am walking alone, this same guy popped out of the bushes just ahead of me and asked me if I was single. To this day I have no idea how he managed to run ahead without me hearing! I told him no, and I wasn’t interested. He kept persisting and asking for my phone number. I looked around and there was no one nearby to witness this or help me if he attacked. Finally he left, after saying I was being “mean”. I was scared to go home because I didn’t want him to see which building I lived in.
I took this bus to avoid feeling unsafe walking alone at night, and instead, I felt unsafe on transit. Let this be a warning to all the women at UBC given the recent assaults – Transit isn’t safe either.

Double Double Recoil and Rebuttal (F/25)

This happened to me when I was 19, I was on the 41 bus coming home from UBC. At around Fraser street an older man (probably in his 50s) got on the bus. At this point I was with two friends (one male and one female). The man was standing near where we were sitting and I could tell was leering at my chest. I told my male friend and he stared at the man until they made eye contact and that made the man back off. He walked towards the back of bus and I felt better. My friends got off at Victoria and I stayed on the bus. Once they left the bus, the man came back and sat next to me. He was extremely close to me and I could smell his very potent BO. He put one hand down his pants and the other between his leg and mine and started caressing my leg. I was disgusted, I stayed silent for about 30 seconds hoping he would stop. When he didn’t, I started shuffling away from him but he kept edging closer. Until I couldn’t get away from him, so I stood up and told him to stop caressing my leg because he’s disgusting and that he needed to take a shower and buy some deodorant. I got off at the next stop even though it wasn’t my stop.

I saw him again a couple weeks later and he had cornered another girl in a two seater. I could tell by her body language he was doing the same thing to her. I should have intervened… But thankfully he got off soon after.

My second story happened a couple months after that. I use to be a server at earls, and after work one day I took the sky train to meet some friends for the fireworks. The earls “uniform” is always a short skirt and I didn’t have time to change. I waited for the train at metrotown and I guess caught the eye of a transit security guard. He said hi to me on the platform, which wasn’t suspicious because I frequently see transit employees greet people. I said hi back, and actually felt kind of relieved that he was there on a pretty deserted platform. He asked me where I was going and I told him to main street where my friends would be picking me up. He told me that main st station is pretty unsafe at night and he will accompany me there. I thanked him and said it’s okay because my friends including my ex bf are going to be there before I will and said they will meet me on the platform. He insisted that I shouldn’t ride alone and got on the train with me. He was probably in his early to mid thirties and was nice enough not to raise any red flags. He asked me my name and I gave him a fake one. He asked me where I went to school and I said UBC to which he replied: “wow, pretty and smart”. I thanked him, and he asked me if I liked working at earls. That creeped me out because I didn’t tell him I worked at earls. I stayed quiet and he scrambled to explain he likes earls and my clothing looked like something earls girls wore. I gave a vague chuckle and didn’t confirm that’s where I worked. Then he told me that if I told him where and when I worked he would come eat there and leave me a nice tip. I told him that’s not necessary. At this point I had tried to stop the conversation by putting my earbuds on but it wasn’t working. He just kept talking and asking me invasive questions like why I was hanging out with my ex, do I have a lot of exbfs, why we broke up etc. He finally asked me for my phone number. He was really polite and nice through out the whole exchange but I was creeped out. I firmly told him no, that I’m not interested and thanked him for accompanying me but what he was doing was highly inappropriate. He became flustered and tried to tell me I was flattering myself if I thought he was interested in me. Luckily for me, we had gotten to main street and I quickly ran off without him following me.

Gave Up On Transit Altogether

Thank you so much for launching this project. This summer I decided stop taking transit altogether and bike or car2go instead. I’m really lucky to have the resources and ability make that decision and have felt a lot safer since; I wish transit was safer so that I didn’t have to make that decision in the first place. Besides the creepy leering, unwanted touching, and unwanted comments, I had two notable and really terrifying experiences:

1. Four years ago I was waiting at Seymour and Davie for the #10 to Hastings – there were about five or six other people waiting. A huge intoxicated man was sitting on the curb across the street and for no reason, he decided I was his target. For about ten to fifteen minutes, he yelled and muttered racist and misogynist things at me (“Chink bitch cunt! Go home!” was one of his favourites). When the bus came, everyone got on and suddenly the man ran across the street, right up to the window where I was sitting and starting pounding on the window and screaming that he was going to get on the bus, fight me, and kill me. No one on the bus said anything, the driver didn’t do anything, and the man tried to pry the back doors open to get on the bus while I cowered into my seat and just stared in disbelief. The man was too high or drunk to get his fingers fully through the flap so he couldn’t get it open, and eventually the bus pulled away and left him jogging alongside and punching the side of the bus for a few feet. I was scared enough that I called the VPD non-emergency line right away to report the man (the VPD sent a car around while I was on the phone with the operator, but the man had already left the area and they didn’t find him) – and after I hung up, a passenger next to me said, “Oh, so you didn’t know that guy?”

2. This July, I was on the Skytrain from Commercial to New West in a mostly empty (older model) car when another huge and very drunk man got on and sat in front of me (even though there were free seats everywhere and I was sitting in a back corner row) and immediately turned around, glared right in my face and yelled at top volume at me. I had my headphones in and stared steadfastly down at my phone while he shouted, “EXCUSE ME! I KNOW I SHOULDN’T BOTHER A PRETTY GIRL BUT HEY! PRETTY GIRL, YOU SHOULD LOOK AT PEOPLE WHEN THEY’RE TALKING TO YOU! I’M JUST TRYING TO TELL YOU THAT YOU LOOK BEAUTIFUL, EXCUSE ME! YOU’RE BEING VERY RUDE TO SOMEONE WHO JUST WANTS TO PAY YOU A COMPLIMENT! LOOK AT PEOPLE WHEN THEY TALK TO YOU, GODDAMNIT!”
I didn’t want to move because it was pretty clear that anything I did would engage him, so I couldn’t press the alarm strip or move cars, and the two other passengers were little old ladies who got off the train right away. He finally gave up and got off at Joyce – and then two Transit Police got on at the very next stop to check fares. This time I didn’t even bother telling them about the man because every other time I’ve complained about something similar, Transit Police say, “Well, he’s gone now.”

What Did I Do? (F/21)

Several months ago while taking a SkyTrain from Granville (towards Commercial), I was sitting on a semi-full cart listening to my iPod. Despite looking off into the distance and with headphones in my ears, I could hear someone near me talking, and it wasn’t until I looked at them that I realized they were talking to me. The person was a white male, who didn’t look much older than me, and was standing to my left (I was sitting). When I took out my headphones, I was confused and asked him what he said. I guess he’d asked me a couple times (which I had no idea of), because he sternly huffed and asked me, “Is that seat open?” and he pointed to the free seat beside me.

Seeing as we were now 2 stops into this transit ride, it should have been obvious the three empty seats beside me were all vacant. I shrugged my shoulders and said “Go ahead.” The male then threw his arms up in the air, moved directly in front of me and snapped saying, “I’m just trying to be polite!” before sitting one seat over from me. He glared at me even while I moved around a cart, and I hurriedly left at our next stop.

I felt threatened and I felt uncomfortable. I had no way of realizing I’d done something wrong–not that I had. It was this man’s intent to make me feel like I’d been the cause of anything he could have done after that. And of course, no one sitting around us bothered to intervene or even react.

Underaged and Outraged (f/16)

A few years back, maybe three or four, I was taking a bus in Lynn Valley with a group of friends. We were on our way to a friend’s house for a party. Myself and a friend were sitting side by side, while another friend (who was 16 at the time) was across from us.

As soon as we got on the bus a very drunk man maybe in his late 20s began harassing my 16 year old friend. He was sitting behind her and kept trying to interrupt our conversation to tell her how beautiful she was and asking where she was going, where she lived etc. After being told a few times to back off, it was finally his stop. He stood up to leave, but instead of exiting, he leaned over and began to grab at my friends thighs, trying to “tickle” her. Thank goodness he was so drunk and it was easy to grab his collar and somewhat forcefully direct him to the door.

It was lucky that she had friends on the bus but I shudder to think how far it could have gone if she hadn’t. Especially since the bus driver didn’t even seem to notice.

Transit Baggage

I frequently take the bus out to the Horseshoe Bay Ferry Terminal; that bus is constantly very busy  on weekends when folks like me are trying to get to Vancouver Island.

One Friday I was on one of these buses, standing at the back. I was chatting to a lady who I had met at the bus stop who was sitting down. I never really mind standing on buses because I am fit and capable of doing so, especially when there are others with baggage that find it more difficult. A group of young guys (who had decided it was appropriate to open some Caribous on the bus), took notice of me, and started making really inappropriate comments.

One guy offered me a seat on his lap, another commenting on what nice legs I have, another asking if I ‘wanted to join their party’. I responded by asking for them to please leave me alone, not being able to move away from them because the bus was too busy. They then started making comments on how I was a bitch, they were just trying to be nice, and that they were just complementing me. They didn’t stop the comments.

For the whole bus ride, they kept making comments about me, and no one on the bus saw fit to back me up when I tried standing up for myself. I have faith in humanity, but in that moment I was pretty disappointed in everyone.