Tag Archives: Public Transport


Today on a great day for me, having confirmed a great job and started looking at apartments in a new city, I get a bus back from an apartment viewing. The bus is busy, and most people are standing. I realise a man’s crotch is pressed against the side of my thigh, and rubbing it as the bus moves. Not being sure if this is just his attempt to balance in a very full bus, I angle my waist away, giving him space to move. A few stops go by with me being wary but without too much contact. The bus clears a bit and I move back to lean against a railing. The same man still beside me moves towards me again, his crotch touching, rubbing on, my thigh. Still unsure if this is deliberate, and being in a new country where I don’t know the language well enough to question him, I back off gradually again, also looking for a better place to stand. Eventually I am in a corner (better balance) and the same man is still facing me, his crotch begins rubbing against my thigh and i can hear his breathing increase, as well as feeling his boner against my thigh. He has a hand on the handrails either side of where i am standing. I STILL question myself, and whether I am imagining it. When the rubbing becomes more consistent, I decide I am not imagining things, but being aware of my hesitancy in the language, I merely jab him with my hip, forcing him away and showing my displeasure. He stops and descends two stops later. I feel guilty for not having called him out, and am sadly sure he will do this again.


A few days ago, I was on public transport and an old man sat right beside me and stared at me. He then progressed onto telling me that he lives local and that he has just recently come back from Kenya.. he then began to ask me where I live and if I was born in India. He was then continuously gazing at me when I replied with ‘no I was born here.’ This led onto him taking it upon himself to take his hand and try and stroke my arm, I instantly flinched and said for him to not touch me. He then tried to do it again and I said firmly ‘do not touch me.’ This disgusting man kept trying to stroke my arms and then I persistently told him to stop. I then got up to get off the bus as, it was my stop and then he didn’t move his legs so, to get off the bus I had to brush my legs past his which made me cringe because he didn’t move. He then gave me the most perverted smile when I got off the bus.


Getting on a train on at 8am on a Sunday morning to go to work, a man 20 years my senior follows me to my chosen seat to tell me how “Beautiful” I am and to ask me for my number. He was drinking from a concealed bottle of wine the entire time. He seemed like a pleasant enough person in the end and he did accept my refusal to give him my number graciously (Although I did use the line “I don’t think my boyfriend would like that”, as though I need anyone’s permission to give out my own number) but I could have done without the whole experience. I spent 20 anxious minutes wondering if it was going to escalate into something hostile when I refused to give my number. Also, he mentioned about how he believes that men should “respect women always; we come from them after all! I can’t imagine the pain of bringing a child into the world”. Fair enough right? Seems like a decent fellow. Until I nonchalantly reply something like “Yeah, I’ve been through it. It’s incredibly painfu-…”. He shushed me immediately. He looked embarrassed, as though my commenting on how painful childbirth is was somehow akin to me giving a graphic description of my vagina during the event to a strange man, while surrounded by more strangers. He shushed me like you would a child and said there was no need to tell him, only to agree with him. Jesus fucking Christ that women still have to put up with such silly bullshit!


I was 19 and riding the New York City subway. I changed trains and realized that one man who had been sitting across from me on the last train was in the same car as me again. I thought it must be a coincidence, but as we got closer to the end of the line and the train emptied out, he stayed. When I got off so did he, when I turned a corner so did he, when I ducked into a store he waited. I was on my way to Fort Hamilton to talk to an army recruiter and knew I would be in there a while so hurried there and thought he’d be gone when I came out. An hour later, he was waiting by the gate. I’m usually a very confident person, but by this point I was scared. I told the guards at the gate what was happening and asked if I could talk with them until he left. They agreed and started telling me war stories. The man who had followed me appeared middle eastern and they made several comments about Arab men not knowing how to treat women like American men do, all while looking almost exclusively at my breasts as they talked. Finally, he left and I made my way back to the subway station. I pulled out my multi-tool with one of those one inch long knives and held it hidden in my bag while I walked. When I got to the station, I waited by the stairs until I heard a train arrive and leave again. This was the end of the line, so there was only one train line and one direction – if he was on the platform that would have been the one he needed to catch. When I got down the stairs he was still there. He didn’t see me so I ducked behind the staircase and waited there, knife in hand. When the train arrived I ran on and watched the doors until we left the station. I looked over my shoulder the whole way home and spent the rest of my time in NYC worried he might find me. I had no idea when he’d started following me or how much he knew about me. Until watching Laura Bates’ TED talk, it never occurred to me that that was something I could have (or should have) reported. It clearly never occurred to the guards at the army base either. I thought “he never did anything”, “he never touched me”, so it wasn’t a big deal. But the next day I bought a real knife and haven’t left home without it since.

Mattie Oister

After sharing a few drinks with some girlfriends at a downtown restaurant, I hopped on a bus home. An older guy (probably in his 50’s) got on a few stops after mine, and sat down beside me on the bus. Since I am a large woman, I was rather surprised by this, as the bus was fairly empty; there were only 3 or 4 other people riding at the time. I turned to ask him if he was sitting alright, and then turned back to looking out the window. Over the course of the next 3 stops, his body started pressing towards me, and his hand comes to rest on the outside of my thigh. I may have had a few drinks, but I am by no means drunk and am very aware of what this guy is probably trying to do and where his hand is. A few more stops go by, and his hand starts to slowly stroke my leg, moving closer to my inner thigh. Without turning from the window (which is reflecting his torso, legs, and hand), I grabbed the offending hand, shoved it onto his own lap with a death grip, holding it there long enough to get the message, and let it go. The man immediately froze in place, and then ran off the bus at the next stop. I’ve never had anything like this happen before; it’s a strange feeling having someone try to take advantage of a woman they thought was vulnerable. I am proud of myself for taking action and not letting his behaviour continue, but I have all these strange feelings that’s hard to sort through… like anger. What gives him the right to act like I’m his plaything? I did nor said anything that could have been remotely thought of as an invitation. …like confusion? Did I really feel his hand on my leg? It’s not like you see on TV or the movies… all obvious and easily over the line. Did I misunderstand what was going on? …like guilt. Should I have gone all vigilante on him, causing a scene on the bus? What if he just gets on another bus and tries it again on someone else? Have I just made someone else’s night worse? Is this man experimenting with techniques and mannerisms only to escalate to something more in time? By the time I got home, I was so out of sorts, I ended up cleaning my house and pacing. Only now, hours later, am I able to sit and begin to sift through the incident and emotions. I’m not sure why I’m so completely worked up about this, but I do know that no matter the headspace I arrive at, the memory of this night is something I won’t easily ever forget.

Sophie Hyde

On #InternationalWomensDay this week (so perhaps I was more attuned than usual) I flew with British Airways from London City to Zurich and was struck by the “everyday sexism” of the cabin crew: every time they spoke to the male passenger next to me they called him “sir”, whereas I received no salutation. It was very obvious: “Would you like breakfast, Sir?.. And would you like breakfast?” “Coffee for you, Sir?… And for you?” We were both dressed in business suits and of a similar age – the main difference between us was gender. I admit this is not the greatest issue facing women today, but it does display an underlying mindset that troubles me. I posted the incident on BA’s Facebook page yesterday, but have yet to receive a response.


I was just reading an article about how often women are masturbated at in public by men. It has happened to me several times in my life. I had no idea it was so prevalent. – c.1987 I was in 7th grade. I was doing my paper route in my neighborhood after school. A man driving down the street slowed down next to me and raised himself out of his seat and showed me his penis and that he was masturbating. He lingered for a bit while I, confused and scared, went about my route pretending nothing had happened. I told my parents when I got home and they called the police. The officer came to our house and asked for details. It was awful. In front of my parents, he asked me to describe the man and what he was doing. At one point, he asked if the man was erect. My parents had to help me understand what he was asking. I still remember that day. – c.2007 I did graduate work in Hungary. I was on a crowded street car in the middle of the day with some friends. Some man started rubbing his privates against me. I’m embarrassed to say I didn’t know what was happening. Everyone was packed in the train and I wasn’t making eye-contact with him as he was, obviously, awkwardly close. I didn’t realize until the train started to clear out and he was still next to me. I was ashamed and felt that I let him do that. I didn’t discuss it with my friends who were with me. I guess I assume they didn’t see what was going on. – c.2014 I was driving on the highway past Jacksonville, FL about 7am at the beginning of a long trip. The highway was empty except for me and a car that pulled up next to me and raised up in his seat to show me that he wasn’t wearing pants. He made suggestive faces at me and waved his penis at me, then kept driving. I was rattled. Seriously, who are these men? Thank you for this forum. I’ve never told those stories before.


When I was 13, I was on the subway heading to my volleyball game. I had an empty seat next to me and man, probably in his early thirties sat next to me. He then began to ask me questions like, “What is your name?” “Where do you go to school” “Where do you live?” For all my answers I lied because I knew something was off. He then began touching my leg and I immediately was very uncomfortable. The train was not crowded, people saw and did not do anything. I called my mom and ran off the train,constantly looking behind me to make sure the man did not get off with me and follow. It was my first experience with normalized assault.


When my best friend was twelve, she would always ride a train home from school. One day, a drunk man started staring at her. She moved compartments because she felt uncomfortable. The man followed her to compartments. She had to hide in the back of a booth in order to make him stop.


I cycle and cycle quite a lot. To and from work, which is a school, and at weekends. I used to run but I became quickly self conscious. I used to keep tabs on the type of comments men would make, and how often. They are pretty much always directed at my appearance when I am exercising in public. I can’t be bothered any more. I am not thin, and I do not have an athletic body, I am reasonably fit and happy with that. I really enjoy cycling. However, I get shouted at, abused and heckled in the most cowardly way when I exercise in public. Men shout and make comments and then drive off. Some audible and some not. ALL THE TIME. They laugh, and they generally comment on my appearance. These are some of the comments I have had: move your fat arse you fat bitch, show us your thong, show us your bra, give it up, give me your number. They try and get me to stop, they laugh, they try and get my attention, they patronise, call me brave, and check my lights are working (!!), ask me to smile more, ask me why I am not smiling (classic I know), make comments about my legs, about my helmet, about the position I am riding in, they question all aspects of me as a female cyclist who does not look like an athletic person riding a bike. But I won’t stop cycling. I won’t stop.