Tag Archives: Public Transport

Margot Hauser

I’m 18, I live in Paris. I knew harrasments and sexual assaults. I was goins to take the subway on a morning, while a group of men was cleaning the street. One of them turn round and looked at me, smiled at me. I was listening to my music but I heard him saying me something like “How are you ?”. He smiled at me very kindly, maybe a little bit too much, but at the moment, I smiled at him. But a few second after, I remarked : “Would have he said that to a boy ?”. Well, the answer was no. I’m in a fashion school and last weekend I had to buy some supplies. I had to buy one meter of ribbon. When I asked to the seller to cut me one meter, he smiled at me and said : “But we don’t sell only one meter to a young and beautiful girl like you”. As he saw me blushed, he asked me if I was embarassed and I couldn’t say yes so I smiled. Then, he asked me questions about my school, and when I was answering I was looking at him straight into the eyes but the seller was looking at my face, my neck, my boobs. It felt like he was undressing me. I just wanted to take my supplies and run away.

C

I am a teenage girl. One day, I was riding my bike and a man in his 50s wolf-whistled at me from the other side of the street, which felt so degrading. I believe that we should work together to stop this kind of behavior.

Kristen Reed

It had been puzzling to me why I felt a bit depressed this past week. My anger was just below the surface waiting to burst out of the water at the slightest irritation, and I couldn’t sort out why. To my husband I had to blame hormones (which, at my age is definitely part of the cocktail) but there has been something more…an oppressive cloud I refused to acknowledge. The root of my anger comes from years of being traumatized by men in one form or another. I’m too sensitive they say, or too emotional, but after nearly 40 years of self-suppression, it rips holes in one’s skin where steaming geysers form in every direction. Let go of your anger they say. Love is the answer they say… That’s all well and good, but once you let down the barrier of anger what remains is the overwhelming sadness that at every turn nothing has changed. Sure, Harvey Weinstein is getting a public lashing. But he is only one man. One guilty party in the sea of acceptable misogyny, that women all over the world are forced to tolerate with a smile, every single day. It isn’t just Hollywood, or the performing arts in general. Corporate culture, and even our own governments (who think it’s not only their right but their responsibility to control how we take care of our bodies) constantly exacerbate the problem. The urge to vomit out the onerous sorrow impresses upon me from every angle. All I want is one moment’s peace, an exhalation, sanctuary from being constantly on guard. Don’t you think I want to let it down, be free, laugh and smile, dance about when it pleases me? I do it anyway, so much, all the time, but it comes with advances, stares, leers, and uninvited guests. What are we supposed to do? It can seem easier to oversexualize ourselves, where we have the power and control, but the opposite effect arises…bringing the unwanted closer and in turn they feel granted with permission. I feel everything and nothing about this display of public outrage. The rest of these men are wiping their brow, for now, as we slaughter the sacrificial lamb (or wolf) center stage. But this too shall pass, and the lurking shadows will come to life once more, behaving as they have always done. Passing whispers in our ears, indignation if we reject remarks on our beauty, manly chortles when we assert boundaries, or god forbid intelligent ideas. And those are only the mild degradations. I am tired of being angry, sad, and frustrated. All I want to do is lay down my weapons in this fight. But how can I?

Bus rides

I sat next to a man on the bus who was taking up almost all of my legroom with his excessive manspreading. He wasn’t tall or large. He didn’t have bags. He didn’t need the legroom. He was just inconsiderate. I wasn’t having it. I sat with my feet flat on the floor in the centre of my seat, as opposed to squeezing into one side. This meant my calf was against his, but too bad. He was staring out of the window for some time. I’m not sure if he was just daydreaming or trying to ignore me, but eventually he came to, realised my leg was against his, and moved his leg hastily back into his own legroom. He looked at me, visibly shaken. Shocking, isn’t it, that a woman should want to sit comfortably on a bus.

Grace

Off the back of #MeToo I’ve been remembering stuff that happened to me, some of which I’ve pushed to the back of my mind for a while. 1. I couldn’t have been more than 13. We were lining up to hand in our work at the end of IT and the boy behind me slapped my bum. The teacher didn’t spot anything and he gave a blank look when I looked round and glared at him. I think he was trying to get a reaction, as I had a bit of a hair-trigger back then. 2. 18, working in the bar at our local football club. I was filling up the fridge and got the usual ‘I like to see a girl on her knees’ comment. 3. School, around 2010. Our music teacher asked for some of the boys to help move the speakers from the school field into the hall, as the school concert that night had to be moved due to the weather. It wasn’t until he saw me looking that he revoked his comment and changed it to ‘some volunteers’. 4. After work, 2016. I was going through the ticket barriers at Warren Street tube station in London during the usual commuter crush. As I went through I felt a hand on my bum through my skirt. The man I am sure it was made no eye contact and just walked past me. I stood sideways on the escalator so as not to present the same target twice and didn’t wear that skirt to work for two months. 5. Around 2015. I was out running, training for a half marathon. A boy went past me on a moped, honk his horn, and made a rude gesture. This was made somewhat better by the fact that he nearly crashed into a signpost on the pavement as he took both hands off the steering to make said gesture.

Traveler

A few months ago, I got on the bus and took my seat. My seat was significantly reclined. I was in the process of settling myself into my chair when the man behind me pressed the button under my arm rest and moved my chair forward. This man did not even have the decency to ask me to recline my chair forward. He decided to pretend like I didn’t exist. I wonder if I was a man, would he disregard me like he did.