Tag Archives: Public Transport


On the bus with my 3-month old boy on my knee, I was sitting across from three women about my age. They kept looking at my son and smiling as if they were thinking ‘what a beautiful baby’ then they would look at me and scowl as if to say ‘what’s that man doing with a baby?’. It was funny to watch their faces: look at the baby, smile, look at me, scowl, look at the baby, smile…. They couldn’t seem to help themselves.


A man at the train station (at 7:15 in the morning, on a weekday!) stopped me to ask for help. After a confused conversation about needing a bathroom, or maybe a clinic, he finally spelled out that he wanted to have sex with me in the bathroom of the McDonalds across the street. Yelled at him and called the transit police – they declined to take a report, since he wasn’t hurting anyone.


My 14 year old daughter has been the subject of bullying for years. Recently it has become sexual in nature. First a group of boys in her year group were coming to the house, one of them telling me he was her boyfriend and to tell her he had visited. They made kissing noises at her in school, then they started asking her personal questions like “are you on your period?” In the last few weeks of Summer term they started to touch her bottom in the corridors. Horrified my daughter went to school reception and asked to talk to a teacher saying she had been sexually assaulted by a boy. The receptionist told her everyone was busy and she should go to her lesson. The receptionist never passed the information on to anyone else. She is now being approached in the street, with them making disgusting comments about her step-dad. I have told the police and complained to the school. I have no confidence in either to take it seriously. I think they hoping it will all just go away. A 14yr old girl was raped recently in the town where my daughter’s dad lives. Near a train station. My daughter takes the train regularly. Perhaps they are waiting until she is attacked or even raped before they do anything. I can’t keep her in the house all Summer like a prisoner. I don’t know what to do to keep her safe and when she goes back to school will she have to continue walking around the corridor with her back facing the walls?


Where do I start? Like many others on this page, I’ve been touched and grabbed, in bars, at concerts, on buses, and simply walking down the street on one memorable hot day when a guy riding by on a bike grabbed my breasts when I was wearing a sundress. I’ve had a male professor tell me, as a math/comp sci major, that ‘girls’ didn’t belong in math class. I’ve dealt with mechanics who quote a higher price to me if I go alone to get my car fixed, so now I bring my large husband (who doesn’t even drive, but they speak to him and quote a lower price). But worst of all, I’m now in a profession that is over 80% female, but well over 50% of the top jobs are held by men. Sigh.


I was fifteen and on a bus home from a different city. About an hour into the four hour journey, a man got on the bus and sat next to me. He pretended to be asleep and kept leaning forwards, resting/ rubbing his face on my breast. This was a few years ago now, and at this point no one had ever talked to me about sexual assault and I didn’t know what to do. All I had been taught was to be polite. So I was, I shuffled and tried to lean away but he would slowly move to a position where he was back there. Years later, I still feel stupid for seriously considering that maybe he was just asleep and now wanting to cause a fuss. He tried to wait for me when I got off the bus but left when he saw that I went to friends who were waiting.


I was on the bus home after an appointment and an old man sat next to me. He seemed really sweet, and could barely walk – he used my leg to climb into the seat, which didn’t even cross my mind as being strange beforehand. We talked about his grandkids etc which was fine, albeit a little stressful because I have bad hearing and he had a very thick accent, but I was determined not to be rude. When I told him I needed to get off, he got off the bus at the same stop as me. As I turned to go, he put out his hand to shake mine goodbye, and as I gave him my hand he pulled me towards him. I was surprised at how strong he was when he’d seemed so weak and harmless before. He was making kissing noises, and kissed me on the lips before leaving me where I was and disappearing into a crowd. I was in the middle of a shopping street in broad daylight. No one stopped to help me, and, ridiculously, the only thing I could think was “I’m such a slut”. Afterwards, I went home and scrubbed soap on my lips. I couldn’t bear to kiss my boyfriend for a day because I felt like my lips were dirty. I felt like I’d done something wrong – that I’d invited it somehow. But I had only been trying to be polite, and when he grabbed me there was nothing I could do. I haven’t been on that bus route since.


I am a digital nomad, who also happens to be a single mother with two children. I really hate how it is always assumed that I have a husband, and I hate how shocked people are when I tell them “No, we are traveling alone.” It also saddens me that I can’t go everywhere I want to because I am afraid of sexual violence or being mugged. Taxi drivers in parts of the country I am in currently (Panama) have a history of taking you to an ATM and forcing you to withdraw all your money (and then sometimes worse things happen!). I have male friends who travel, and they can basically go wherever they want, whenever they want. I wish myself and my children were afforded the same luxury.


On the bus I rode every day when a man would start harassing, I would tell him “no” in every way I could possibly imagine. “I don’t date,” “no,” “I AM A NUN” (Italy, so this was not uncommon), the only effective way to get a man to stop harassing was to tell him that I was 1.) married or 2.) dating someone. If that didn’t work, I’d say I was on my way to see “my husband.” I’m not married. I bought a cheap ring and started wearing it on the bus to deter creeps.


Aged 16, while I was on the tube alone at around midnight wearing a tight- fitting top a middle aged man took photos of me and I was too scared to do anything and so I just sat there and let him until it was my stop.

Berlin 2017

I’ve experienced so many incidents, I can’t even count them. Whenever I’d dress up, I’d feel like I lost the right to own my body. I would hear the worst sexual comments, but I would fight back. Yelling, discussing, arguing. The responses mainly were even more insulting. One of the more “sophisticated” arguments being: “if you don’t want someone to steal your car, don’t leave the window open.”…so, does that mean, by dressing provocatively I’d become an object or was I already an object to begin with? Just as exhausting and shocking as some men’s behaviour, was the reaction of most of the women I told about those incidents…recommendations would range from the advice to dress differently to the remark that I could simply avoid certain areas….yes, why don’t I stay home altogether. The cheer blindness of even the victims for the bigger issue that lies behind this problem, stunned me and made me feel even more desperate…because, how can things change in the face of such ignorance??? Getting older, I’m getting so tired of it all…fighting back feels exhausting and pointless. I actually started giving in by wearing different clothes and avoiding specific areas and this makes me feel like I’ve given up, like I’ve compromised myself, but I don’t know what to do anymore…I’m waiting to reach my 40’s and simply vanish into invisibility, like it seems to be almost every women’s fate these days…harassment or invisibility-it’s our pick. Aren’t we lucky?