Warning for public harassment. I just need to vent about this, get it off my chest.
I ride the train to and from work every day. 95% of the time, it’s utterly uneventful. Today, though, a couple stops away from the one I get off at, I notice a young woman standing near the doors. She’s probably a couple years younger than me, wearing a jacket, heels, and a grey skirt that hits just above her knees. I only notice her because a man made a show of walking up to her and standing entirely too close. He felt the need to tell her that she was a “lovely young college student,” and he just had to tell her what he thought about her appearance. He then asked if he could have her number. When she said no, he asked if she had a boyfriend and where she was going. He eventually went back to his seat, but he kept staring at her, nodding to himself, very obviously ogling her.
So I got up and put myself in his line of sight. My stop was next anyway, but I figured it might be a little less awkward for her if he wasn’t directly staring. I was wearing pants and a long coat, not a hell of a lot to creepily ogle there. I’d hoped that was the end of it.
We get close to my stop and the guy gets up again, comes over to the woman and practically leans on her, his head just above her shoulder, and says “c’mon, baby, let me take you home.”
I told him to back off.
It sounds like a simple thing, and it is, it’s just being a decent person, but direct confrontation is scary as fuck for me, especially when it’s with a stranger. But I had to do something. So I told him to back off.
He said that he was having a conversation and I was being rude, but I guess I have one hell of a glare, because he actually moved back. The woman muttered her thanks and moved up closer to the doors. The guy called me a bitch, said that I could join them if I wanted, told me I was being a jealous ass. I ignored him. I wish I hadn’t. I wish I’d been able to come up with something scathing and appropriate and intelligent to say, but I just ignored him. We got to the stop; the woman got off and thanked me again. I muttered something about how the guy was a fucking creep, and we headed down the stairs.
The guy followed us, though fortunately there were a few people in between him and us. We got to the bottom of the stairs, and I seriously considered following the woman, just to make sure the creepy asshole didn’t go after her. But I felt like that might have been kinda creepy myself. I don’t know. In any case, she went one direction, I went the other. The guy followed her a few steps, shouting something at her, then he came in my direction. Again, fortunately, there were people between us. He shouted “dumb bitch!” in my direction a couple times, so I can only assume it was directed at me. But thankfully, he didn’t get close enough to talk to me directly.
And what a fucked-up sentence that is, right? Thankfully the creepy asshole who thinks he’s got the right to sexually harass women on the train didn’t fucking follow me home.
So now I’m home, and I’m pissed, and kinda shaky, either from nerves or anger, I’m not sure which. Probably both. And I just… I just needed to vent about this. I don’t necessarily feel better for writing it all down, but I guess I just wanted to tell people who’d sympathize.
Fuck, girl. You’re awesome.
Seriously, when people like you stand up for others, no matter how small you feel, you make this world a better place. Aveline salutes you: