Ewa’s story: Streetcar creep
About half an hour ago I got on the back of the Spadina Streetcar at Spadina Station. A short (5.6″) man wearing jeans and a dark jacket was sitting in an aisle seat. He followed me to the back of the streetcar, sat down, spread his legs with one on the seat in front of him and began touching his genitals through his pants while looking over at me. This only lasted a few seconds before I looked him in the eyes getting ready to yell. He saw the provoked expression on my face and took his hands of his crotch and put his legs in front of him. I kept looking at him until I was sure he would not begin masturbating. Other male passengers got on the back of the streetcar and this pervert kept his eyes off me and his hands at his sides.
This man got off at College Street. To add to the above description, he looked rough: his hair was messy and he had stubble. He also talked to himself at one point in a South Asian accent.
I chose not to call the police because my previous experiences of reporting to the police were not satisfactory. I have experienced sexual assault and harassment many times in Toronto. In one instance, after being assaulted by a group of teenage boys, I had the experience of being intimidated by a police officer as he took my statement in my apartment: he kept inching closer to me until I was pressed up against my oven feeling unsafe. On another occasion I had police show up 20 minutes after a 911 call even though there was a police station less than 5 minutes away. The two officers who showed up appeared not to have any training around sexual violence and could not give any information about witness safety to a woman who was experiencing partner violence and stalking. I had called 911 on behalf of this woman after I had tried to help her, and after her partner nearly hit us with his car.
Regarding the man on the streetcar today, if you see this man masturbating on the TTC do not let him get away with it. If he touching himself (for more than a few seconds as in my case) and there are people around I would yell at him and draw others’ attention to him. I would also tell the driver. If you feel comfortable dealing with the police then place a call to them right away before this man leaves the streetcar. I understand that some people would not feel comfortable yelling, in this case just tell the driver and/or call the police.