Christine’s Story

I was taking the train home from work. A man came by and seemed to be selling train tickets. He spoke to me (his voice was very hard to understand) and I said no thanks and he moved along. He then circled back and asked if he could sit across from me. I said sure and tried to look busy. He wouldn’t stop talking to me even though my headphones were in and I tried several times to just ignore him. I reluctantly talked to him for a while while he asked me when my birthday was and if I had kids and I just wished he’d take a hint and leave. Then he asked if he could give me a kiss and before I knew it he stood up, leaned over and kissed my cheek. I tried to push him away and I said “no” several times in a loud voice but he didn’t care. He sat back down and kept talking to me while I sat, shaking. I was looking around, hoping someone had noticed but the train wasn’t very full and nobody saw. There was an older woman in the seat ahead of him (I try to sit near other women) but her headphones were in and she didn’t notice. The man kept talking to me and I pulled out my book and insisted that I just wanted to read. He kept talking, he touched my leg before I pulled it away, and eventually put his hand out for me to shake hands (he put it directly in my line of sight so there was no ignoring him) and I was so flustered I just took it. He said my hands were soft and that I was very pretty and he finally left. I spent the rest of the train ride shaking and nearly crying and hoping he wouldn’t follow me home. As soon as my stop arrived, I called my boyfriend so someone would be on the phone with me as I walked home. He was out of town so I spent the rest of the night alone and scared. I told him everything but it was so hard to explain how helpless I felt (he’s 6’1 and not easily intimidated). I keep replaying it in my head, knowing it could have been so much worse but still hating every second of it. I wish I had known how to react. I can’t believe I shook his hand afterwards. I’m somehow ashamed; I know it was mostly from shock and the fear of inciting anything worse, but still. The next day I didn’t have access to my car so I had to take the train again to work. I got a friend to drive me home in the evening so I could put off those feelings a little longer. Plus I don’t want him to figure out my schedule. My budget and lifestyle depend on public transportation. I’m hoping it gets better but I have a feeling it’s going to get worse.
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