PUBLIC HARASSMENT: I WAS ON THE TRAIN IN GREECE…
I was on a train in Greece (I believe, honestly I was traveling so much at that time in my life I might have gotten confused about which country I was in). I was headed to the airport and had my large green suitcase with me. The train was packed, people on every side.
Suddenly I became aware that the man standing directly in front of me was pressing his hand against my crotch. Because the train was so crowded at first it didn’t register. We were all being touched everywhere. But this was different. He was pressing his hand firmly against my crotch. I put my hand on the handle of my suitcase in between us and pushed his hand away. He pushed back. Hard. As hard as he could. And I resisted him as hard as I could. For the rest of the train ride we were locked in this battle. The entire time he was staring out the window, looking at other people, pretending he wasn’t assaulting me with all of his strength. Finally we reached a stop where more people got off so I could move away from him. I was tempted to brush the whole thing off. I felt like I would be making a big deal if I even thought twice about it. Things happen to women all the time.
I told no one (actually, this is the first time I’ve told anyone about it). But that happened nearly 20 years ago, so clearly I haven’t forgotten about it. I feel angry that a man felt he was so entitled to touch me that he used all his strength to try to muscle my resistance out of the way. And that he could do that with so little concern that he didn’t even look me in the eye when we were obviously both using all our strength to fight over whether he could touch me.
After completing this street harassment training this incident came to mind and I can tell you — I would have broken down in tears if someone else on that train had intervened in any way. It would have felt so validating to know I was supported. And since that didn’t happen then, I’m speaking about it now and just want to say — if you’ve been assaulted like this on a train, plane, bus, … anywhere… it’s not okay. And you’re not alone. And I appreciate the support this forum provides.