PUBLIC HARASSMENT: I AM A PETITE CISGENDER…

I am a petite cisgender woman and have experienced harassment on mass transit and in the streets. I had prepared myself mentally that I wanted to speak up if it happened again — as long as I didn’t feel it was unsafe to do so. A man was putting his hands on me in the subway one day, and I told him to stop. He continued touching me, and I elevated my voice, again firmly telling him to keep his hands off me. He responded angrily and became a bit menacing. As the train pulled into the next subway station, two women suddenly appeared alongside me and proclaimed loudly, “Oh, look! Let’s not miss our stop!” They steered me away from him, and guided me off the train. Then they stood with me on the platform, and we waited together to catch the next train. They chatted with me about how they’d been watching what the man was doing, and had decided to intervene to help me. I have retold this story for years, with great appreciation for the caring action they took.

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