Have you experienced an awkward moment on the train or bus that you wasn’t sure if it was actually sexual harassment or were unsure on how you could report it?
I remember one hot summer many years ago, I wore shorts on the bus and I sat upstairs on a crowded bus. The person I sat beside started to touch my leg and I felt extremely uncomfortable but wasn’t brave enough to confront the man further or make a scene on the crowded bus so I got off and left.
In 2019, when I was in Lisbon for 2 days I had a similar experience where I got on a busy tram with a friend (I wore a long skirt) and as the tram was very full people were very close to each other. HOWEVER, there was an old man that kept pushing his body onto the back of mine. I thought it was a genuine accident so moved out of the way but he moved closer towards wherever I moved and carried on doing it again and again, and I couldn’t move anywhere else. The tram became less crowded but I could feel him pressing his privates every now and them against my body. I told my friend and she swapped places with me, he then moved away from us and eventually left the tram. Again, I felt like I couldn’t report it and was left feeling sick to my stomach. My anxiety levels have increased whenever I get on busy public transport as I’m always conscious of what I wear but clothes do not stop these men from doing these things.
There have been plenty of other experiences but these two have been the most triggering for me. There’s no REAL consequence for their actions until now. So if you witness something or experience it yourself, don’t be afraid to report it. I know I won’t!
I am 100% sure that I am not the only person out there that this has happened to and am so glad that now this kind of behaviour can be reported as a sexual offence, which result in prosecution if caught.
What counts as sexual harassment?
Any behaviour that makes you feel uncomfortable (whether experienced directly or have witnessed) can be reported, these include:
- Touching or groping
- Rubbing against someone
- Someone exposing themselves
- Taking photos of a sexual nature without consent
- Sexual comments
- Indecent acts
Read the full article on the BTP website: https://www.btp.police.uk/police-forces/british-transport-police/areas/campaigns/Sexual-Harassment/