to feel really violated by this?

(57 Posts)
DrawMeADream Sat 26-Jan-13 20:50:44

I managed - very, VERY unintentionally - to attract the attention of a group of four men on the bus today. And I use the term 'men' very loosely. They spent about ten minutes loudly discussing me - 'that fit blond bird' - so that the whole bus could hear, and then proceeded to attempt to find out my name and get my phone number, repeatedly. When that didn't work, one of them sat in the seat behind me and said I have gorgeous hair, then played with it. When that got a stronger reaction from me (I pulled away and said 'you've GOT to be kidding'), he put his hand between the back of the seat and the bottom, and touched my bum. When I then moved seats, they started laughing and joking that now they'd lost their crack at me. They then continued to discuss me until they reached their stop.

I'm really, really not a confrontational person at all - I'm the type of person who cries and stutters when I get angry, and I didn't want to feel any more humiliated than I already was, so I didn't really call them on their behaviour, although I did make it clear that their attention wasn't wanted - and they ended up saying 'she's so cute, pity she's rude.' Part of me feels embarassed for being bothered by it - surely someone else on the bus would have said something if it really sounded that bad? - and part of me is ashamed for not standing up for myself. I was once raped by a new boyfriend, and while I feel more or less like I've put it behind me, moments like this really dredge up a lot of feelings and make it very difficult for me to keep a clear head in the moment and judge what I should do.

I don't know how to deal with situations like this, and I don't want to dread every bus journey because of this - AIBU to feel really violated, ashamed and powerless, or am I overreacting?

You were not over reacting and Id have said and probably done a lot worse if it was me

SpectresandSpooks Sat 26-Jan-13 20:53:45

No, you were harassed and you did nothing to encourage the 'men'. They sound appalling. Could you ask the bus company if they have CCTV? You could report it to the police.

catgirl1976 Sat 26-Jan-13 20:54:33

YANBU at all sad

They touched your bottom
That's sexual assault in my book

Hope you are ok thanks

StickEmWithThePointyEnd Sat 26-Jan-13 20:55:01

YANBU unreasonable at all. Knobbers. angry They did it because they knew it would make you uncomfortable.

By the way I was raped too. You really didn't over react. They are the dicks that should be ashamed

LadyBeagleEyes Sat 26-Jan-13 20:56:37

Most buses have CCTV these days, can you put in a complaint to the bus comany?

kittyandthegoldenfontanelles Sat 26-Jan-13 20:58:23

Catgirl, that's sexual assault in the law's book too.

Draw, I'm sorry this happened to you. How are you now?

BubblegumPie Sat 26-Jan-13 20:59:21


SolidSnake Sat 26-Jan-13 21:00:27

YANBU sad Never think you are overreacting to sexual assault. Hugs if you want them thanks

kittyandthegoldenfontanelles Sat 26-Jan-13 21:00:28

Oh SP, I'm so sorry sad

CailinDana Sat 26-Jan-13 21:01:53

No way are you overreacting. What utter cunts. So sorry you had to endure that.

Just one thing - you say "I managed- very VERY unintentionally - to attract the attention..." What that says to me is on some level you feel like you brought it on yourself somehow, that you attracted the harassment. You absolutely did not. You were sitting on a bus, just like anybody else and for no good reason these men violated your personal space and deliberately humiliated you. That is in no way your fault and you didn't, intentionally or otherwise, attract attention.

It doesn't surprise me at all that no one on the bus did anything. That's pretty typical IME.

frustratedworkingmum Sat 26-Jan-13 21:01:58

I haven't had any bad experiences like you have in the past OP, but i would have been angry and scared if this happened to me. You would have been well within your rights to call the police to be honest

No need for sorrys but thank you.

Men like this really annoy me and I tell them now what cunts they are been. If i was on that bus I'd have said something. Four men harassing a lone woman on a bus can be terrifying for some people.

When they said rude they meant " not putting up with my twattish behaviour and not seeing that I am gods gift by rejecting me"

BoneyBackJefferson Sat 26-Jan-13 21:14:58


you didn't do anything wrong, you didn't attract their attention they where being grade A arseholes.

HollaAtMeBaby Sat 26-Jan-13 21:21:07

YANBU and I would report it to the police. The bus will have had CCTV.

this sort of thing is why I carry illegal pepper spray in my handbag

Catchingmockingbirds Sat 26-Jan-13 21:21:16

I think it's really awful that you have to ask if yabu to feel violated by that. You are certainly not over-reacting, you were also on your own (I'm presuming?) and no doubt felt vulnerable, those men were horrible. I read out the first paragraph to DP for a male perspective on the situation and he was disgusted by their behaviour too.

Snazzynewyear Sat 26-Jan-13 21:27:49

That is completely unacceptable and has in no way been invited, even 'unintentionally' by sitting on a bus! And as for calling you 'rude', well the irony is unbelievable. What a disgusting act of harrassment and sense of entitlement.

I can totally see why you would freeze given your history and I think you handled it really well. I would consciously think about how you are going to approach it if something like this happens again - not because it necessarily will - it's not you at all, it's them being twats, but sadly we can all be unlucky enough to run into twats at any time, through no fault of our own.

With a plan you will feel more in control, whether it is standing up loudly and saying to the other passengers 'I am moving because these men are harrassing me. You are all witnesses', or going and telling the driver you want an incident reported, or getting your phone out and calling the police (even just to scare them off).

Just remember: whatever you decide to do, this is never your fault. It is always their fault and their wrongdoing.

Snazzynewyear Sat 26-Jan-13 21:28:28

Holla I move ever closer to considering that myself...

littlemisssunny Sat 26-Jan-13 21:33:23

OP YANBU please report it, I hope you are feeling ok now?

What they did is not acceptable and is not your fault!

Peevish Sat 26-Jan-13 21:36:14

What CailinDana said - please don't feel for a single second that you brought a smidgen of this horrible onslaught on yourself.

(It doesn't even need to be pepper spray - a quick shot of spray deodorant in the eye is very nasty and has the advantage of being entirely legal.)

DrawMeADream Sat 26-Jan-13 21:38:44

Thank you for the replies, everyone. To be honest, I do agree that I shouldn't have to ask - it was the reactions of the other people on the bus that made me question my judgement. I'm never very comfortable with sexual attention - even relatively innocent flirting - so I don't completely trust my own sense of perspective.

I will check re. the CCTV, but I don't think there was any - its a really old rickety bus. DH would like to see it so he knows who to punch in the face - he doesn't have my reticence regarding confrontation, hehe.

What also really disturbed me was that there was a mother and a girl of about 4 sitting a few seats in front of me, and the little girl would have definitely heard the whole swearing/leering fest. It also made me think, what if I had had my daughter with me? I would have had no clue how to handle that situation. Fortunately DH was taking care of her, and had sent me out to relax for a few hours - DD is 1 and has some chronic health problems that are quite draining, so he was giving me a bit of respite.

Well, it was meant to be respite. Didn't really turn out that way...

EMS23 Sat 26-Jan-13 21:39:23

YANBU and whilst I like to think I'd have given them a strong warning I imagine I'd have been so taken by surprise that this was actually happening that I'd have stayed quiet too.

What would you think if you we're reading this thread or your best friend/ sister/DD was telling you this had happened to them? I bet you'd be sure it wasn't their fault and they were NBU.

If you feel up to it, call the police. If not, I don't blame you but please don't spend any longer blaming yourself.

Branleuse Sat 26-Jan-13 21:41:40

youre not overeacting. They were pigs

namchan Sat 26-Jan-13 21:42:32

Please don't blame yourself for this, decent men, good people, wouldn't do this to someone.

Now that I am old, and don't give a fuck what a gang of arseholes or people on a bus think, I would have said something had I seen this happening to another woman. But I think most people don't like to get involved- that doesn't mean it's ok. It absolutely wasn't your fault and I really hope you feel better soon.

floweryblue Sat 26-Jan-13 21:50:54

You should be angry OP, but maybe not violated (because that makes you a victim of something when you weren't really too much in this case, if you see what I mean).

You should report the incident to the police and the bus company, and if anything similar happens to you in future you need to try to be firm enough with yourself to report the harrassment to the bus driver.

Do you use the bus regularly, are you especially sensitive given the India situation? I'm not trying to belittle what you have suffered, just asking because I have felt intimidated at times on my regular bus route and then realised I was making too much of a situation.

SolidSnake Sat 26-Jan-13 21:52:54

uh, pretty sure the OP was a victim of sexual assault and harassment flowery

As everyone else has said - of course you weren't over-reacting. On threads like this in the past, people have often said what made the situation doubly awful, was that other people didn't support them. Encountering a bunch of arses is one thing. Discovering that (presumably) decent people don't stand up for you is very unsettling.

If it makes you feel better, I AM quite a confrontational person in general, and on a very similar occasion (in a train, not a bus), reacted exactly the same way - subtly blamed myself, thought that as everyone else hadn't reacted, maybe I was over-reacting, and just felt very intimidated and weirdly ashamed. In retrospect, I was shocked I didn't call them on it, but at the time, it just didn't feel possible.
Like snazzy said, what it did for me was make me a rehearse a 'what would I do next time" scenario - something that I was comfortable I could do. What do you think would work for you, if there was ever a next time?

Snazzynewyear Sat 26-Jan-13 21:56:12

OP is absolutely valid in her feelings of being violated. Absolutely.

StickEmWithThePointyEnd Sat 26-Jan-13 21:57:00

She was inappropriately touched without her consent. That makes sexual assault.

Those men did this deliberately to make her uncomfortable because they could. Because people will walk around telling the poor women they harrass that they are "making too much of a situation". Ffs.

flippinada Sat 26-Jan-13 21:58:19

YANBU and you're not over-reacting. Please don't blame yourself for not reacting in the 'right' way.

KatyTheCleaningLady Sat 26-Jan-13 22:03:48

The reaction of the other people on the bus is meaningless. I think numerous studies have shown that crowds of people won't react to things like that. In fact, the more people, the less likely they are to react. That's because they're all looking to one another to see what they should do. Nobody does anything and they sit still. Really - studies have been set up where someone feigns distress and most people don't do anything.

And, they may have been scared to get involved. It sucks, but they may have been.

I'm sorry this happened to you. What you experienced is actually very common. I read a blog about it about a week ago, and the comments are heart-breaking. Such things used to happen to me and I think they happen to most young women.

DoctorAnge Sat 26-Jan-13 22:08:16

That is awful and I would have felt really shaken.

Catchingmockingbirds Sat 26-Jan-13 22:08:22

I think that when everybody on the bus ignored it and didn't say anything, it wasn't that they were approving of what the men were doing or didn't see anything wrong with it, but they were maybe too scared to do anything incase the group turned on them next.

Catchingmockingbirds Sat 26-Jan-13 22:10:56

katy this is called the Bystander Effect, you should read about Kitty Genovese and the study by Darley and Latane.

KatyTheCleaningLady Sat 26-Jan-13 22:13:13

Catchingmockingbirds Yes! That's exactly what I was thinking about.

It's just a weird herd instinct thing in people. I only talked about it because it seems the OP wondered if the reaction of other people meant that she was crazy for being upset and I wanted to assure her that that was not the case.

piprabbit Sat 26-Jan-13 22:15:23

I think you were sexually assaulted. The police will listen to what you say and they will contact the bus company about CCTV.

I was recently assaulted and have been hugely impressed with how far the police were prepared and able to pursue their inquiries. It really helped to feel that I was being taken seriously.

floweryblue Sat 26-Jan-13 22:16:18

I agree that the OP feels that she has been violated and is therefore angry. That is why I suggested she report the incident to the police and the bus company.

SpectresandSpooks Sat 26-Jan-13 22:16:26

Bystander effect compounded by news articles of being being stabbed fir standing up for themselves or others. Your DH sounds fab OP smile

DizzyZebra Sat 26-Jan-13 22:17:59

I was working and went to a bar after to kill time while i waited for my train and i had 4 men, one after the other, literally jump on me, trying to shove their tongues in my mouth, draping themselves all over me, grabbing at me. I felt disgusting and dirty TBH.

I have been sexually assaulted by a random man in the street - He grabbed me and put his fingers inside me. But the men in the bar left me feeling worse, I think because there were people around and no one did anything, It made me feel like they weren't doing anything wrong, whereas the man in the street, my friend saw him (male friend) and went mad at him so it kind of felt like yeah, you know you're in the wrong.

Don't know if that makes sense.

DrawMeADream Sat 26-Jan-13 22:21:21

flowery, yes I used to use the bus daily until I had DD. Now its only the occasional Saturday. I'd become accustomed to incidences similar to this, but without the touching - that was what threw me. I thought about reporting it to the bus driver, but considering the volume they were using, there is absolutely no chance that he wasn't aware of it already.

As for what I'd do in future, I don't know - that's what's disturbing me. The bus mostly goes through deserted lanes, and there is one every hour, so getting off isn't an option. And you obviously can't count on the other passengers to help. So... I don't know.

Cantbelieveitsnotbutter Sat 26-Jan-13 22:22:39

I think

Cantbelieveitsnotbutter Sat 26-Jan-13 22:24:04

I think you reacted the right way. They clearly wanted a rise and I think things would have got worse if you'd argued it.
Try not to over think your reaction xxxx

Booyhoo Sat 26-Jan-13 22:30:23

YANBU at all.

i would report this to the plice. assholes get away with this shit way too much.

i wouldn't have been able to hold my cool in your shoes and would have flipped out completely, screeching at them and turned myself into a right spectacle. i know i would because that's how i've reacted when similar happened to me in a club. shockingly i was told (by 'friends' hmm) that i over reacted to having a stranger's hand put up my dress!

kickassangel Sat 26-Jan-13 22:35:40

I think in future you could move right to the front by the driver, even go and speak to him or her and tell her/him you are being harassed and that you need some support. That should be a fairly low key way to keep creeps at bay without having to face a big confrontation. You should be able to ride the bus without being worried

OK, so some options for you ito what you could do which wouldn't involve calling them directly if you don't think you could face it - I'm sure others can think of some more

1. Ignore and 'remove yourself'. You moved - great idea. Takes you out of the firing line. Could you also make a phone call/get your headphones out? Then you are 'out' of their space and whatever they say can't hurt you. And once they realise you aren't listening, they may well loose interest.

2. Enlist help: Could you single out one person to help you? This could be the driver (he may well ignore if he can get away with it, but might be different if you appeal directly to him, even just asking if you can sit near him and/or asking if the incident would be videoed) or it could be a 'safe'/engaged looking passenger. Someone who catches your eye, or just looks like they'd help. Bystander effect is lessened when people feel appealed to directly - as others have said, the more people there are, the easier it is for all of them to keep out. You could just ask to sit next to them as you are feeling uncomfortable, they'll understand, and hopefully help.

And this is what I'd love to do... Get your phone out, look like you're making a call. Proceed to 'report' an incident of sexual harrassment on the xx bus, describe the woman (you) as if you're an onlooker. Make a lot of "yes, that's right. That's brilliant, I'll be looking out for you" type noises. Don't think I'd ever have the nerve though!

When it's been verbal only, what's your approach?

You are not overreacting at all sad I hate that no one stepped in to help you, wish I was surprised though

DrawMeADream Sat 26-Jan-13 22:41:47

DizzyZebra, really sorry to hear about those experiences, and yes, I know exactly what you mean - the way others react makes a big difference afterwards

I doubt that anything can be done - I have no idea who they were, and no proof that the touching happened. I do want to report it though - mainly just to feel that I've done something about it and contributed to statistics to help show that these things are a problem, iyswim. Police or bus company or both?

KatyTheCleaningLady Sat 26-Jan-13 22:45:53

I was once chased down a street in San Francisco by a homeless guy yelling "DON'T YOU RUN FROM ME! I HAVEN'T HAD SEX IN 18 YEARS!" He chased me into a bar and chased me around and around the pool table. Nobody helped me. They pretended they didn't see me at all. It was like the Twilight Zone.

To be fair, when I was actually running down the street, I was laughing because it seemed kind of funny (I have an absurd sense of humour). But, it ceased to be funny when the whole bar pretended I wasn't there.

DrawMeADream Sat 26-Jan-13 22:48:02

funnypeculiar, my approach when it has only been verbal has been, as you suggest, 'removing myself' with headphones or phone, which has previously worked. I did the same in this case, but they continued on regardless. I guess, as you say, the best thing to do would be to move up near the driver and essentiallyforce him to stop ignoring the situation.

Thank you for all threplies s - gives me a bit more faith that my perspective isn't completely skewed...

gwenniebee Sat 26-Jan-13 22:49:59

YANBU at all. I would report it to both. I was raped too by a so-called boyfriend, and I absolutely understand your situation and why it is so upsetting, but I don't think that you have over-reacted to these events because of your history. Glad that your dh takes it seriously smile

BegoniaBampot Sat 26-Jan-13 22:53:40

OP - I'm furious on your behalf, what horrible intimidating, bullying behaviour. If anything. would love to see their faces if you took it further, but there is no onus on you do so if you don't want to. You have every right to report it though if you wish to. Don't know how I would have reacted whether I was you or a passenger, really depends on how you read it at the time. Sad to say I think that many women and girls have fallen victim to this kind of thing, I know I have more than once. There was a thread a while back about this. Was angry and sad reading it in equal measures.

achillea Sat 26-Jan-13 22:58:36

What worries me about this is that there was a group of them and they were egging each other on. This could have been very dangerous if you had got off and they followed. Making someone feel afraid is harrassment and touching someone's bum without permission is sexual assault. Neither should be accepted on a bus by either the passengers or the bus company.

Try and do what you can to get the bus company to take responsibility, and do get DH down there to get a photo of these louts, it may be that the only language they will understand is a fist in the face (or a chat with their Mum might also work).

Booyhoo Sat 26-Jan-13 23:00:48

another suggestion if it happens again ( i really hope it doesn't!) would be to stand up out of your seat, move closer to someone who looks like they might be 'safe' and take a photo of the person on your phone.

or you could call very loudly down to the driver "do you have CCTV on this bus?" if they say no then proceed to very obviously take a photo of the people involved and announce to the other passengers that the police will need to see a photo when you report it.

ElectricSheep Sat 26-Jan-13 23:03:37

That could be construed as sexual harassment or even assault.

In a similar situation you could say leave me alone or I will call the police. And do so. 999 is there for these situations. You should not hesitate.

TheNebulousBoojum Sat 26-Jan-13 23:14:17

You are not over-reacting in the slightest, and you did nothing whatsoever to feel responsible for the harassment you were subjected to. They were the abusers,
It's horrible that you were made to feel ashamed and powerless when the blame rests entirely on their entitled arrogance.
I do think that it is a sad indication for our society that no one challenges when they see this happening to someone else.

Sounds like such a horrible situation to be in, and made so much worse by the people around you not giving you support (I worry for my dd being in a similar situation).

I was once being harassed as a teenager, two guys walking behind me, but a guy walking along the street came and chatted to me as we walked along, not engaging with the arseholes but giving me support, he walked me to my friend's door.

Big hugs to you, what a horrible situation to be in.

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