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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?

TapselteerieO Sat 26-Jan-13 23:45:46

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.

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.

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.

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.

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).

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.

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

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...

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 22:41:47

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?

MurderOfGoths Sat 26-Jan-13 22:39:59

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

funnypeculiar Sat 26-Jan-13 22:36:21

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?

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

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!

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

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

I think

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.

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.

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

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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

That is awful and I would have felt really shaken.

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