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Assault on tube-long.

(13 Posts)
noncuro Thu 15-Sep-11 14:41:43

I don't really know where else to put this but here goes...

About 2 weeks ago I got an afternoon commuter tube, everyone was packed in tightly together. I was squeezed into a corner facing out of the door. A few stops into my journey I noticed that the man behind me was moving side to side a bit behind me, while wedged up against me. His breathing was quite heavy and he seemed to get bolder as the journey continued, I moved away as much as I could and he moved with me. I'm certain he was rubbing himself up on me. At one of the next stations I had enough room to turn round so I faced him with my bag in front of me so he couldn't put his body against me any more. I stayed quite calm and quiet and didn't say anything. I got off at my stop and went to my friend's like nothing had happened.

I blanked it from my mind that evening and enjoyed my friend's party, but over the last few days it's come back to the front of my mind and I can't stop replaying it. I feel upset and dirty. I'm normally quite bolshy assertive and confident (I'm starting barrister training this month) and am kicking myself for not saying anything. If anyone had asked me before this happened what I'd do in that kind of situation I would have thought I'd have said something loudly for the carriage to hear. My legal brain knows it's illegal to do that to me and if one of my friends told me the same had happened to her I would support her if she wanted to report it, but I just don't see that I will tell anyone. I don't even remember the man's face properly. And I feel like I shouldn't really be thinking about it this much, it's not the worst thing that could happen.

So as well as thinking about it continually, I'm also wondering why no-one else said anything. Although one woman at the other door did keep catching my eye I don't know if that was related or not.

I also feel guilty as I haven't told DP. I usually tell him everything and he is an incredibly kind and caring man who I trust absolutely so I don't know what's holding me back.

I dont really know what I'm asking here, sorry the post is so long and descriptive, just typing what I think. Has anyone had something similar happen? What did you do afterward? PM me if you don't want to broadcast it. I'm just not really sure where I go from here.

mumwithdice Thu 15-Sep-11 15:04:39

First of all, I'm so sorry this happened to you. When I was 23, I was walking home from the cinema by myself and a man on a bicycle came by and grabbed my breast and cycled off again. So that's my something similar. Thing that's sad is that most women have had an experience like this.

It took me ages to tell my DH about it even though it had happened years before I met him. When I did tell him, he was sympathetic to me and very angry at the twit on the bicycle. And I have felt much better about it ever since.

I think we are often reluctant to say because we somehow think we deserved it or were asking for it. Or in this case, because it seems so little and we worry that people will think we're making a big deal out of nothing. Thing is, it isn't nothing.

MooncupGoddess Thu 15-Sep-11 15:30:14

Ugh! Poor you. I had a different-but-similar experience on the tube a couple of weeks ago and it was horrid.

I got lots of sympathy from posters here, who encouraged me to tell the British Transport Police. I rang them up and went through everything in detail, and they've asked me in to give a proper statement in a few days. They were very professional and explained that what I'd suffered (nasty man following me around in an aggressive fashion) was definitely a crime.

So I'd suggest you do the same - if you take some control by making the incident official you may feel more empowered, and after describing it a few times to the police you may also feel that you've talked the experience out and it doesn't bother you as much.

slug Thu 15-Sep-11 15:39:25

Post it on Hollaback It may not catch the bloke, but it will alert other women who travel on the same tube to be on their guard and (hopefully) be prepared to confront him should he try it again.

Chocobo Thu 15-Sep-11 19:50:33

OP am so sorry this has happened to you - unfortunately I think it happens a lot. I used to work in town and on my morning commute there was this one guy who used to do it every day. I used to avoid him like the plague, after he did it to me and make sure I was standing nowhere near him but used to see him doing the

I wish now I had had the courage to have said something but because it may not be entirely obvious to other people did not want to risk looking stupid plus I was young and not very confident.

I just think it is so sad that EVERY single woman I know has had some sort of sexual abuse/assault/intimidation happen to her in pubilc sad

garlicbutty Thu 15-Sep-11 20:14:50

Another one here. I'm sorry this jerk managed to make you feel powerless, noncuro, he doesn't deserve that influence.

No way it was your fault or you "should have" done anything. The only "should" in this is that women should be able to travel without sleazy inadequates assaulting them!

Fyi, I have done the hand-grab with loud voice thing - it was very rewarding - but, in other moods, I've also put up with it and distanced myself asap.

Do tell DP. Making it a secret gives the sleazebag control. Wrest it back.

x

noncuro Thu 15-Sep-11 20:44:03

Thank you everyone for your replies. I'm sad that this has happened to so many women. It makes me so angry that some men feel we're just here to be harassed and intimidated. And I'm angry I've been made to feel pathetic for being upset. I've just been reading through Hollaback, it's good to see women fighting back.

I will tell DP, I feel better for having got it out here and will look into telling the BTP. Thank you all smile

bibbitybobbityhat Thu 15-Sep-11 20:50:39

This happened to me. The man was stroking my bottom with his hand. No one else on the tube would have noticed - it was too packed - but I did find it within me to say out loud "would whoever who is groping me please stop". I don't know where I found that voice, but it just sort of came out.

It does make you angry, of course it does. I would have thought that deep anger would be a natural and healthy response. I hope it never happens to you again, but perhaps if it did you would somehow be able to find your voice the next time?

GossipWitch Thu 15-Sep-11 21:12:21

I have 2 experiances both in a nightclub, the first, my friend was chatting to this man she new and his friend tried putting his hand down my trousers, he got a punch in the gob, the second, a "date" grabbed my hand and rubbed it against his hard ... he got a slap.

Its horrible when men try to take advantage of women in this way but if you show them who's boss they learn from it !

GossipWitch Thu 15-Sep-11 21:13:31

not that that post was remotely helpful, sorry.

LurcioLovesFrankie Thu 15-Sep-11 21:17:26

As a teenager, I was groped by the man behind me on an escalator on the underground in Athens. He got the shock of his life when I turned round at the top and kicked him really hard in the shins (would have aimed higher, but too crowded to get a decent swing at what I suspect would have been a pretty small target).

Commiserations, Noncuro, and so sorry it's left you feeling soiled - you're not, he's the one who's the miserable little arsehole.

forkful Thu 15-Sep-11 22:27:18

noncuro - sorry this happened to you sad

It is really powerful for you to share it here though - because it raises the profile of this crime.

You might be interested in this website it hasn't been updated for a while but has some good stuff on there.

Never feel bad about your response.

As well as our primative responses of FIGHT and FLIGHT there is also its less well known cousin FREEZE.

It is never a woman's fault is she freezes or does not respond in a situation how she "imagines she would/should/could".

It is always the man's fault for feeling entitled to commit this type of crime.

trying to channnel dittany wink

SeniorWrangler Thu 15-Sep-11 22:34:47

I had this happen alot to me when I was younger. I used to assume it was my imagination and ignore it, but then later on I started instructing people to leave me alone otherwise I would do them some damage, at which point they started scarpering. Always worth telling them off because they are being very nasty.

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