I finally spoke up to the “old creepy bus commuter” guy. I’ve noticed him before, when he’d stare at myself and other women, literally stare down, leering, unblinking, unwavering, at the bus stops and in the buses during morning and evening commutes. He’s the guy that leans in too close for comfort and hovers over me when I’m sitting down reading quietly on the bus, and it’s not even crowded. He’s the guy that tries to catch up to stare more when I bolt for my metro transfer. He’s the guy that was not even phased when last week I saw him leering at the bus stop and I gave him the “Ew did you fart?” glare. Really? You like disgusting women to the point they’re physically reviled by you and have to change bus stops?
So, after a pretty egregious week of boundary-crossing, I thought to myself, the next time he does something that makes me uncomfortable, I’m going to hollaback! And sure enough he spotted me at the very back of a semi-crowded bus the other night, and kept turning around from his position (mid-bus, back toward me) to stare. He made for the back door to get off at a stop too near to mine for comfort, but not before leering toward me and my friend for long enough that I started repeating, loudly, for everyone to hear, “Stop staring at women! It’s rude!” until he looked unnerved and scrambled off, never apologizing or refuting my accusation, never saying a word. I felt better that finally he was made to feel even remotely as uncomfortable as he makes me.
What really solidifies why I hollaback, was the fact that immediately after he got off the bus, a teenage girl sitting alone who witnessed it go down thanked me–she’s noticed his leering and wanted to say something too. Clearly I haven’t been his only target, but maybe he’ll think twice next time. I really hope she feels more empowered to hollaback herself and talk to her friends about standing up against street harassment. I also hope that all the boys and men on the bus, if they even perceived what transpired (so much goes under their radar when they are not directly affected) will think twice about harassing women, and consider speaking up against men who harass too.
Submitted by Jackie