Warning: mature subject matter

Also, a little background reading:

The Guardian reported on how well the campaign has worked.

The Telegraph reported in April of 2015 that 100% of women surveyed regarding their experience riding transit in Paris had experienced sexual harassment.

Last but not least, a stakeholder trashes the idea of gender-segregated train cars.

This is an open thread.

13 Replies to “Sunday Open Thread: Report It to Stop It”

  1. Are there still “flashers” ? As a former NYC daily strap hanger (of the poor fortune to have my nose at exactly the same height as every other armpit) it was best to realize that being “luckily” seated then put one at the optimum height to fully “experience” exurberant exposure.

    It seemed a lot of urban savvy then involved using voice unexpectedly …. a very loud and intentional “fit” of laughter along with pointing to “it” used to clear out those raincoat wearers enjoying themselves beyond the simple pleasure of riding a train underground.

    The reporting campaign and all the serious efforts to recognize all harassment are all very important, but sometimes laughing or growling (or shouting out loud… perhaps in pidgin Scots-oirish ) simply puts an end there and then to transit misuse.

    1. Man, you need to get with some bikers to find cheap outlet for used leather jackets or raggedy denim ones and also go to hoodies, which always mean a mass message.

      And make your logo a skeleton with a sickle sitting on top of a decrepit transit vehicle, looking at his watch with flames coming out of his eyes.


      Since theme song “John the Revelator” – who can object to a religious song on lame grounds that it’s ‘way past spooky to flat-out creepy- is public domain, no copyright worries this side of the grave. And give a jacket and a disc to whole ST Board, along with an honorary lifetime membership in the Slowriders.

      If the young woman in the video had a jacket or a hoodie, guaranteed problem never happening, at least in Seattle. But along with “John The Revelator” train PA, could also add a disc directly recorded on whichever New York subway line it’s most likely heard:

      “Hey, ya creep! Yeah, you! Whaddaya doin’ inside da regulation span of an entiah galaxy from dat well-brought up young lady!? Hoid dey’re hirin’ guys like you to woik all night wit’ out ovatime cleaning yaself outa da closest wheel assembly, if ya catch my meaning. Oh YEAH? Well why doncha enlist and get sent to where my sista can clean you outta HER army boots too!”

      Already got it on Twitter, I mean Twitta? Congrats on bein’ da new Secretary a Transit Security!


    2. Repeat after me until you can calmly say the phrase with the correct amount of distain.

      “That looks just like a penis but smaller.”

  2. Only question how. Fastest, safest, and most effective. Report? Main problem is cell phones usually don’t work in tunnels, and red button to driver awkward to use. Situation presented here?

    1. Smart phone video, starting with car number, scan of whole car, then footage of problem, and face of the perpetrator. Turn on voice recorder.

    2. Scope him out. Could I protect her physically if I had to? Does he smell drunk, does he look drugged? Assume he’s armed. I’m always not. Is he alone, or how many with him? How many here will help me protect her?

    3. Stand close as comfortable, and start talking with her. If I can do it gracefully, try to get between her and the molester while I’m talking. And stay there. If she seems afraid or upset, very low voice: “Miss, do you need help?”

    4. If answer is anything but definite no, point to some ad above the window down the aisle, and invite her to come look at it. Putting as many people as I can between her and him. “Next station, would you like me to get off with you and call Security?”

    5. All the while keeping an eye on the molester. Also that she’s not thinking I’m on his team. Any more ambiguity, get off next station and get with platform security. Starting with car number and brief summary. And then upstairs without tapping-priceless opportunity for District Court hearing in front of TV cameras-and call the police.

    “What is your 911?” Station location, time, car number, direction of travel, summary. Tell them I’ve got video and audio, and follow instructions. How’d I do?

    Mark Dublin


  3. Would someone who’s had this happen please tell us: What would you most like any of us to do to help you?


  4. Anyone that touches me in public without my permission is getting hit, simple as that.

    If you see it happen, pipe up. Say something. Call it out as unacceptable. Most of us aren’t going to want to make waves in case they get more aggressive were we to bring it up, but the more people that say something, the safer we are, everyone is, and the less likely they are to try anything again.

    1. Thanks, Ness. But I think we both understand how much a stranger needs to scope out fast from the get-go in order to know what action to take. Here’s what I saw, and thought.

      Smart phones now give huge advantage for first fifteen-second transit communication basics. On trains, car number, location, direction of travel. Situation, any visible weapons. In addition to possible video evidence of everything that happened. Can’t count on reception out of the Tunnel. But you’ll have all a prosecutor needs.

      In the video, ideal passenger load for a good outcome. A couple of dozen people, all adults in an unstressed frame of mind. And good age and physical condition. All of them looked like they’d help intervene effectively, once they understood what was going on.

      Visible details of the assault would present bystander a problem here. Two young adults about the same age. On a crowded vehicle, hands hard to see. Could have been engaged or married. But-if it turned out mutual consent, “Do you need help?” would’ve been appreciated by both. Same with calmly starting to get others between her and him.

      Manners-radiocarbon- so I really need help with this one. Having gotten her out of grab range, whatever came down next, I wouldn’t want her further embarrassed. My natural first move would be to find her ladies to leave her with, whatever else I had to do like get the law. In a transit crowd that size, would definitely have been more than one agreeable group of women.

      Who, this being 2017 instead of 1957, would probably have ripped the guy to shreds. Wash rack crew would have bitched. But the car’s own security cameras would’ve caught a perfect deterrent video for TV spots and YouTube. And deputize the Mayor and Nikki Oliver, and Cary to Transit Police and nobody’d dare to even not tap off!

      How’s that?


      Here’s what I was seeing. Two people about same age, neither looking familiar with violence. In a car that crowded, I might not have been able to see his hands.

    2. If this happened to me I would blow my super-loud emergency whistle attached to my keychain–that would certainly get everyone’s attention and expose and embarrass the ‘dickhead’!

  5. I had a situation about two years ago on the 32, on a Sunday summer afternoon heading from U Dist to Seattle Center. The bus maybe had 8 people; I was in a window seat. Guy got on at Fremont, sat next to me, stared at me. No groping, no touching, no whipping anything out. On the other hand plenty of other seats, so why so insistent and staring?

    I did manage to escape without a grope, but it was uncomfortable for sure. Needless to say, I would have loved to be able to text a report.

    Issue one – the first time it happens, its a surprise. Second time, you’ve thought about it and have come up with a plan.
    Issue two – the other seven people are total strangers and frankly, if you are on your phone, these days the phone gives riders carte blanche to ignore anything and everything. (Ironic that a solution is a text.) Hard to get a sense of who your ally would be in that situation. And you take a double risk, raising a stink in a borderline creepy situation and hoping for backup.

    So Mark, if there is a signal that riders who are ready to help can give each other, that’s number one.

    1. One trick is to say “Excuse me” as if you are about to alight, so he should get up and out of your way, and then you proceed to sit elsewhere. Having him follow and sit down next to you again would then be totally creepy. But that only works when the bus isn’t full.

      The less polite trick is to sit in an aisle seat. If there are plenty of seats, nobody will ask to sit next to you. They may find you rude, but that’s their problem.

    2. Fine idea, Baselle. Signal and text both. The three women I just mentioned really could-pretty sure will- give you a lot of help. Curious, though. What was your take on the driver?

      Anybody being made uneasy, I’d invite to come sit across from me. And inconspicuously call Control to prepare police assist if needed. If I’d been in your place, I would’ve climbed over the seat ahead and sat somewhere else anyhow.

      And on the way up the aisle, pulled the plug out of somebody’s ear and told them to call 911. Like with fresh air, shift of attention to the actual world is probably refreshing. Making it possible for the phone wearer to not walk full speed into the side of a moving LINK train on MLK.

      But I also think that, especially to help somebody, ear-plug wearers don’t mind a courteous request to talk to them.


  6. My take on the driver? I hadn’t thought anything about him, and upon reflection felt a little foolish not involving the driver. I remembered that the traffic wasn’t all that bad. Interbay on a Sunday.

    My point is is that commenters can talk smart about what they would do in such and such a situation if it hasn’t happened to them. When the situation happens, you might be surprised at what you do or don’t do.

    Thank you both, Brent and Mark. Now that it happened, doing those things are in the plan. And if one is already uncomfortable, you might as well be uncomfortable doing something.

    1. Baselle, who’s your King County Council Member?Also, City Councilman Rob Johnson was with Transportation Choices Coalition. I like the man, and I think his time around transit makes him someone to get with. But very serious about Jenny Durkan and Nikki Oliver.

      Facing the kind of trouble we’re discussing, these are the first two people I’d want to have aboard my bus. Comfortable in public, and at ease with the style of authority most needed. Won’t mention physical defense, because I think presence of either or both would assure none would be needed.

      I also can’t think of anybody with as much experience and personal inclination to bring personal safety aboard transit into politics in exactly the way it deserves. Please go talk to them both. For which, in advance, thank you very much.


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