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TW: how do I deal with sexual harassment in public?

I'm currently seeking advice on what to do when someone doesn't take no for an answer. For context, a guy, lets name him Pete, was harassing me on the bus yesterday (it was an hour long trip). I've known Pete for over a year now, he kept groping me and making me touch his parts, I told him I was uncomfortable with it and pulled away, he took it as a challenge to make me horny.

 

Would it be appropriate if I'd have said no and that it caused a scene? I don't like causing scenes, but I just don't like public displays of affection nor groping in public. I believe that it's  best left in the confines of a house, or at the very least a car.

Re: TW: how do I deal with sexual harassment in public?

Hey @LizO1997

I am very sorry to hear that you've had to deal with someone who didn't respect your boundaries, and who ignored the fact that you did not give them consent to touch you. That is always totally inappropriate. You always, always, have the right to decide what happens with your body. 

While causing a scene can be really uncomfortable, especially if you don't like being the center of attention, it can sometimes be a really effective tool in getting people to stop what they are doing. Saying "no" loudly, telling them to "stop being rape-y" or even drawing attention to what they are doing can sometimes "wake up" a person to just how inappropriate their actions are. But that doesn't mean that you have to address the situation loudly if you don't want to. Sometimes just standing up and walking away - maybe to another seat, preferably with someone else next to you - can be enough to get the message across that you really didn't appreciate what Pete was doing. Another option is that, now once everything is happen, I really encourage you to open up a conversation with Pete to let him know how that situation made you feel. 

Re: TW: how do I deal with sexual harassment in public?

Hey @Andrea-RO 

Thank you for the words of wisdom, I will use them the next time I'm in this situation. I spoke to my Mum about this and she told me the same thing, and that it's totally appropriate to cause a scene in this situation. I messaged him about it and he didn't apologise or even mention it, so I'm not gonna contact him again.

 

Thank you again, and have a nice day ^_^

Re: TW: how do I deal with sexual harassment in public?

Hi @LizO1997 

 

Pete has no right to do that to you without your permission, and that hour must've been so awful.. I'm so sorry you had to go through that...

 

It is absolutely appropriate to assert yourself and your rights. If that causes a scene, so be it, so long as you feel safe.

I'd say it's 100% okay to cause a scene. Honestly I'd encourage it, so long as you are safe enough to do that.

A lot of what he's doing probably relies on you not making a scene; because chances are he doesn't want to either. You being able to make a scene could give you some extra control over the situation.

 

A few ideas in addition to what @Andrea-RO said:

Quietly say "If you don't stop touching me, I will scream."

    - If you don't like making a scene, this might stop the harassment before you even have to 

Loudly say "Stop touching me, I don't want to have sex with you."

    - Lets everyone on the bus know that someone's being a creep, and you might need help.

    - If it humiliates Pete into not inappropriately touching people, that's probably a good thing.

Stand up and either tell him to stop touching you, or ask others on the bus for help

    - Brings everyone's attention to you, plus puts you a bit further away from Pete

Loudly say something like "Gross! What are you doing?"

    - He might enjoy making you uncomfortable and scared of him. He probably doesn't enjoy disgust or condescension as much

    - Encourages him to actually think about what he's doing

Tell the bus driver. If he touches you, get up, walk to the front of the bus, and say that one of the passengers keeps grabbing you in a sexual way.

   - Gets you away from Pete

   - Hopefully gets Pete told to get off the bus

Get a "buddy" to sit with so that Pete can't reach you

   - If you have an available father, he might be good for this. Idk why exactly, but if your dad's around Pete's a lot less likely to do anything sexual. It's just how people like that think I guess.

 

Also, if you ever feel like Pete might hurt you, or if the harassment seems to be leading up to something else, call the police. If you feel like any of these suggestions will put you in danger, don't use them. Your safety is really important here. 

Re: TW: how do I deal with sexual harassment in public?

@Tiny_leaf Thank you for the advice, I've never been one to make a scene as I don't want anything to happen. In all honesty I was afraid if I did make a scene someone would start to punch him up, and even when someone is being gross like Pete was I prefer violence to be a last resort, if not one at all.

Re: TW: how do I deal with sexual harassment in public?

Hey @LizO1997 

 

I am so sorry you had that experience.  It takes real courage to share this.  I know but did not want to make a scene however 'Pete' behaved in a way that crossed your boundaries.  You had every reason to be assertive and make a scene.  It may not have ended in aggression, just some concerned people informing Pete (rightfully) that his behaviour was wrong and to respect your space.

Re: TW: how do I deal with sexual harassment in public?

Hey @TOM-RO

Thank you for the advice, and supporting my decision to not a make a even. I'll make sure that next something like this if happens I'll be more assertive.