So I wanted to write a post that’s a bit more personal to me about something that recently happened because I don’t feel like enough people are talking about it. I wasn’t sure whether or not to write about it for some reason it feels embarrassing for me even though it shouldn’t be. I’ve been doing some research and I guess if I can give someone the courage to report it then it’s worth it.
A couple of weeks ago I was alone travelling home on the tube at around half past nine at night from a friends BBQ. From what I can remember I had my head buried in my phone as usual and wasn’t paying ANY attention to what was going on around me apart from waiting for the train to arrive. As the train pulled up I stepped on the train and was *groped* for lack of a better word, by a random old man walking past (gross). I turned around and sort of shouted at him but he had already quickly walked off, so there was nothing I could do. He had calculated it so that I was already on the tube before he sped off along the platform.
The worst part was that as I turned around to face the people sat on the tube, nobody had noticed what happened. I stood there wanting to speak to someone but I was in shock so I sat in silence the whole way home until I could tell my boyfriend, who saw how upset I was and immediately phoned the police to report it. I felt almost embarrassed to be reporting something like this, what would I even say? I was sexually assaulted? It felt petty to say but that’s what it is. This is sexual harassment and it shouldn’t be happening. After reading what it said on the British Transport Police page about sexual offences I did feel reassured that I’d done the right thing.
“Sexual offences is the term used for a variety of crimes, including sexual touching, exposure, sexual comments or any other form of unwanted sexual behaviour. No incident is too small or trivial. What has happened is not your fault. We will always take you seriously, believe what you tell us and treat you with respect.”
My parents tell me not to go out alone late at night but the sad thing is this happens at busy times of the day in public places. It’s violating and it shouldn’t happen so I wanted to write about my experience to encourage other people to report it.
Since the incident the police have got the CCTV footage and have been to my house to take a statement, but sadly as I didn’t see the guys face they can’t be sure that anything will come of it as I wouldn’t be able to identify him, even if they do make an arrest. I’m hopeful that even if they can’t charge this person, an arrest would scare them into thinking twice next time.
I read an article in the Independent about sexual assaults on the tube and it was so eye opening. It reassured me that this is a big problem, especially in London and it shouldn’t be ignored. People feel silly and embarrassed to talk about it but it’s upsetting and we all need to be brave and show them they can’t ever touch someone that doesn’t want to be touched.
In January this year, the Independent wrote:
“Statistics from the British Transport Police (BTP) showed that between 1 January 2014 and 8 December 2015, 322 sexual assaults were reported on the London Underground network between 5pm and 7pm, along with 291 from 8am until 10am. This compares to just 110 between 11pm and 1am.
Sarah Green, the acting director of the End Violence Against Women Coalition, said: “These figures tell a compelling story about how sexual harassment is mostly experienced during daytime commuter journeys – not during late-night social hours.”
The findings “explode a myth that women who have been drinking or who are dressed a certain way provoke sexual harassment, because the victims at peak morning and early evening travel times are largely working women making commuter journeys”, she added.
“The figures may also similarly explode myths about perpetrators of sexual harassment, because at 8am they are sober men who purposefully look for chances to offend, not late-night opportunists,” said Ms Green.
Read the full article in the Independent here: Sexual Assault on the Tube
Some of you also may have seen the advert on TV about reporting sexual abuse on the tube. It’s eye opening and worth watching to be able to see what actually happens on a daily basis.
Watch the full ad campaign here: Report it to Stop it
If this happens to you or if you know anyone that is going through the same thing, I urge you to phone the police and help put a stop to it.