A headline this morning in one of the news apps on my iPad caught my attention. It was about the problem of gropers on the tube. It brought back some unpleasant memories but mostly I remembered how common place it was.
For a few years I worked in London in the evenings. This involved getting a tube from central London to Liverpool Street . I , together with most other women was always aware of the danger of an unwanted hand in the wrong place....and the panic involved if that hand started moving.
At peak travelling times when we were all pushed together and there was no escape it happened to me several times and I was always aware of the danger.
The worst thing then was often on the train home. One particular night I moved my seat several times to get away from a very insistent man who leaned heavily on me and followed me as I searched for a single seat in the middle of other people.
When I reached my stop I almost ran to the ticket barrier and didn't dare to look around to see if the man was still following me. He wasn't thankfully.
This sort of harassment was then commonplace. Many people commented on it and advised on ways to avoid it or deal with it when it happened.
This morning I should not have been surprised that it was still happening but I was. I had actually forgotten all about it living here in deepest Cornwall but it was something that we all knew about and yet somehow us women did very little about it save run away...
I applaud those women today who are talking openly about it...it really is time those men realised that women travelling alone are not fair game...
I never carried anything with me, a spray or a loud whistle but they are available and should be used I think.
The papers are full of stories of appalling events. It's time to stop the harassment many of us felt and are still feeling.
Complaining takes time and energy and most of us just took it as a hazard to be aware of when travelling but I now regret not doing something about the men who thought we were fair game...
I'm just not sure what !
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