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First-person account from CTA "grinding" victim -- and what you can do if you're a victim

I've written a few times in the past about CTA sexual perverts -- whether gropers, wankers or flashers. Trish commented yesterday about her experience with a "grinder" on the 135 bus. I'm making a full post of it to bring more attention to this problem, and because she has good ideas about what a victim should do. Thanks for speaking up, Trish:

I was sexually harassed this morning on the 135. I was standing near the front of the bus, against the driver's side wheel well, when we pulled up to Wacker and Columbus and a large number of people exited. As usual, I squeezed up against the well to make room for the exiting passengers, so I didn't realize at first what was happening -- I thought what I was feeling was just the pressure of people passing by. Suddenly I realized that this creep behind me was grinding his genital area against me. More on reflex than anything else, I wheeled around and yelled at him to get away, although sadly I didn't have the presence of mind to take a picture of him. After I yelled, a blonde lady paused as she was exiting the bus to say "Just so you know, he did it to me, too."

1) I seem to remember reading a comment about this guy on this site before -- he's Latino, about 5', possibly with a mustache, wearing a red, white and green jacket, and reeks of booze. This happened to me once before, also on the 135, and with the same guy, but I didn't know enough to do what I did this time: I called the police and filed a report.

2) To all the people who gave me weird/dirty looks when I yelled at him: Sorry to disturb your commute, but I'm not the crazy one. Should your mother/sister/daughter find herself in a similar situation, I hope her fellow passengers are a little kinder. Because the alternative is to remain silent, and just stand there and take the abuse. Speaking of which,

3) To the blonde lady: Your tone suggested that you may have been the person leaning heavily on my arm this morning on the way down Lake Shore, and that you were doing so to get away from the creep. First, I'm sorry I didn't move. I couldn't reach the next pole over and I'm so used to being squashed in the mornings that it seemed less like a signal and more par for the course. Believe me when I say if I'd known he was there I would have made more space for you even if it meant some shoving and pissing off people on my other side. Next time, even if you don't want to confront the guy, tap me on the shoulder. SAY something. I will do my best to help you. I will move. I will take his picture. Nobody should have to put up with this sh*t. Which brings me to

4) Ladies, if he bothers you, call him out, humiliate him before the rest of the bus/train car, and call the police! Note the time, date, run # and bus # and call the CTA too. Reporting is the only way to stop him. This is predatory sexual behavior, and it is NOT your fault, and the only way to protect yourself and your fellow passengers is to get the word out, to us and to the authorities.

Comments

Bravo, Trish. I hope your efforts will stop this creep, and encourage others to speak up if he hasn't gotten the message yet.

And another thing: If you are on a bus or a train and someone shouts or otherwise indicates that she is being harrassed or attacked by some pervert, do something!

Men and women both. Take his picture, push him away, call 911. Don't just stand there and make her deal with it alone.

it seems to me that if it's groinal contact the creep looking for, ladies should be eager to provide it--swiftly, and with the knee.

Good job, Trish. As I've always said, don't be afraid to get loud. Whether it's a grinder, an aggressive panhandler, a thug or some other creep, get loud. If you're wrong and you find out immediately, you can apologize. But don't worry about "offending" someone right then and there. I've seen people say nothing becauae they're worried about "offending" the person, wrongful accusation, whatever. Most of the time you know when you're being harassed. I'm a pretty big guy, so I don't get as much harassment, but if you feel pressured, man or woman, get in their face. 98 percent of the time, they'll back off and slink away.

This person is a serial molester. He forced himself on me on the 147 and I know others who have had the same experience. What you need to do is report the problem to the CTA. The person I spoke with is James Higgins and he can be reached at [email protected] He was fully aware of this individual and even sent me a photo for me to ID him. He said you can do 2 things if this happens: ask the bus drive to sound the silent alarm and a police car will meet the bus at the next stop, or call 911 and request it yourself. Apparently they don't yet have enough evidence to convict him, so the more people who report the problem hopefully the sooner he'll be arrested and convicted.

I think I was on the same bus as you, Trish. I remember seeing this guy board the bus with me at Belmont. We both were some of the last people who boarded, and I ended up very close to the front door. By the time that you got off the bus, I noticed that this creep had pushed his way back towards you. When I heard the commotion, I thought that it was just because he was being to aggressive moving further back down a crowded aisle, which is, as you say, pretty much par for the course on the 135.
Sorry to hear that you had such a bad run-in with this guy, but I'll definately keep an eye open for him in the future!

I am glad this post has been up for about nine hours and so far no troll has posted the usual, "girls make this up because they just want attention" bullshit that always seems to follow. Groping, grinding, flashing, etc. are real problems, especially on crowded trains and buses, and I'm happy to see that the gentlemen who have posted today not only realize that, but also encourage others to help out if someone else is being assaulted. It's no fun not to feel safe going about your daily business.

Thanks Trish for posting your story.

I didn't realize that there are silent alarms on the bus. Good to know.

In a related story, when my wife and I came up here from Charlotte a year and a half ago to look for an apartment, we were walking down Belmont, just about a block west from the Red Line station, when all of a sudden she stopped and had a shocked look on her face.

I had no idea what had happened, and she wouldn't respond. Then a guy walking toward us on the sidewalk started yelling at the homeless woman we had just walked by, "What did you do? Huh? What did you do?!"

Turns out, the homeless woman had hit my wife in the back, but I hadn't seen because she was right next to me. I turned toward the woman to yell at her, but my wife grabbed my arm and pulled me away. I then tried to call 911 to report the woman, but my wife didn't want to.

Later, she said she was just shocked and afraid, and somehow felt guilty for what had happened. She realizes now that she should have let me call the police, if for no other reason than to keep her from hitting anyone else for a day or two.

So, it's understandable to not want to do something if someone harrasses you on the bus, or anywhere else, but you have to remember that you don't deserve it, you didn't do anything, and you have to stand up for yourself.

Even if you are in shock, which is understandable, try at least making some kind of noise, anything to alert other passengers. Maybe then someone can help.

On a lighter note: My wife wouldn't believe that I hadn't seen the homeless woman hit her -- until later that summer when we took our dog to Montrose beach.

We were walking side by side, just like at Belmont, when a pack of running dogs knocked me to the ground. My wife kept walking for about 7 feet before she realized.

After that, she admitted that, maybe, I might not have been lying.

Beth:
I emailed your suggestion, because I think this is the man who did this to me on the Blue Line.

Of the women here who said it happened to them and they suspect it might be the same guy: Can you get a time consensus on when it happened to each of you? That might help in catching the guy. If he's on there at a particular time when he does it, it might be easier to catch him.

Hell, form a posse if you know when he makes his move, stake out a spot and catch him. You all will be famous heroes!

Does anybody know if something like this happened on the red line last night? I know that a woman complained to the driver, but I wasn't in the same car and couldn't see who he was talking to when he came back.

Kevin, thank you for posting my story. And thank you to all the commenters here for your support and kind words! My sympathies to those of you who have had similar experiences. Beth, I will email James Higgins today.

Now that I've read some of your stories, I WANT to see this guy again -- so I can call 911 and get him arrested. Dude's right -- maybe we should form a posse and go after him, a la Death Proof.

And Tecki, off topic, but I have to ask -- was that pack of dogs leashed???

Several years ago I was coming up the stairs from the Blue line Belmont stop and ended up right at eye level with a guy who had a hole cut out of the front of his pants and nothing on underneath. I didn't know what to think, didn't want to get involved, but after I got on my NB Kimball bus I saw him board a PACKED WB Belmont bus. I tried to get the driver of my bus to radio over to stop the Belmont bus or at least send the police out to meet it, but the driver was like, "Yeah, right. Nothin' I can do."

So catch this bozo on the 135 now in the winter while it's too cold for the situation to escalate. Eeeeewwwwww.

The posse idea is a good one.... one less creep on the CTA. Sometimes vigilante justice is a good thing, after all.

Maybe that guy's holiday present (he may not celebrate Christmas) ought to be a swift kick where it counts from everyone he's traumatized. Then about oh, maybe 10 years in jail next to Blaggie.

In these days of camera phones, why not take a picture of the offender to show to authorities?

My co-worker just forwarded me this story. Trish, this is practically verbatim what happened to me a few weeks ago after work on the 143 (Michigan Ave/Delaware) around 6:15pm. I even wondered if you had changed some details and I was the blonde woman you were referring to! Same situation, front of the bus, big crowd got on and I feel a guy right up on me in the back so I moved away because I wasn't sure that what happened had happened. I then stood and watched him to see if he was doing what I thought he was doing...he was leaning *very* close to a young woman where I had been standing but I couldn't tell because everyone was packed in until I saw her whip her head around and asked him to back up. I scooted back and told her to stand by me, she looked at me and I just said "I know...me too."
Same description too; very short hispanic guy, I remember him having very dilated pupils and seemed a little out of it. I could definitely identify him because I was burning his face into my memory. I just glared at him the entire ride and when I was about to get off the bus I told the bus driver and told her to keep an eye on him. Thank you for the email address Trish, I'm emailing the CTA right now!

I'm glad Trish said something and APPALLED that the other passengers was "inconvenienced." I was going to ask why the bus driver can't do anything...but I saw in the comments that there's a silent alarm. I'm glad. I've never had to experience this...and now I feel like I know what to do.

Sounds like this is the same guy who groped me at the Blue Line Western stop this past summer. As much as one might think they know how they'll react in a situation like that it's still a shock to have some stranger's hand your ass at 8:30 in the morning.

He waited until the train was approaching and then walked up on me and put his hand damn near up my skirt. He's fortunate I didn't have the wits at that second to push him into the oncoming train. I had no idea this guy's a serial groper. Unbelievable.

Holy crap. I was just checking this site for fun and I think this is the same guy who groped me on the 136 in January of this year. I was sitting toward the back of the bus, southbound around 7:30 a.m. - there were maybe 4 of us on the bus at the time because I live very far north and had just gotten on a few minutes before. This guy got on and sat toward the front at first. I was the only one sitting at the back of the bus (I like it back there). He got up and came to the back and sat behind me, and proceeded to stick his fingers under my arm. At first I thought he was hanging onto the seat and just being a clueless moron, but then he stroked the back of my neck, too - just above my shoulder-blades. The description these other riders give is EXACTLY the same. I shot him a look and then got up and moved to another part of the bus. I should have said something, but I think at the time I was just dumbfounded.

I am not surprised that I found comments here from other people with the same experience on the CTA 135 bus. Twice I bumped into this short and ugly man who rubbed against me on the bus 135 in the morning heading downtown. I wonder what can be done to stop him.

Today 4/3/13 at 6:30 pm I witnessed a young man on Northbound Redline train #835 car #2649 sit next to a female and proceed to touch himself under his clothes. He previously would stand too close to other female riders where they would have to move because of his inappropriate proximity. (train was not crowded) The young man african-american/ 5'6" ish dark skinned and smelled like smoke. His finger nails are long and brown. He wore a green hoodie with a black jacket over it...the jacket is torn in the back. baggy grey denim jeans with black sneakers. This is the second time i've seen him..today he got on the train at the Chicago station. Just wanted to let people know to be alert and look after one another. I reported what I saw the CTA.

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