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.