Wonder if Lauren Henderson could extract any new style feminist enjoyment from this…
Barbara Felix // 4 November 2007
In response to Abi’s piece about sexual harassment, couldn’t help but be reminded of an incident that happened on a bus I was on earlier this week. As we were crawling along the rat run route from Oxford Road to Piccadilly, almost at a standstill in the traffic, a man came up to the window on the opposite side of the bus to me, breathed on the glass, wrote something in the steam, and then proceeded to unzip his kecks and wank against the side of the bus. Two female students were sat by this particular window, so they were obviously the ones who got the closest view of this dubious bout of ‘entertainment’, but the whole bus load of passengers, and the driver, were party to it because he made a point of whacking the side of the bus really fucking hard, and loud, with his fist just before performing the above act, and once more afterwards for good measure, making us all jump out of our skin. To make it worse, it was actually a new, clean Finglands bus that got the benefit as well… Even at the time something like this happens, you can’t help but speculate in your mind as to the appropriate way to react to the un-reactable to… I did at first hope that the bus would move before he was finished, leaving him exposed and ridiculous on the pavement, but when that didn’t work, I did toy with the idea of opening the window above his head, leaning over the two students in the process, and gobbing on him, but figured that would be less than ideal given that we didn’t appear to be going anywhere and he was built like a brick shithouse.
To add a slight context to this occurrance, I should also point out that I was on a bus last year where a teenage girl threw herself at the window, screaming ‘GOD I LOVE YOU!’ and badly embarrassing the fifty something man who was sat by said window in the process, and that this is not the first time I’ve seen men either make obscene gestures, or thump the window, in order to harass a woman on a bus I’ve been on.
On a more optimistic point, I should also like to mention that there was a case in the local paper about a month ago where a teenage girl had her boobs grabbed by a man on her way home from school, which Greater Manchester police are investigating, and do appear to be taking seriously.