Facebook Post: June 3, 2014

Quick Poll:

  1.  What would your thoughts/reaction be if a stranger sat down directly next to you on a half-empty train with plenty of free seats?
  2. How would your reaction be impacted if that stranger then proceeded to spread their leg all the way over into your half of the bench and start rapidly shaking it against you?
  3. And how relevent are the sex/gender of you and/or the stranger?

And if you want to know my answer: This happened to me this morning, I determined that the dude was a creeper, I felt horribly uncomfortable, and I moved to a different car at the next station. Just curious if other people would claim that I’m reading too much into having my personal space invaded and being inappropriately touched.

****************************

People’s responses:

Male responder from DC:  I had the misfortune of riding the metro to work for way too long… There is always an asshole or weirdo on the train. Next time pull a legendary [NAME REDACTED] move and puke on them… [Not sitting next to someone when there are empty seats] is an unspoken rule of the metro. It ‘s the equivalent of the dude in the bathroom that wants to use the urinal next to you, even though there are 10 empty ones to choose from. It’s just not cool…

Female responder from NYC:  haha i tend to take the approach of looking them directly in the eye and asking “why are you touching me?” and “you should back up.” …i would not do this if i were alone in the train of course, then i would just leave, but i like to make it known their actions are not appropriate.

Female responder from DC:  I’d be annoyed/creeped out, too. There’s just an unspoken rule that you don’t sit next to someone unless there are no free seats alone left, right?

Male responder from Europe:  Yup start looking for pepper spray

Female responder from DC:  NO. Weird no matter the gender. No.

Female responder from DC:  Sitting next to you when there are seats available is odd and inconsiderate, but when they start shaking their leg against you, there’s something…fetishy about that? I was skeeved out just reading this. ><

Female responder from DC:  that is the price you pay for being a beautiful blue-eyed blonde. Seriously, the next time look him in the eye and say “Buzz off. I work for the secret service.” Rather than doing yoga you might want to take a self defense course. Pepper spray only works if you have it in hand when you are attacked.

Male attorney responder from DC:  Offended. It is an invasion of space. Legally speaking it constitutes assault and battery. The offense is escalated if the invader is male and the victim female. In some states it could be a sex crime.

Male responder from Europe:  Where do you live, again??

Female responder from NYC:  I totally would have moved as well. Nobody has the right to invade your space. You absolutely have the right to remove yourself if you feel uncomfortable, no apologies or explanations necessary

Female responder from NYC:  1) Regardless of the intentions, it overstepped your personal boundaries. You owe no apologies.  2) Odds are he was a creeper. I’m glad you trusted your instincts.

Male responder from NYC:   I would have, independent of the sex of the other person, spoken to them in the eye and said “I don’t think anyone has ever been do forward about their affection for me. Let me express my feelings on this…” And push them to the floor. “Love hurts.”

Female responder from NYC:  #YesAllWomen have been creeped on in public places in a slightly ambiguous way that makes them wonder if this is about to turn into one of those other, non-ambiguously scary and/or icky experiences; #YesAllWomen have a right to protect, assert, remove, or defend themselves regardless of ambiguity. (And while I’m at it, #YesAllMen have a responsibility to make sure they are behaving in respectful and non-creepy ways toward women, thereby rendering the need for pepper spray obsolete.)

Female responder from the south:  Run & grab pepper spray

Female responder from the south:  I just read this yesterday and I have been thinking it over since. I think that, yes, this is someone violating your space and assaulting you. The advice I have always been given is to be assertive. That is, do not let this person think they have you at a disadvantage. These things are about power and these are weak people looking to take advantage were they can. Square your shoulders and look at them directly. Imagine you are Andy. I think it is good to put space between yourself them right away. Stand up move away but keep that eye contact. You be the strong one. Do not be fearful. You are young, physically fit and capable of more than you know. Stay standing. And then I think the next thing I might do is pull out my phone and snap a pic. Let him worry. And I would report it. I believe Metro has posters up about this stuff.


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