Website chronicles harassment on public transit 0
Alexa Dredge (left) and Katie Nordgren, both 4th year students at Simon Fraser University, have created a public forum online inviting people to share their stories of harassment on local trains and buses. (PHOTO SUBMITTED)
When Katie Nordgren started sharing her experiences of harassment on transit in the Lower Mainland, she quickly realized she wasn’t alone.
Most stories go something like this: a man tries to strike up a conversation by fishing for personal information. The woman politely declines. Then things go sour, from name calling to verbal threats to gay slurs and sexual harassment.
“I get hassled for not looking super feminine,” she told 24 hours via email. “One man ripped the earbuds I was wearing out of my ears from behind because I wouldn’t respond to what he was saying.”
The fourth-year Simon Fraser University student partnered with fellow women’s studies student Alexa Dredge to create a public forum to share tales of harassment on local transit. The website — translinkharassment.wordpress.com — already has more than 20 entries, with another 20 stories waiting to be posted, telling of everything from inappropriate touching to death threats.
Nordgren said an alarming trend is emerging from the stories, which she hopes authorities will take seriously.
“A surprising amount of threats of violence. A lot of vulgar and scary invitations for sex,” she said. “It’s delegitimized in our minds, we fear ‘making a fuss’ and don’t feel that our very real fear is a good enough reason to seek recourse.”
TransLink spokesman Derek Zabel deferred all questions on transit safety to Transit Police spokeswoman Anne Drennan, who didn’t return repeated calls by deadline.