Groped on train to work
Another morning, another bloody delay to my (already pretty bleak) commute to work. I open my phone and then Twitter to script yet another 140 characters, enlightening my local train service and my 10 followers to all the ways the disruption they have brought to my morning will completely s*** over the remainder of my day.
I’m often astounded by how creative my tweets can become as a result of numerous train delays and hot sweaty carriages; soaking with the stench of the weekly slog. If you haven’t entered the realm of keyboard-warrior-ing before, it’s a truly cathartic experience (but gut wrenchingly shameful when that one cyber-stalky colleague finds your profile and thinks it’s totally fine to casually question your cortisol levels over Tuesday’s coffee club… ). The pleasant invisibility of social media would only in a matter of minutes vanish and be replaced with a harsh hypervisibility.
Little did I know that roughly fifteen minutes later, a man would grope the inside of my leg in a train packed with fellow commuters, content with ignoring my palpable distress. Little did I know that soon a painful shock of perspective–which I didn’t ask for, need or deserve–which twisted that morning’s commute to work thinking that a delay to my journey would probably be the low-point of my day.
I first felt the squelchy rub of a thick, black leather jacket rub against my back. I gradually edged forward, assuming the closeness of a fellow passenger (we were stood bum to bum) was due to the rush hour sardine-ing that I’ve grown accustomed to. However, he kept moving backwards so that we played a game (which I had not voluntarily participated in) where his movements gradually shadowed mine; each gentle press of his backside against mine beginning to feel more and more sinister. I threw the bastard a dirty look over my right shoulder and shuffled forward, more deliberately this time, in a bid to end this involuntary play-time and win the match. He then proceeded to reach behind him, speedily search for the area between my legs with his thick sausage-like fingers and painfully pinch the area that my biology teacher called a perineal. I felt immediately sick. And ashamed.
And, now regretfully, sorry: sorry that I had the audacity to challenge a male stranger for encroaching my personal space. I gasped and tears filled my eyes. None of my fellow train passengers asked if I was ok. And they certainly did not condemn this man for sexually assaulting me.
I arrive at work and tell no one. I don’t write angry tweets on my commute to work anymore.