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0202 – Points of View from Jerusalem

Sexual Harassment on Egged Buses in Jerusalem, A Digest:

[The following post went viral:]
"[…] I hope that this post will help the next harassed person to cope in a similar situation, or even just help recognizing it.
In the past 6 months, I have been harassed twice on the bus, by the same person, and today I saw him harassing someone else.
Six months ago, I got on the 74 bus and sat at the back by the window. At some point a seemingly innocent old man (in his 70's or 80's) sat next to me. During the ride, I felt him forcing his body on mine, slowly moving closer to me, and then putting his hands on my thighs. I didn’t know what to do, but after a few minutes, I got up and sat down in another seat.

On Monday, March 12, as usual, I got on the 74 bus, and the same old man sat down next to me. I recognized him from the previous incident but stayed in my place. I wanted to see if it really was harassment, or if I had overreacted. Again I felt the same terrible sensations that confirmed my feeling from last time. I immediately got up and moved to sit in front of him. I looked him straight in the eyes and glared at him. I told my friends a little bit about the terrible experience, but nothing more. That’s how I coped with the situation.

Today Wednesday, March 14, I was on the same bus, and again saw that old man. He didn’t notice me, I was sitting at the back, and I saw him sitting down next to a young girl, about 14 years old. I immediately moved to improve my vantage point. This time, I couldn’t remain indifferent. I saw that she was going through the same terrible harassment I experienced. I told her to come and sit next to me. I took a photo of him and called the police. I explained the situation and described him, but he understood that something was going on and got off the bus. I got off after him. […] I was with the police on the phone, waiting for a police car to arrive; I waited 15 minutes with him standing in front of me, waving his cane at me, threateningly, until he got into a taxi and got out of there. The police never came.

The fact that I got on the same bus three times, and saw him do the same terrible thing, makes me think of the amount of times this must have happened, and the number of women and men who have been harassed. I really hope that this person, who harasses girls/boys probably on a regular basis, gets caught. The experience isn’t pleasant, and I wouldn’t wish it on anybody. Pay attention, open your eyes, and don’t remain indifferent to situations like this.”

– West Jerusalemite Woman on Jerusalemites FB Group

"Yesterday [Wednesday, March 14], a young woman, Jerusalem resident, published a post on Facebook in which she details how she was sexually harassed twice by an elderly passenger on the 74 bus to Har Homa [neighborhood]. In the post, she [also] says she has seen that very same passenger harass a 14-year-old girl. Following her post, hundreds of women in Jerusalem told of their similar experience of sexual harassment on buses.
The post received more than 1600 likes, 400 shares, and 500 comments. Most of the comments were supportive, and some of them were stories of other women, telling of how they have been harassed on buses in Jerusalem by different men. […]”

– Kol Ha'ir newspaper

"Egged’s management has directed its drivers on all inner-city buses to put up notices explaining the way passengers should act if they have been sexually assaulted on the bus. This instruction was given following the fact that 50 percent of female passengers on public transportation have reported that they have been sexually harassed while riding public transportation. […]"

– myNet Jerusalem

[In the photo, a notice soon to be put up on all buses in Jerusalem:]
“Dear passenger, If you have been sexually harassed or physically harmed, it is your right to ask the driver to drive the bus to the police station or to act according to the instructions of a nearby police officer, if present.”

#Sexual_Harassment #Public_Transportation