This isn’t an easy blog for me to write.
But due to the increase in abuse on public transport and now the discussion that has arisen from comments made by Jeremy Corbyn in regard to looking at consulting the public on whether women should have separate carriages to avoid abuse & feel safer, I feel I need to write this.
In 1990, at the age of 20. I got ready for a job interview in Wembley, London. I was a student and in the summer holidays, I needed a job. I decided to get the tube & over ground to my interview. It was a bright summers day, what was there to worry about. I was thinking about the interview, feeling positive, feeling happy.
I got on public transport, the tube, the over ground. I can’t quite remember when it happened, at what time the group of young men got aboard the train. But I remember them looking at me, laughing and then approach. They grabbed me, they touched me, in places they shouldn’t have. They laughed. I was scared but never showed it. I swore at them, I never swore normally, but I wanted them to stop touching me. I told them to leave me alone. They continued.
The train had other passengers on, a man sat across from me. He put his head down while they attacked me. I couldn’t believe that no one would have not said to them to stop. I thought it was fear of what they might do to him or the other passengers. Quite frankly I was ashamed that no one wanted to help me.
Then as soon as they had appeared, they left, they got off the train. I was so relieved ; I looked at the man across from me. I couldn’t help it, I said – I hope you are ashamed.
I carried on to my interview. I never reported the incident. I don’t know why I didn’t. But I suspect many didn’t, who have gone through similar. I survived & dealt with it. I even excused those who didn’t intervene. They were scared.
But why should we accept this. I certainly would not accept this now.
The answer is not to have separate train carriages for women. The answer is to tackle the abuse.
Firstly there needs to be more staff employed by the train providers, and on public transport.
There needs consideration taken to have more CCTV. And to have signs saying this.
And there needs to be a campaign. A campaign on public transport, to raise awareness. A campaign where we don’t look the other way, but we care about each other. We are a community that won’t tolerate any abuse.
National politicians should have discussions with public transport providers to start a campaign to tackle the abuse on our public transport systems.
So that that no one has to go through what I went through.