Public Commute Nightmare

I felt violated.

I’m struggling with this inner turmoil. I am at lost for what I should do now. What action should I take?

I think I should cry now… but for what? For what has been done to me? For the frustration of my lack of action at that moment?

I am confused about what I actually feel. Am I sad? Am I angry? Am I… scared?

Sexual harassment – when is it ever okay? When is it ever okay to overlook it? When is it ever okay to let it just happen… to anyone? To myself? How big or how little the action is before you can call it sexual harassment?

People say you should have said something when it happened. But I wasn’t sure what was happening then until I have let it gone too far.

My sister and I were riding a public utility van home earlier tonight when I felt something poking my bum. At first, I just dismissed it as the seat might be broken or something similar so I shifted my position.

Moments later, the poking resumed. I tried to deter it and placed my hand behind me and that was when I discovered that there was an opening between the seat and the sandalan (backrest). I tried to feel around for the thing that kept poking me and found nothing. I got suspicious and my only thought was “put*ngin* sinusundot ng walang hiya yung pwet ko” (*tagalog curse word* this unshameful stranger is poking my butt). I was scared that he was doing it to my younger sister as well (she’s still 16). I felt murderous and took out my pen.

This is what the seating arrangement in the van looked like.

I waited for him to poke me again but this time I had my hand placed on my back ready to deter him from touching my underside. And I WAS RIGHT. I turned around, ready to stab him with my pen. It took everything for me not to do it. He should be thankful that my logical thinking kicked in.

Is it worth the jail time? Is it worth being known as the girl who stabbed her sexual harasser? Is it worth ending someone’s life to feel a 30-second satisfaction? No.

So I told him with a stern voice and a crazy look in my eyes (The one I use on our dogs when they misbehave which also makes them uncontrollably pee), “Lumayo ka sa akin. Ipapabarangay kita.” (Get away from me. I’ll have the barangay authorities get you) He then scurried away from my seat and sat at the far end of the van looking down like a kicked puppy. He knows what he did and didn’t even try to hide his guilt.

Where the perpetrator went after the confrontation.

It is actually important to know that this person is caller/barker (someone who calls people to help PUV drivers get passengers) at SM City Pampanga for Vans going to and fro Masantol/Macabebe. He is also known to have a few screws loose in the head.

He eventually got off the van while murmuring to himself like a true maniac.

I am at lost as to why this happened to me. There were other people besides him seated in the back of the van when the poking started but they didn’t say anything. They must have known how uncomfortable I was then – always shifting in my seat. Why didn’t they say something? *wishful thinking*

I wrote this post to get this uneasy feeling off my chest so I can get some sleep tonight. It’s a difficult experience and no matter how many times my mom or dad tell me to say something or do something when it happens, there’s actually nothing that can prepare me or anyone for when it actually does happen.

It’s confusing at first. You don’t know what’s really happening until it’s too late.

I have travelled solo in different and far places and this never happened to me. It saddens me that this occurred here where I reside. And of all people, someone I see on a regular basis (emphasis on “see” and not “know”). It’s quite disappointing and I hope no one would ever experience this especially my younger sisters. Else, I might just stab the man… or woman without thinking.

 

UPDATE: My mom promised me that she will report him and push the van operators to remove him immediately and indefinitely.

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