None of us expect public transportation to be a safe haven or the men and women who drive buses bastions of good will. However, none of us expects to be assaulted, threatened, and then completely ignored by the driver. That's what one woman claims happened to her in San Francisco last night.
Meredith Yayanos posted this disturbing account of harassment while waiting for a bus in S.F. last night. It's incredibly upsetting, so if you're not in the mood to throw your computer out of a window and then run it over with a Monster Truck, you should probably skip it:
Last night I took the bus into San Francisco from Sausalito to see the incredible Anna Von Hausswolff perform at the Rickshaw Stop. After the show, I walked a friend over to Civic Center BART, ate a fast food snack, and then headed to the 70/80 Golden Gate Transit bus stop at Mission & 5th. During that time, the battery on my phone died. Bleh. Bad timing. I endured a lot of casual harassment from different men at different points and felt pretty spooked. I waited alone at 5th and Mission between midnight and one o'clock for my Sausalito bus. At one point a leering dude in a sportscar backed up to the bus stop and asked "hey, baby, where you going, can I give you a ride" and when I shook my head, he called me a cunt and peeled off. Which sucked… but you know what was way worse? *Another* guy showed up shortly after that, got WAY closer to me than necessary, looked me up and down, gave me a "hey baby, how you doin'" and, when I was unwilling to engage in conversation with him, became infuriated and wouldn't leave me alone.
Over the course of five minutes, he verbally threatened me with rape, a beating, and kept trying to lurch closer to me. When I barked "BACK OFF" and raised my fists, he took a couple steps back, but unzipped his pants and started pantomiming taking his dick out while continuing to call me a bitch and a stuck-up ho. "I am going to slap you, bitch. You deserve to get raped. You deserve a dick in your ass. Stuck-up ugly slut. You're gonna get raped because you're a bitch and bitches deserve whatever they get." At one point he made a motion as if he was going for something tucked into the back of his pants. I just kept yelling at him as loudly and aggressively as I could. But I was genuinely scared at that point.
It was the middle of the night. I was alone, without a working phone or pepper spray. But we were in a brightly lit place, so I decided to stand my ground and keep yelling at him to stay the fuck away from me and hope the bus would arrive soon, which it did. I rushed to it. The doors to the bus opened, and I called to the driver, "this man just threatened to rape and beat me and started to expose himself, please don't let him on." Blank stare from the bus driver. My harasser actually pushed past me, got on the bus, sat down in the front seat, told the bus driver "pay this bitch no mind, she's a crazy-ass prostitute" and laughingly told him, "she been harassing ME".
I again asked the bus driver to either get him off the bus or call the cops. The bus driver refused to do either, and then, as I watched, he laughed good-naturedly along with my harasser and *actually shook his hand* when the harasser reached over.
You can read the whole thing here.
As someone familiar with that corner and that stop, it's not difficult to image that this is all true. I've reached out to Golden Gate Transit for comment and I'll update the story as new information becomes available.
Update from Meredith Yayanos: Within hours of this post going viral, I received a call from Helen Moore, the CSD for Golden Gate Bus. It was a good call. They're paying attention. They want to fix this. I don't know what will happen with the driver who laughed and shook my harasser's hand, but their official statement is "We are listening and are investigating the matter at the highest level of our organization."
Image via AP