New submission : Michaela’s story!

Last summer, it was a very hot day and my brother dropped me off at the Riverview Park and Ride so that I could get to work. I was wearing a short summer dress (not that that REALLY matters) and saw that I was going to have to run to my bus if I was going to make it in time. As I ran across the parking lot to my bus, an ‘Out of Service’ bus drove by and the driver flung open the front doors and yelled, “Yeah, Baby!!!”

The driver of the bus that I was boarding just gave me a weird look and said, “Uhhhhh what was that…?”. I wish I hadn’t been caught so off guard because I could have totally bitched the driver out, taken photos, and got his ass fired. Instead I got on the bus feeling shocked and humiliated – I’d always seen street harassment as a problem, but experiencing it is a whole other ballgame!

It made me realize lots of things about rape culture – even the people in authority who we are supposed to report bus harassment to can be perpetrators themselves. My own father rolled his eyes when I told him that I filed a complaint with OC Transpo. My boyfriend doesn’t understand why those kinds of comments are not compliments no matter what I say.

I’m thankful for Hollaback! and Hollaback! Ottawa for giving victims a channel to validate their harassment experiences. It honestly terrifies me how common it is.