When fellow women are your first line of defense on Muni

In these #MeToo times, it’s inspiring to see women speaking up for themselves and standing up, sometimes literally, for one another. Here’s Muni rider Teresa with a disturbing but empowering commuter tale from the 1-California.

I take the 1 home from work every day around 6 p.m.

I’m usually pretty aware of my surroundings, but I had a particularly rough day at work, so I had my headphones in and I was seriously zoning out.

As I’m almost falling asleep, I hear this particularly loud voice above my music, and it starts to wake me up. I take off my headphones to find the source of the angry voice.

I looked toward the front of the bus and quickly realized that a man was yelling something at a woman. I listened a little harder, and I start hearing what he’s saying to her. I’m not going to repeat it, but it was some horrible stuff.

I’m no stranger to catcalling or street harassment, but this was on another level.

This is something that I can’t stand for. Any time I see some asshole intimidating a woman on the street or on Muni, I have to step in. It’s gotten me into a lot trouble, but I cannot just walk away. Most of the time, I’m the only one. I’ve never been helped when some dude is harassing me, and there are very few times when I’ve seen another person step in.

So, I put my phone in my backpack and zip it up thinking “OK, here we go again.” And my brain starts running through all the possible scenarios: “What if he attacks me? Does he have a weapon? What if he goes after someone else?”

As I’m about to get up and confront him, another woman pushes past me, walks directly up to the woman being harassed, and simply says “Do you feel safe?”

At this point, the woman at the front of the bus is shaking so hard she can’t even speak. So the other woman put her hand on the lady’s shoulder and said “Come to the back of the bus with me, we can sit together.”

As the two women are walking to the back of the bus, that guy gets up and tries to follow them, yelling vile comments the whole time. But as he’s trying to get to them, a few other women stand up, and they block his path. Then, I got up and stood with them. And before I knew it there were six or seven women creating this barrier.

That man looked at us, yelled one last shitty thing, and got off at the next stop. Because he realized there was no way he could win against all of us.

Immediately after he leaves, the woman he was harassing bursts into tears. He had been following her for 10 blocks. She didn’t know what to do, so she got on the bus. She was five months pregnant. We all just listened to her and after she stopped crying, she thanked us. The woman who came to her rescue sat down next to me. My stop was the next one. As I left, the only thing I could do was look at her and say thank you. After I got off the bus, I started crying. I was sad because we have to deal with situations like this ALL the time, but I was crying happy tears because, for once, I felt like I wasn’t alone, and I felt how powerful we are when we stand together.

Props to these women for being the first and only line of defense during this scary encounter.

Got other important news for your fellow riders? Tag us on Facebook, Instagram, or Twitter. Our email inbox, muni.diaries.sf@gmail.com, is always open!

Pic by Thomas Hawk on Flickr

Video: Making a grand entrance from Muni

There’s extra, and then there is EXTRA.

This guy in a vampire costume is making the party entrance I’ve always dreamed of. San Francisco Examiner photographer and keen Muni observer @jachristian saw this fellow emerge from the Muni station escalator in a most fantastic and “fuck the fall risk” fashion.

We have more moments ranging from “Hmm. Cool.” to WTF on and off Muni, in our appropriately named WTF page.

You too can add an entry to our collective journal. Got other important news for your fellow riders? Tag us on Facebook, Instagram, or Twitter. Our email inbox is always open!

Coveting thy neighbor’s Walkman on Muni

We don’t usually know how close we came to getting jacked on the bus. One rider, Curtis Richard Tom does. He recalls a unique o/h on Muni conversation that provided oddly, unsettlingly intimate insight into a would-be theft. Here’s Curtis:

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This happened back when cassettes were the main mechanism in personal music devices. I was using a recordable Walkman, with manual/auto level record, pitch/speed control.

I had some blank space at the end of a tape. I hadn’t had a chance to flip the cassette yet, so I still had my headphones on. Through the foam ear pads, I could hear the couple in front of me having a quiet argument.

“Yeah, it’s a nice one, but no,” said the girl.

“Why not?” Asked the guy.

“You see how tight it’s strapped up under his armpit?” My Walkman was webstrapped pretty close.

“Yeah, so?” he countered.

“You’re not getting it from him unless you knock him out. Subduing him might be possible, but it wouldn’t be trivial. Forget it.”

He looked me in the eye once. “Yeah, fine.”

I was done listening to the silent hissing of my blank spot of tape and finally flipped it like I hadn’t heard them.

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More overheard convos:
A misinterpretation of your “meaning”

Photo by @zacharyzito

Making friends on the late-night Metro

What happens on the last train doesn’t always stay on the last train.

In this episode of our podcast, Na’amen Gobert Tilahun shares what happened no one fateful blurry night he jumped on a Metro, and about the importance of good friends who will stand up for one another no matter what.

Na’amen is a writer whose craft spans multiple genres. The followup to his 2016 novel, The Root, is The Tree, which is coming out later this year. Learn more about him at naamentilahun.com.

If you haven’t subscribed to our podcast, we’d love if you lent us your ears! Here’s Na’amen:

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P.S. Bonus late-night train story that might tickle your fancy: an impromptu disco dance party on the last BART train. Join us on Instagram for more only-in-SF goodness.

Photo credit: Right Angle Images

Eyes open and elbows cocked: Muni ‘humper’ on the 48

Muni rider Kyle tipped us off to some upsetting news: it appears another Muni humper is on the loose. As Kyle said in his Facebook post:

This disgusting POS was high as a kite and humping the bus, then tried to move onto a couple of women standing next to me. I managed to pull one of the women away. The other was not as lucky, although she did call him out! He exited the bus (48 quintara) at the next stop. Warning: video shows him humping the bus just before he moved over to the first woman.

Kyle’s public post includes the aforementioned video.

Earlier this year, rider/reader Courtney recounted her one-on-one with a Muni frotteur for us—a suspect was arrested shortly thereafter. In 2009, Muni Diaries readers helped SFPD nab another man who was “humping” the shoulders of female riders. That story started as a horrified account from an N-Judah rider; after publication, more readers shared similar experiences that helped point police in the right direction.

Sure, we all giggle like 10-year-olds over the word “humper,” but all transit riders should note that this is a serious, illegal, and absolute bullshit proclivity. We’re sad to see that it’s still happening today.

If you have information for the police, here’s the SFPD tip line.

Muni rider arrested for lighting passenger’s hair on fire

TGIF

Police arrested a Muni rider for setting a woman’s hair on fire on the bus, reports SFist. A new nightmare for those of us with long (flammable?) hair, the suspect got onto the bus near Eighth and Market, reports SFist, and here’s what happened:

Police say that a 37-year-old man who was seated behind the victim pulled out a lighter and set the victim’s hair on fire, then fled the scene. He was later located, police say, and was arrested on suspicion of aggravated assault.

The victim was not injured (physically, that is).

Perhaps related: Top 10 WTF Muni Moments of 2016.

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