I was groped on the train today.
I had gotten onto the train at Central, walked up the stairs to the upper carriage and quickly sat down at the aisle end of a three-seater. A few minutes later, at the next stop Redfern, people were walking past me to alight. I was daydreaming, looking out the window on my side of the carriage, when suddenly, there was a hand grabbing at my left breast.
It was for a second or two at most, when my mind registered that out of the blue, there was someone, very deliberately, touching me. Instinctively, I raised an arm and shoved the arm away, but not before he had managed to get a few squeezes in. There was resistance as I pushed, like he didn’t expect it and wanted to keep at it. However, the man smoothly let go and walked out, and I sat there, watching him walk up the platform.
The carriage was less than half full, with perhaps one person every three or four seats. There was a man a seat away from me, who would have very likely seen it all or at least noticed something. All of the above happened in dead silence, with no commotion except when I pushed the offender’s arm away. My entire train ride was silence.
It was surreal to me. The most he would have seen of me was at most a few seconds as I walked up the stairs and sat down. The man had walked from behind me, up the aisle, and wouldn’t have seen my face or anything as he reached for my chest. I think he must have picked me as a target as soon as I got on the train, then carried out the plan as he got off the train. It was like a routine, cold and premediated; get up, walk, grope, get out, with no break in between.
As soon as he had let go, my mind started whirring. What the fuck just happened? Did I just get sexually assaulted for the first time? I should do something as he walks down those stairs. I should get up and follow him, make a commotion, before those train doors close! Did anyone in the carriage see what happened? Maybe if I got off at the next stop I would be able to stop him. (That would have been impossible anyway, but especially since the next stop was more than fifteen minutes away.) However, another part of my brain, still in a shocked stupor, overrode these thoughts. I spent the train ride alternating between kicking myself for being a ‘passive’ victim, and imagining myself crash-tackling or physically hurting the man and confronting him on the platform. Either way, I was furious with him. And partly, but significantly, myself. I can still feel the phantom sensation of his hand on me.
As for his appearance? A tall, white, balding old man in tradesman/labourers’ clothing. I didn’t see his face.