So Many See and Hear

j church

By Thao Lam (October 25, 2017)

Several years ago I was visiting SF from LA and seated on the outbound J Church street car. A man approached a woman who was with a group of friends. He commented on how pretty she was, badgered her to go out with him, and to give him her phone number. She said ,”no,” a few times. He moved close enough to touch her but didn’t even as she turned her body away.

People looked away pretending not to see or hear. Probably because it happens so often that it’s commonplace.

I said, “Hey, she’s clearly not interested so why don’t you leave her alone?”#(Oh shit, what did I do? Will he hurt me)?

He went off on me. “No one was talking to you! You know why? Because you’re ugly! Expletive. Expletive. Expletive.

What seemed like an eternity, he got off on the next stop. Still yelling and cursing. I think all who were within earshot, let out a collective sigh of relief.

I was getting off soon and stood up. I asked if the woman was ok? She said she was and thanked me. We made small talk and it turned out she was a social work student on vacation with friends. Friends whose eyes seem to bore holes in the street car floor.

I realize what has angered, saddened, and exasperated me since the renewed, “MeToo” campaign last week, is seeing the “roll call,” and that so many people knew and know. So many people see and hear.


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