I have also experienced incidents where guys try to squeeze me into a corner or they pretend to sleep and try to "lean" their heads on my shoulder.
I don't stand for it - none of it.
Either I move away immediately, or I poke the guy awake and tell him he is encroaching into my space.
It usually ends with a "sorry-sorry-sorry" from the now embarrassed guy - I don't care if it's unintentional even - there should be respect for other's personal space!
The worst I have witnessed and helped to deter further damage was when I was on the MRT train with a friend.
We decided to stand at the side where the door doesn't open, and my friend leaned against the glass partition beside the seats.
A few stops in, a guy enters and leans against the pole next to the partition.
All seemed fine at first, but as I was talking to my friend, I began to notice that he was inching closer.
Within 10 minutes, he was leaning on my friend!
My friend was in shock and seemed flustered as to what to do. What did I do? I got mad.
I immediately poked him in the shoulder and said in a loud voice: "Hello, excuse me, please don't lean on my friend here. Make space please!"
At this point, I should mention that the train was not crowded - so it was pretty obvious what his intentions were.
Women should learn to make a stand in such instances.
I learnt this from my mother, who got flashed at by some nutter at our old HDB block in Bedok. Her only weapon was her voice - so she screamed and scared the flasher off.
Since then, she has always taken a long umbrella everywhere she goes.
My advice to women, if you feel like something is wrong, trust your instincts and call the perpetrator out on it.
Don't ever be embarrassed, scared or shy about it. My first step is usually to turn around and look at the guy squarely in the eye - that usually stops their intended action.
But if it still doesn't deter him, face him and say loudly: "Hello what are you doing?"
Trust me, once your instincts kick in, you will know the next steps to take, like calling the police, alert the train authorities, etc.
Of course, it also helps that other commuters come to the support of the victim, rather than take a video and upload it to websites.
We need people to be decent human beings. Come forward and help, and stop such useless, voyeuristic behaviour!
Ms Lynn Dresel
This article was published on May 9 in The New Paper.
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