About 50 people gathered in a basement room at the Bronson Centre Wednesday night to share stories about harassment on OC Transpo buses and brainstorm solutions.
People like Sophie, who after being chased up and down a bus by an intoxicated man attempting to “hit on” her, had a bystander tell her he thought the incident was “hilarious.”
People like Heather, who after a man tried to hug and kiss her at a transit station, was shocked to see all the people who refused to take action.
And people like Julie Lalonde, who organized the Hollaback! Ottawa event, who in addition to being an advocate, was a target of harassment herself.
“(The event) is a platform for people to share their experience of harassment on transit, but also to create a space where we can have a community-wide dialogue about what we’re going to do about it,” Lalonde told Metro.
Lalonde is pushing for OC Transpo to create a public service announcement, in both print and on OC Transpo buses, educating onlookers about how they can safely intervene when they see harassment on OC Transpo buses.
OC Transpo’s David Pepper, who also attended the meeting, said it was “essential” for the transit outfit to hear these stories.
“Women that are experiencing any kind of safety concerns are people we want to talk to, to be able to both understand their experience, but also to share with them the opportunities they have to help us improve any of the programs and systems we have in place,” said Pepper.