Transit Police use Reddit to help sexual harassment victim

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Computer via Shutterstock / Vancity Buzz composite

B.C. Transit Police assisted a young woman online Sunday night after she reportedly experienced sexual harassment on board the number 19 bus heading to Metrotown.

The 20-year-old woman was on the 19 bus when a man allegedly began verbally assaulting and threatening her. She later took to social networking site Reddit to ask whether or not she should report the man to police.

“I was sexually harassed on the 19 bus late last night heading East to Metrotown. Had an older black, skinny male tell me how he was ‘going to follow me home, find where I live, and give me the love I deserve.’ He then told me ‘I couldn’t escape him and he’d find me someday.'”

She then notes the bus driver had to physically restrain the man from following her off of the bus.

Transit Police were quick to comment on the women’s post, giving her a phone number and text number she could call to report the incident. A number of other commenters also mentioned the police authority as a resource.

Constable Graham Walker, Community Relations Officer for Transit Police, said the comments referring the victim to his department were very encouraging, stating that their support indicated the confidence people have in the authority’s ability to deal with assaults on transit and investigate thoroughly.

Walker is constantly monitoring the Vancouver sub-Reddit where users continually post about things going on in Vancouver, including news stories, eye-witness accounts and reports like yesterday’s sexual assault posting.

“This is exactly why we are on Reddit,” says Walker, who notes he was alerted to the post after someone mentioned TransitPoliceBC in the comments. Transit Police wholly encourage anyone who may witness or experience anything unusual or dangerous on public transit to report the incident to their office, but so many go left unreported. Users do, however, often take to social media, such as Reddit, to recount their experience, and that is where Walker is often able to step in.

Transit Police are hence very active on Reddit, engaging with other commenters, answering questions and providing resources for people to report incidents. Recent cases, such as a story published by The Georgia Straight about excessive force used by a Transit Police officer resulted in the authority taking to Reddit to answer users’ questions about their jurisdictions.

Transit Police say the victim did submit a police report after posting on Reddit and police have since requested video footage from the bus and will be following up with the bus driver. The incident and suspect description are being shared with other police departments.

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Jill Slattery Jill Slattery was born and raised in Vancouver, where she also earned an Arts degree from UBC in English and Creative Writing. She is an avid TV-watcher and a shameless Taylor Swift fangirl. Jill is a Staff Writer at Vancity Buzz. Contact her at jill@vancitybuzz.com
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