Investigations launched after CKNW reporter assaulted on a bus

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Chantal Coschizza CKNW

Two separate investigations have been launched after a CKNW reporter was loudly and repeatedly verbally assaulted on a bus while coming to work Wednesday morning.

Translink spokesperson Anne Drennan says investigations have been launched to determine what happened, who was responsible, and what could have been done.

Coast Mountain Bus Company will be investigating to see exactly what the situation was, what the bus driver knew, and take it from there. Transit Police will be investigating the actual suspect who obviously was harassing this woman on the bus. So there will be two separate investigations taking place.

CKNW’s Chantal Coschizza says except for one man, no one on the bus, not even the driver, did anything to help. Drennan says they will look into that as well.

We will be looking into how much the operator was aware of. Having said that there are things if the operator is aware of a situation on the bus that they can do. So they can pull over to a safe place, open the doors, contact the communications centre who can dispatch security police et cetera.

She says police will use footage from the bus to identify the man.

Drennan adds people being victimized and bus passengers nearby can text details to Transit Police directly at 87.77.77 and police will respond.

According to the head of the bus driver’s union these kinds of incidents are all too common on transit.

Nathan Woods says drivers assess the situation before deciding on the best approach, but he adds they are often damned if they do and damned if they don’t.

We don’t stop the bus and stop everything just to stop that person and interfere with it because it could escalate beyond what we are able to deal with.

Woods says drivers risk being assaulted if they step in, or facing disciplinary action.

But he says if the situation looks dangerous or someone calls for help they don’t hesitate on calling police.

And he says people can help by stepping in or taking advantage of Translink’s ‘see something, say something’ campaign.

While some people came to the aid of the CKNW reporter and producer on her nightmare bus ride to work Wednesday morning, it appears the bus driver was not one of them.

CKNW reporter Chantal Coschizza says her ride across the Granville Bridge, in a packed rush-hour bus, was interrupted by a middle aged man berating her for what she was wearing and shouting that her breasts were “hanging out”.

“That goes on for a few stops non-stop. And this guy walks up and just wedges himself in between me and the other dude and (says) ‘stop talking to her’. And the other guy (says) ‘no, no if you look down you can see her breasts.’”

Coschizza says the good samaritan was joined by a woman giving moral support but the driver did nothing.

She was most concerned when the man threatened to exit the bus with her.

Here is Coschizza’s Facebook post where she details the incident:

Today I was riding a full bus to work and got yelled at by a man that my “Tits were hanging out” and that everyone should look. I told him that this was incredibly rude and that he should stop, and he got closer to me, touched my arm and said “Well they’re hanging out!!” I told him again to either not look at me, to stop, or to get off the bus and he continued to yell incredibly gross stuff at me. After a few minutes of this another man on the bus wedged his way in between me and the yelling man and told him to stop talking to me, to which the yelling man replied “But if you look down you can see her tits.” This went on for a few more stops, before the yelling man finally got off and invited me to get off with him. Here are some things that bother me about this.
1. I’m not even going to write down what I was wearing because i doesn’t matter. But people should be able to wear whatever they want and feel safe going out. Other people should not feel that they have the power to comment on my body or what I wear because it is my decision no matter what. If my body or my dress is offending you then please don’t look, or take your opinion elsewhere.
2. I know some people are going to say maybe the man maybe had a mental illness. And i get it, but I also have a severe mental illness. Maybe not as severe as whatever he is going through if he does have one, but the thing is this is super conflicting to me. Because I would never use my mental illness as an excuse for making someone uncomfortable. I do understand not everyone can afford pills or treatment to control what they are feeling but maybe this raises other questions about mental illness treatment?
3. Why didn’t the bus driver do anything? The bus was silent (which was super embarrassing) and I’m 99% sure everyone could hear what was being said about me and my body…and isn’t it so easy to press a button and call transit police? Or just stop the bus and ask the man to get off? I’m not saying I need protection, or that I am relying on other people to take care of me. But I ride the bus instead of driving a car. In my car I feel safe and protected, and kind of expect the same thing on a bus?
4. While all of this was happening to me, this really sweet girl standing next to me told me “maybe don’t talk to him…just move away.” And I do understand that she was trying to help, and was really nice and comforted me after. And I seriously appreciate that she was one of the only people who talked to me about the incident. But this is our society! Maybe me. The girl who is being assaulted should change where she is standing so the man who is yelling at me can stop bothering me. WHY? I will stand wherever I want on my way to work. I shouldn’t have to change what I wear, or where I go because someone feels entitled to comment on me or my body.

Originally published on CKNW.com

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CKNW AM 980 CKNW News Talk 980 is Vancouver's news, Vancouver's talk - and a guest author for Vancity Buzz. Find them at AM980 and www.cknw.com.
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