At IFORHER, we believe the day women start standing up for other young women, things will do turn pretty!
And, that’s what happened when a set of female passengers raised their voices to save a young woman from sexual harassment.
A Twitter thread by a journalist, Joanna Chiu describing sexual harassment onboard a plane is going viral for all the right reasons. Chiu was recently traveling by a Canadian airline where the incident happened.
She explained the incident on her Twitter handle, sharing how a man in his late thirties targeted a teenager and started harassing her.
Here’s what happened:
Thread about airplane creeps: I’m on a plane from a late-evening stopover from and was very tired and had a row to myself to sleep but couldn’t avoid noticing what was going on in the row behind me.
A man appearing in his late thirties was obviously delighted to be seated next to a teenager separated from the rest of her family. He started off by asking about her career plans and laughed when she said she wanted to be CEO and kept giving her ridiculous advice.
Joanna further added about how things got unacceptable
She was friendly and he seemed to take that as a welcome cue to get very familiar and started teasing her and kept saying that he wanted to take her out to eat, which she was ignoring. At this point I had to stay awake in case anything went further than that.
And, then what he said that made Joanna break her silence:
It did, and as soon as he asked for a “dirty” photo while leaning close to her I turned around and rage-whispered exactly what I thought of that and he didn’t say anything back and went off to use the washroom.
Joanna wasn’t alone, another woman passenger also came for the rescue of the teenager.
Another woman seated behind him was listening and monitoring too and while the man was gone she let the teen know that she had the right to change seats and that she was just behind her if she needed any help. I went to get a flight attendant and informed her of what was going on
They checked other witness accounts and the head of the flight service (a woman) asked the man to move. He resisted then started swearing at me and asked to talk to the boss and the head flight attendant said “I’m the boss, this is really serious and we could land the plane.”
He moved. The attendants checked in with the young woman and wrote up a report. They handled the situation well as far as I could tell, and it’s good to know other adult women passengers on the plane were paying attention and taking action while trying not to embarrass the teen.
But, what you would also find disappointing as Joanna is:
But none of the male passengers seemed to show they noticed what was going on. Maybe fellow women are more likely to pick up on warning signs early on in the conversation because we used to be teenage girls too?
All adults need to be on guard and know there are things we can do to intervene even when a crime hadn’t technically been committed yet. Men need to figure out how to “spot creeps” in their vicinity as well and men can help too to prevent harassment or assault.
It’s so disturbing there are predatory people out there who act like they have no idea what they’re doing is wrong. It’s unclear if the man is going to be monitored by flight crew the next time he flies.
While applauding Joanna and other woman’s courage, people on the internet shared:
Sexual harassment on public transportation is crazy common (especially of minors). Good thread with links at the end about how to intervene. GENTLEMEN- please pay attention too! https://t.co/kisWMsk72F
Brava Joanna Chiu. A girl or woman trapped on a plane with a creepy man seated next to her is a nightmare. Thank God, there was a Joanna close. Decent men should’ve interceded, as well. This thread is powerful on circumventing trauma for someone else https://t.co/zDWb7TEaQq