Woman who was assaulted on bus posts Facebook message to thank the man who helped her
Kaitlyn Regehr, a PhD student at King’s College, was on a bus in London at around 10:30 p.m. on Tuesday when she felt someone grope her. “I didn’t say anything, I just felt uncomfortable and moved out the way,” Kaitlyn told BuzzFeed about the encounter. “I know that sounds ridiculous, [but] I did what most women would do, just move away, and hope that he doesn’t get off the bus and follow you.”
Kaitlyn is right — many do just move away and keep silent, often because they’re afraid of getting even more unwanted attention or angering the harasser. But another man decided to put Kaitlyn’s harasser in his place, right then and there. “He told the guy who touched me ‘what are you doing?'” she told BuzzFeed. “The guy intervened and it got a little bit heated, but he was clearly saying it loud enough for the bus to hear. He also said ‘Do you have any women in your life? Do you have a mother, a sister?’, and I was really touched by that, he kind of humanised the situation.”
However, Kaitlyn didn’t get the chance to thank him properly — so she’s taken to social media in an effort to find the man who helped her. Along with a picture of herself holding a sign that reads “thank you,” she has included a beautiful open letter to the man expressing just how much his kindness meant to her.
Addressing it to “the tall, dark, and dapper one with a beard,” she thanked the man for intervening. “Most of all, thank you for asking him about the women in his life, his mother, his sister,” she wrote. “You said, ‘She could be your sister. She is someone’s sister’, and in doing so you made me a person. You made us a community.”
The man didn’t just help Kaitlyn —he did something more, and she explained in the post. “I thank you not just because you stood up for me, or because you made me feel safe, but because on your transit home – in this big, potentially anonymous city – you humanised assault,” Kaitlyn continued. “You didn’t turn away. You took a stand. You said something.”
She implored those reading to share the post so she could find the man and buy him a pint. And share, they did — over 40,000 times (and liked over 80,000 times), in fact. Her post has even received international attention. “People have messaged me, not just from London, [but] from all parts of the world,” she told BuzzFeed. “Men have contacted me too. One man contacted me on LinkedIn horrified that someone could feel so entitled to grab a woman’s bum.”
After a lot of encouragement and urging, Kaitlyn also contacted the police. “TFL has a big campaign about that right now, so I texted [them] and they suggested I contact the police, which, at first, I thought was a ridiculous thing to do, but I did,” she explained to BuzzFeed. “They sent someone over. . .and there was something quite validating in being taken seriously for it.”
Dozens of other women have commented on the post, sharing their own harassment stories and expressing appreciation for both Kaitlyn and the man who helped her.
“I’m sure that it’s the same experience for many women,” she told BuzzFeed. I guess this experience has been a huge eye-opener for how much I let that behaviour go. I felt uncomfortable and kind of vulnerable in that situation, but I probably wouldn’t have done anything more if that passenger hadn’t stepped in.”
Honestly, we’d like to buy that man a pint, too. Share Kaitlyn’s story and help find the guy who stood up and took action!
(Image via Facebook.)