, 34 tweets, 13 min read Read on Twitter
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.
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.
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.
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 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?
The first time I traveled without my parents the man next to me spoke with me most of the flight, which made me feel adult and important, and he said things like I must be flirting because I was touching the zipper on my jacket. To his credit he stopped and later looked ashamed.
The second time I traveled alone an older man struck up a convo while we waited for boarding and he asked about many details of my travels then kissed me without my consent. I was too shocked to say anything.
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.
Just walked off the plane and security was ready to pull him aside to talk to him and he looked like he was sweating bullets.
I don’t want to say name of airline because journalists have to be careful not to make endorsements but just want to say that this Canadian airline crew handled the situation so well. Workplaces, schools, sports teams etc. can take note. They even gave me and other woman a card.
Oh, and I also caught his name and the company he works for. I’ll be sending a private note to them.
I’m sure the young woman he targeted will be CEO someday or some other position of influence. She was in the middle of studying when he started harassing her. It’s sad these experiences are extremely common. Recommend @JessicaValenti’s memoir for insights: amazon.ca/Sex-Object-Mem…
Wow this took off overnight. Can we share some resources on how to intervene safely in public spaces?
Bystander intervention training: nytimes.com/2017/12/11/ups…
List of examples and tips on how to intervene (can be subtle like interrupting and asking for the time or just moving closer to show you’re watching if you’re unsure if something is harassment): stopstreetharassment.org/resources/male…
Here is another great guide on what bystanders can do about harassment on public transportation by @EndingViolence @_AngelaMarieMac: bwss.org/wp-content/upl…
How my tweets about harassment on a plane sparked a conversation about what bystanders can do to help. I wrote an op-ed about what happened and the important sharing that happened overnight. Thank you everyone. Social media can be a good place sometimes. thestar.com/life/opinion/2…
Hundreds of men have also shared the Twitter thread and many said that they weren’t aware that airplane harassment was so common, and they promised to be vigilant, too. The comments were really interesting because people were very honest about how in some cases, they feel unsure.
“Many people don’t know what to do, but they should know they can take action and they should take action. It matters. Every time we hear about this, we see how much sexual harassment happens routinely,” says @_AngelaMarieMac. Links to resources here: thestar.com/life/opinion/2…
..@EndingViolence has published an online resource, where suggestions for bystanders include: Ask the woman, “Are they bothering you?,” loudly saying “ugh, that is so gross,” making eye contact with other bystanders and ask, “What should we do to help?” bwss.org/wp-content/upl…
I spoke with @CBC about what happened and why the conversation is so important and good to see happening: cbc.ca/radio/asithapp…
The point of this isn’t to cast shame on genuine flirtation between an older person and a younger person who is an adult. Some resources on things bystanders can do to try to figure out what is happening in a situation in a public space: thestar.com/life/opinion/2… via @torontostar
My colleague @JennyPengNow of @starvancouver @TorontoStar is working on a story about airlines’ harassment policies and what travellers should know. Leave your questions and please keep sharing resources. Thanks so much 🧡
Thanks for the conversation and helping to spread awareness @steeletalk. omny.fm/shows/steele-d…
Pathways to Safety International provides 24/7 critical support to American victims of gender based & interpersonal violence abroad. 833-SAFE-833. Are there Canadian hotlines or hotlines in other countries? Thank you for continuing to share resources and support 🤝
I was asking my good friend for resources and he reminded me I did a webinar last year on harassment in workplaces aimed at office managers for @WANIFRA_Asia. It's free to view and based on research from WAN-IFRA:
Hollaback! provides online resources and digital trainings on how to do your part to protect your neighbors when bigotry and harassment collide in front of you. Sign up for the next training here: ihollaback.org/resources/byst… @iHollaback
After my tweets went viral we got many reader questions about what to do and rules on flights. To find out, we asked airlines, the International Air Transport Association, RCMP and a safety consultant with more than 30 yrs experience. thestar.com/news/canada/20… @TorontoStar
Troubling: The @IATA says the number of incidents of unruly behaviour voluntarily reported by its member airlines has declined — but *more severe* incidents, such as sexual #harassment and #assault, are on the rise. thestar.com/news/canada/20… @TorontoStar by @JennyPengNow #safety
Lots of important info here including: Which jurisdiction do cases fall under?

The B.C. RCMP said if an incident occurs in the air, the case falls under the laws of the destination and to the authorities in charge of that particular airport. thestar.com/news/canada/20… @torontostar
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