Talking Difference

Tuesday, May 28, 2013

I am a fairly shy person and when it comes to sticking up for myself, I'm really not very good at it. Something happened today that I think everyone should know about.

Today on the train home, I witnessed a woman, a senior citizen, being verbally abused by another, middle aged man. (Also a passenger). At first I thought they knew each other or he was having a friendly joke. I then realised he was swearing at her and saying things that I have never heard come out of someone's mouth. I stood up, approached the pair and asked what was going on. I asked the man why he was talking to this woman so rudely. He replied that she didn't leave him enough leg room. I dismissed the man and turned to the woman and asked if she would like to take a seat next to me because, I did not mind if she took up extra leg room. The woman said she'd love to, moved with me and we sat together while this man went on for a bit longer. Later during the commute, the woman asked me if he was still on the train, as she was not facing him. The pair unfortunately got off at the same train station. The woman expressed to me, before leaving her seat, that she did not want him following her home. So, I suggested she take the other doors on the train and she did. This was a peak our train. This should have never happened, it is appalling that this middle aged man thought what he was doing was justified. I think that anyone that sees something happening on public transport, or anywhere else, should step in and tell the person that might be being: racist, prejudice, sexist or just plain stupid that it is not okay. It is not okay for that senior citizen to walk home scared from the train station, or to be scared on the train! I really think we should be taking a stand against this anti-social behaviour. That is why I feel strongly about the Immigration Museum's Talking Difference project. I never knew I could be the person that would stand up to someone else, I hardly stand up for myself. Let's not make this world any worse and I really urge you to check the Talking Difference website and be the positive, welcoming and accepting people we need in this world.

-Olivia. xx


  1. I completely agree with what you did. I've experienced so many kinda of these situations on public transport as well!!

    One time I was being verbally abused by some guy (he was obviously on drugs or something) on a train. I was alone in the carriage (on the upper level near the doors where the seats face eachother) and there were 3 other business men in the same seating area as me. This guy was swearing at me aggressively and making sexually rude comments about how I would be "nice when I'm older."

    I was completely appalled when none of the adult men in the carriage stood up for me, and instead pretended like nothing was happening. The man who was abusing me sitting on the same seat in between two of them as well!! The man was quite agressive and seemed quite volatile so I guess the men wanted to avoid any unnecessary confrontation...but'd think they'd at least say/do something right?

    1. Oh my gosh. I can't believe that would happen to you! It's hard to think why the other men on the train didn't stand up for someone when, they obviously out numbered them. I think most people's attitude is to ignore what it happening - and it'll go away. But, that's not right. Letting people get away with that behaviour reenforces people's stupid beliefs (where they got them, I don't know!)
      If things become out of hand, especially on the train, you have the emergency button that will alert the conductor. So, I guess the other men weren't using their brains.

      There has been one time, when I was a teenager, when I was waiting for a train at the platform seating. A while (drunk) man starting abusing a indian or middle eastern man, calling him a terrorist. The drunk man, took his belt off as if he was going to belt this man. I couldn't do anything. I think the other man walked away closer to the safer part of the platform. I wish I was in a position that would of helped that man at that time. I just hoped that he understood my reasons.

      UGH! Sometimes I wonder about how humanity will ever get along!

  2. I'm so glad you stuck up for that poor lady! Some people can be very scary indeed. I remember catching a very late train home one night and having a scary drunk guy ranting at the other end of the carriage. He came over to me and I was terrified. I pretended I didn't speak English so he would go away and leave me alone. Luckily he left me alone and shuffled off a few stops later.

    We should definitely stick up for and protect each other where we can.