Community forum tonight to talk about sexual assault on buses
Joanne Schnurr, CTV Ottawa
Published Wednesday, May 15, 2013 4:56PM EDT
Last Updated Wednesday, May 15, 2013 7:15PM EDT
Ottawa Police confirm there have been three more cases of sexual assault on OC Transpo buses since February. Those attacks are the subject of a meeting Wednesday evening in Ottawa aimed at finding ways of ending harassment on public transit.
Kaleigh Langon knows all about harassment. The 18-year-old was sexually assaulted on a busy bus on her way home from work.
“I try not to think about it when I take the bus,” Langdon says, “but it crosses my mind.”
It was February 19th at 6:30. Langdon was on a crowded bus to Orleans when the man behind her grabbed her and assaulted her.
“He stuck his hand between my legs,” recalls Langdon.
No one was ever caught in the attack. It left her shaken and scared.
Her story prompted other women to come forward. Venessa Workman had a similar experience last November.
“He pushed completely under my butt and grabbed my private area,” says Workman of her assault.
Ottawa Police say three women have been sexually assaulted on buses since February. A group called Hollaback! Ottawa is hosting a forum in Ottawa to talk about safety on public transit. OC Transpo will be at the meeting.
“We're not looking to say in Ottawa that buses aren't safe,” says Hollaback spokesperson Lisane Thirsk. “What we are trying to say is that it does happen and that it's hard for women to feel comfortable reporting it.”
The city maintains that OC Transpo is safe but it plans its own meeting in June inviting women's groups to brainstorm on ideas to make people feel safer.
“I think we could be gathering statistics more than we are today,” says OC Transpo Commission Chair Diane Deans, “and that might be one of the things we look to do in the future.”
Kaleigh Langdon is pushing for cameras on buses, an idea that Deans says is being explored. For now, though, Langdon is trying to put her attack behind her.
“I have to move on. There’s only so much I can do and the odds of it happening again are lower,” says Langdon, “but it scares me that he could do this to someone else because no one knows who he is.”
The meeting entitled “Talking Back! A Community dialogue about safety on transit” begins at 6:30 Wednesday, May 15th at the Bronson Centre’s Mac Hall at 211 Bronson Avenue.