Ottawa teen warns of sexual assault on buses
Published Friday, March 8, 2013 5:19PM EST
An Ottawa teenage has a warning for other women, after she says she was sexually assaulted on an OC Transpo bus three weeks ago. She was shocked, shaken, but the 18 year old managed to confront her attacker. Now she's speaking out in the hopes of helping other potential victims.
Kaleigh Langdon decided to tell CTV News her story because she was afraid of this happening to other women. But Ottawa Police have confirmed that it already has happened to others. Cst. Henri Lanctot says there have been six sexual assaults on OC Transpo buses since last November.
Kaleigh Langdon has ridden the bus for years, plugged in to her headphones, oblivious to what was going on around her. But no longer she says, after being sexually assaulted by another passenger.
It was 6:30 in the evening on February 19th. Langdon had just finished work and was heading home on a very crowded number 95 bus.
“After being on bus for about two minutes,” says Langdon, “this guy, he brushed his hand across my bum and I kind of gave him a look the best I could, given it was packed.”
Langdon says seconds later, he grabbed her buttocks. She swore at him.
“He stopped for about 30 seconds, and then he stuck his hand in between my legs. I turned around and slapped him in his face.”
The man hopped off within seconds at the next stop. Langdon says no one around her did anything.
“Nobody said a word, nobody asked me any questions about it,” recalls Langdon. “I just moved farther down the bus and waited for my stop and got off.”
The Executive Director of Ottawa’s Rape Crisis Centre says bystanders have to take a risk and step in.
“When you're in a crowded situation,” says Sandy Onyalo, “when you take a stand, somebody else might take a stand.”
She applauds Langdon for speaking up about sexual assault.
"I really applaud her that she's speaking up about it because we really need to break the silence about sexual assault.
Langdon says she simply had to.
“As angry as I was about it, I’m 18 and I can take care of myself,” says Langdon. “But all I could think is what if he did this to somebody younger, 13, 14, 15 they may not be able to handle it in the same way I did.”
Langdon says when her mother picked her up from the bus station that evening, she broke down and cried. Then she and her mother went to the Ottawa Police Department to file a report. She says the suspect was clean shaven, had a black winter hat and black coat, was about 35 to 40 years old. Police confirmed late this afternoon that there have been six sexual assaults on OC Transpo buses since November.
OC Transpo reminds passengers that all articulated buses do have emergency passenger alarms located in the rear.
“Customers or anybody in need can grab this,” explains OC Transpo Supervisor Wayne Watts, “hit the switch and the driver immediately knows there’s an emergency on his bus and can get assistance to the customer.”
Langdon says her message to other women is to unplug their headphones and be aware of who is around them on the buses. And if something should happen, they should never be embarrassed about screaming, yelling and reacting to the situation.