VIRAL: What a woman did after being sexually harassed inside bus

ABS-CBN News

Posted at Mar 27 2017 09:07 PM | Updated as of Mar 27 2017 09:43 PM

 

(UPDATED) A young woman's post about defending herself from sexual harassment inside a passenger bus has gone viral, with people lauding her bravery in standing up for herself.

Alyssa Fernandez took to Facebook to post about her experience inside a BBL bus on her way to work Thursday.

According to Fernandez, she was sitting beside the man and another woman. 

She said that she already felt the man touching her left arm earlier during the trip. Thinking it was accidental, she shrugged it off and continued listening to music with her eyes closed.

Right before she got off the bus, Fernandez felt the man touching her left breast.

"After 10 minutes before I hop off, I felt a whole hand cupping my left boob. A. Whole. Hand," she wrote.

That's when she confronted the man.

"I opened my eyes, looked at him in disbelief, and asked: Anong ginagawa mo? By then I was already shaking because I was so mad at him," Fernandez said.

The experience reminded her that of a friend who had a similar experience with the driver of a ride-sharing service but was not able to do anything because she was shocked and scared. Fernandez knew she had to do something about it.

"Hinampas, siniko at sinuntok ko siya. Pero feeling ko mahina. Feeling ko not enough. Sana kinurot ko. Sana sinuntok ko sa mukha. Sana nilakasan ko pa. For the first time in my life, I had to use what I learned from boxing for 3 years, but still, I wasn't able to punch hard enough. Tinanong ko siya paulit-ulit: May anak ka? May anak ka? May asawa ka? Ang tanda-tanda mo na bakit ganyan ka pa?"

The man tried to placate her by saying sorry, but Fernandez said she was too mad to care.

She also made sure that everyone inside the bus knew what happened to her before she got off.

"I don't know what makes anyone think it's alright to touch someone like that without permission. What was he expecting? That I wouldn't mind? That I wouldn't react? What was he thinking?"

What made matters worse was when the bus conductor interrupted and asked them to bring their argument somewhere else, despite her shouting about being harassed.

"What bothers me more is what the barker (conductor) said, as if what happened wasn't really a big deal. As if he wanted me to shut up. Why won't it be a big deal? And even more, why would I shut up?"

Although she was able to fight back, Fernandez said the experience traumatized her.

"I'd dream about it. It's always on my mind. I get panic attacks," she told ABS-CBN News.

She now feels uncomfortable commuting after the experience.

"I was in a jeep the other night, nasanggi lang ako ng strap ng bag sa left side ko. Na-feel ko 'yung urge na manuntok. Feeling ko lagi ko siyang katabi," Fernandez said.

Fernandez said she will report the incident to the police. She is also grateful for all the kind messages she has been receiving since she posted about her experience.

She hopes her experience will make people realize that it is never okay to harass women.

"Ang daming manyak diyan and I hope with what happened to me they'll realize na hindi tamang mangharass ng babae. And for the women I hope they find the courage to fight back," she said.

Fernandez added that she knew the culprit will not get away with it because they were in a crowded area.

"I was brave because I was so mad. I know what I don't deserve. I know my personal space, and it was sunny and we were in a bus full of people. I knew he wouldn't get away," she said.