Reports of harassment, from verbally aggressive PUAs to assault
By Angela Espinoza, News Editor
While Vancouver police have publicly stated no crimes have been officially reported, there have been several stories on social media about experiences of sexual harassment in Vancouver.
Several instances of men harassing women on Robson Street have been made public in online posts. The specific men involved in these interactions, which can range from verbal harassment to physical assault, are what many have labeled as “pick-up artists,” or PUAs.
On March 6, Women Against Violence Against Women released a poster calling out those who’ve been harassing women in recent weeks. “Dear PUA AKA predators: You are not entitled to women,” read the posters. “Decent men: step up! Don’t be complicit in violence against women.”
News 1130 reported that stories have spread on blogs and in social media specifically referencing Robson Street with regard to women being harassed. Men taking part in the harassment have reportedly done so by aggressively demanding phone numbers and addresses, sometimes raising their voice at the victims.
“I don’t think that women are up for fair game for men to come after them and try to get a notch on their belt,” Irene Tsepnopoulos-Elhaimer of Women Against Violence Against Women told News 1130.
Vancity Buzz also shared a story on March 4, in which a woman under the alias Nicole recounted a recent experience with being sexually harassed on Robson Street.
“I made it very obvious to him that I didn’t want to talk,” Nicole told Vancity Buzz. “I backed away from him, I pulled my phone out, I gave him one word answers. And he just kept going on and on.”
Nicole stated throughout the article that the more she tried to turn down the person harassing her, the more verbally aggressive he became.
A Facebook post made on March 5 to the “UBC Confessions” page has also received widespread attention, as it details an as-of-yet unreported sexual assault on a Canada Line SkyTrain car.
“I saw the guy that was sexually harassing you,” states the anonymous post. They then detail the actions of the unnamed man, along with a photo of his hand hovering near the victim’s leg. Neither the man nor the victim’s faces can be seen in the photo, although it has reportedly since been brought to Vancouver police’s attention.
On March 6, Metro Vancouver Transit Police made a public announcement asking the victim to come forward and report the assault officially.
“We would very much like to speak to the victim in order to proceed with the investigation and charges. She is described as an Asian female, 18 to 25 years, 5’7” tall, slender build, black hair with straight bangs, wearing a grey wool sweater, black t-shirt, ripped black jeans and carrying a Gucci backpack and a pink iPhone,” read the statement.
Any additional witnesses have also been asked to come forward.