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I regularly catch the 112 and 96 trams and have seen some pretty interesting people travelling late at night and felt like I needed to take precautions to be extra safe, but the most upsetting experience happened to me surprisingly at peak hour on a weekday a few months ago.
I was standing in the stairwell to the side of the carriage during a busy afternoon and had grown accustomed to the movement and pressing of people getting on and off the tram as we all squished together. It wasn’t until I was actually on Brunswick Street that the tram emptied and I became aware of a middle aged man in a leather jacket standing close to me pressing up behind me. His hand was on the back of my upper thigh, towards the cleft between my buttocks. He had deliberately positioned himself to put his hands on me while the tram moved backwards and forwards, so I wouldn’t notice as quickly.
The most upsetting thing is that due to being in a public (slightly awkward) atmosphere, my first instinct was to apologise to him for accidentally bumping into HIM. I moved away quickly and he jumped off the tram at the very next stop, before I had really even realised what was happening. Nobody around me would have known. It made me feel sick. I still feel weak about it today, and I imagine being able to redo the situation. I wish I had been able to tell him in an assertive tone to not put his hands on me, loudly enough that people overheard. I wish that the fear of people thinking that I was the one overreacting stopped me from telling this guy what a creep he was. I hope no one else has to experience this in Melbourne!
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