A woman boards the airplane for her flight, she sits down...and ends up harassed by the man sitting near her. It's a dishearteningly common story. For those who haven't seen anything like this before, you might be surprised by how "normal" this kind of behavior is.
And that's the subject of one woman's viral Twitter thread. Reporter Joanna Chiu sat in front of a teenage girl and a grown man on a recent flight. After witnessing the man harass this teenage girl, Chiu spoke up about the experience. Furthermore, the rest of Twitter is responding (and relating) hardcore to Joanna's words.
So get the full story on what went down on the flight. Chiu demonstrates exactly how people should be looking out for each other in those situations. It's a great thing that she was present...and that she has a platform to educate on such things afterward!
Sexual harassment is a pervasive problem today.
via: GettyIt can happen to anyone, but there's no denying that women overwhelmingly find themselves the victims of sexual harassment from male perpetrators.
Not only can it happen to anyone; it can also happen anywhere.
via: GettyAnd in this instance, we're talking about sexual harassment happening 35,000 feet up, during a commercial airplane flight.
Which is especially uncomfortable.
via: GettyBecause if something like that starts happening, there's really nowhere to go. It's up to you and the people around you to ensure that you're safe.
Luckily, reporter Joanna Chiu is a great ally to have in such situations.
Thread about airplane creeps: I’m on a plane from a late-evening stopover from and was very tired and had a row to… https://t.co/OJsdWLnsse— Joanna Chiu (@Joanna Chiu)1553498585.0
Immediate red flag!
A man appearing in his late thirties was obviously delighted to be seated next to a teenager separated from the res… https://t.co/6PRPnJzqRP— Joanna Chiu (@Joanna Chiu)1553498586.0
The girl was doing her best with all the attention.
She was friendly and he seemed to take that as a welcome cue to get very familiar and started teasing her and kept… https://t.co/i2Waq04Jes— Joanna Chiu (@Joanna Chiu)1553498587.0
Which is what happened.
It did, and as soon as he asked for a “dirty” photo while leaning close to her I turned around and rage-whispered e… https://t.co/UNMhUfDJGY— Joanna Chiu (@Joanna Chiu)1553498587.0
Turns out, Joanna wasn't the only woman looking out for this girl.
Another woman seated behind him was listening and monitoring too and while the man was gone she let the teen know t… https://t.co/xmrtwnYLM1— Joanna Chiu (@Joanna Chiu)1553498588.0
Then, the man was asked to move.
They checked other witness accounts and the head of the flight service (a woman) asked the man to move. He resisted… https://t.co/Ekdko3dhlg— Joanna Chiu (@Joanna Chiu)1553498588.0
Finally, the man moved.
He moved. The attendants checked in with the young woman and wrote up a report. They handled the situation well as… https://t.co/A0gWdq7ApK— Joanna Chiu (@Joanna Chiu)1553498591.0
Chiu noticed something strange.
But none of the male passengers seemed to show they noticed what was going on. Maybe fellow women are more likely t… https://t.co/j0rpEt1aDx— Joanna Chiu (@Joanna Chiu)1553498591.0
Joanna recalled her own experiences with sexual harassment.
The first time I traveled without my parents the man next to me spoke with me most of the flight, which made me fee… https://t.co/B1t7lQCnc8— Joanna Chiu (@Joanna Chiu)1553498592.0
That wasn't Joanna's only experience, either.
The second time I traveled alone an older man struck up a convo while we waited for boarding and he asked about man… https://t.co/Y8DwfdeenO— Joanna Chiu (@Joanna Chiu)1553498592.0
This is why adults need to be vigilant.
All adults need to be on guard and know there are things we can do to intervene even when a crime hadn’t technicall… https://t.co/Rp2zVvh1Qu— Joanna Chiu (@Joanna Chiu)1553498593.0
Joanna had lingering concerns.
It’s so disturbing there are predatory people out there who act like they have no idea what they’re doing is wrong.… https://t.co/jPfML3NA99— Joanna Chiu (@Joanna Chiu)1553498594.0
At the very least, the man got a stern talking-to.
Just walked off the plane and security was ready to pull him aside to talk to him and he looked like he was sweating bullets.— Joanna Chiu (@Joanna Chiu)1553499807.0
Chiu even got a thank-you note.
via: TwitterI don’t want to say name of airline because journalists have to be careful not to make endorsements but just want to say that this Canadian airline crew handled the situation so well. Workplaces, schools, sports teams etc. can take note. They even gave me and other woman a card. -Joanna Chiu
Here's what the note said:
via: TwitterSo good on the airline for recognizing what needed to be done, and for recognizing the individuals who helped that happen!
Chiu isn't done with the harasser, however.
Oh, and I also caught his name and the company he works for. I’ll be sending a private note to them.— Joanna Chiu (@Joanna Chiu)1553501954.0
Chiu sent her best to the young passenger she helped.
I’m sure the young woman he targeted will be CEO someday or some other position of influence. She was in the middle… https://t.co/OUzwxSJ0XN— Joanna Chiu (@Joanna Chiu)1553503829.0
Other women replied to Chiu's thread.
Twice in my life I have fallen asleep on a flight and awakened with the man in the seat next to me touching my body… https://t.co/3pUtM6vQfd— Delilah S. Dawson (@Delilah S. Dawson)1553516538.0
This is a good thread. I've had similar experiences, which are especially uncomfortable when you're in the window s… https://t.co/cJlui9tbVX— Laura Payton (@Laura Payton)1553521412.0
Parents also felt strongly about this.
@joannachiu All parents send you an enormous thank you. I have been in that teenager's position more than once. On… https://t.co/9a4lzBcZAA— Denise Louis 📻 (@Denise Louis 📻)1553516463.0
There's a common theme with all these replies.
This sort of thing happens all the time to teenage girls. Rock on to both the women here for intervening, and to th… https://t.co/ZZRGMe6YWE— Maria Dahvana Headley (@Maria Dahvana Headley)1553515730.0
And thus, the thread went viral.
Wow this took off overnight. Can we share some resources on how to intervene safely in public spaces?— Joanna Chiu (@Joanna Chiu)1553530435.0
Bystander intervention training: https://t.co/88TnNtnFhD— Joanna Chiu (@Joanna Chiu)1553530793.0
And here's a list of tips:
List of examples and tips on how to intervene (can be subtle like interrupting and asking for the time or just movi… https://t.co/VsRYPO5C8i— Joanna Chiu (@Joanna Chiu)1553530938.0
Here's another list.
Here is another great guide on what bystanders can do about harassment on public transportation by @EndingViolence… https://t.co/db9E4HYuw1— Joanna Chiu (@Joanna Chiu)1553544444.0
Chiu's thread took off so much, she wrote an op-ed about it.
How my tweets about harassment on a plane sparked a conversation about what bystanders can do to help. I wrote an o… https://t.co/LVT3BneFSE— Joanna Chiu (@Joanna Chiu)1553550010.0
And there were some promising responses from men who saw the thread, too.
Hundreds of men have also shared the Twitter thread and many said that they weren’t aware that airplane harassment… https://t.co/eracpk24Ln— Joanna Chiu (@Joanna Chiu)1553550255.0