Since when has our society decided that it was okay to be cowardly. Publicly defending someone has become almost nonexistent, especially when it comes to complete strangers.
It was a Saturday night, and I was on the bus to Seoul to meet my friends for our usual night out. From the beginning, it seemed like a typical night. I had my pear vodka tonic ready to go and my rowdy music on shuffle. I rather enjoy these bus rides because I can sit alone, unbothered, all the way in the back and just slowly get drunkie while jamming to some M.I.A. But man, this time, my whole routine changed real quick. I happened to look to my left and I noticed a guy sticking his head in-between the two seats in front of him. There was a cute girl, actually woman, sitting there by herself. I thought maybe he was just asking her a quick question about whatever, and that it wasn’t a big deal. However. It then went all downhill from there. He kept poking her in the back, and if she tried to ignore him, he would get up and sit in the seat right next to her, or even put his head on her shoulder. Who is this jackass. She tried to be discreet and pretended to text or call someone. That didn’t throw him one bit. He hovered over her mercilessly. I looked around the bus. I mean, there weren’t that many people but there was enough to notice what was going on. There was even a guy sitting across the aisle from her not doing shit. I was floored. Why. Is. No. One. Helping. Finally, I quickly drank the last of my vodka, and walked up to the poor girl who had the guy sitting right up on her. I tried to speak my broken Korean, using words for “Hi,” “Sorry,” and “Are you okay.” At first, she said that she was fine. Then immediately, she shook her head. I told her to follow me, took her hand, and guided her to the back of the bus. Homeboy was trying to follow us, I looked back and loudly enunciated the word “NO.” She quickly slid into the seat right in front of me and was visibly shaking. She looked back at me, with tearful eyes, and said, “Thank you. Thank you.” Then quietly, she began to cry – this girl was seriously traumatized by that asshole. The couple that sat near us finally stepped in. The boyfriend let her use his phone to type what was going on. Eventually, they said they would get off the bus with her. Luckily, the guy (who I’m sure is mentally handicapped because he was fighting with the curtains…) got off the bus first. We all got off at Seoul Station, the couple smiled at me, and we all parted ways.
I had this weird feeling in my stomach that was hard to shake. Over the past year, I’ve noticed something very wrong in this country. These Korean men think it’s okay to do whatever the fuck they want. You go to these big dance clubs, particularly in Gangnam, and it’s like a fucking high-end brothel. Groping, grabbing, touching is all fine they think. Sexual harassment means nothing to them. But then, there are women that seem beyond unprepared to protect themselves if need be. Toxic, tragic combination really.
Anyway, if you get this gut feeling that someone near you needs help, don’t hesitate. You might change their life.