Warning: The contents of this story may be disturbing to some readers.
SURREY (NEWS 1130) – A woman riding a bus in Surrey Tuesday night is left shaken after she received threats of sexual assault just moments after sitting down.
The woman had gotten on the bus at the Newton Exchange shortly after 11 p.m. when she received an AirDrop message to her phone.
It showed a black image, with a short sentence in white letters, threatening rape.
“I think I’m just really confused,” she recalls feeling when the AirDrop notification showed up on her phone. “The first thing I thought was, ‘Is this a joke? Should I be getting off this bus?'”
The woman was shocked and horrified when she was sent the same message multiple times. Worried for her safety, she decided not to get off at her usual bus stop.
“I didn’t want to get off and I didn’t want to look around, and I was a little afraid of looking around to see, like making eye contact with who these people might actually be,” the woman, who does not want to be identified, says. “But at the same time, if it is a sick prank, getting up and standing up and looking around is kind of what they’re looking for at the same time.”
Too scared to get off the bus
She had taken a screenshot of the image and sent it to her friends, who immediately offered to come and pick her up from a local restaurant.
In a Facebook post, the woman details how she was gripped by fear, writing “I’m afraid and my palms are getting clammy. I look at my smartwatch and my heart rate has jumped to 143. I try to locate all of the men on the bus to see who may be sending this” before asking if the message was a “sick joke.”
The woman also sent a screenshot of the message to Transit Police, which whom she continued to communicate with for the rest of her trip.
She remained on the bus for several stops, until she was the last passenger on board. That’s when she was able to reconnect with her friends and meet with Transit Police.
She tells CityNews Vancouver she believes whoever sent her the AirDrop was likely a younger person thinking they were being funny.
“Especially today, there’s plenty of kids that are doing these pranks and they think it’s all fun,” the woman says.
However, she’s imploring people to think twice before doing something like this, and how actions can make others feel.
“Don’t just think about what you’re seeing but think about the other side. Always think about the follow through. Think before you make those decisions,” she says. “Anything that you think is fun is not always fun for everybody else.”
Threats of sexual violence worrying, Transit Police says
Constable Mike Yake with Metro Vancouver Transit Police says the threats of sexual violence are extremely worrying.
“We take situations like this extremely seriously. Members of the public should not be fearful of assault or harassment when using public transit,” he says. “Situations like this are extremely inexcusable. We encourage members of the public if they come across situations like this to text us at 87 77 77 and we will send police to the area.”
Yake says the investigation is ongoing and adds surveillance footage from the bus has since been seized.
-With files from Tarnjit Parmar, Jonathan Szekeres, Hana Mae Nassar, and Mike Lloyd