On Monday night, local writer, musician, and transit rider Meredith Yayanos took a Golden Gate Transit bus from San Francisco back to Sausalito. While no one ever boards public transit with the expectation of 100% privacy and comfort, Yayanos became subject to vicious threats of sexual assault only to be ignored by the driver whose duty it is to keep his passengers safe.

After catching a performance at the Rickshaw Stop, Yayanos walked a friend to Civic Center BART and then headed to catch the 70/80 Golden Gate Transit bus at Mission and Fifth Streets. At that point, between midnight and 1 a.m., her phone died and the corner started to get sketchy. Yayanos gave the account on her personal blog:

I waited alone at 5th and Mission between midnight and one o’clock for my Sausalito bus. At one point a leering dude in a sportscar backed up to the bus stop and asked “hey, baby, where you going, can I give you a ride” and when I shook my head, he called me a cunt and peeled off. Which sucked… but you know what was way worse? *Another* guy showed up shortly after that, got WAY closer to me than necessary, looked me up and down, gave me a “hey baby, how you doin’” and, when I was unwilling to engage in conversation with him, became infuriated and wouldn’t leave me alone.

Over the course of five minutes, he verbally threatened me with rape, a beating, and kept trying to lurch closer to me. When I barked “BACK OFF” and raised my fists, he took a couple steps back, but unzipped his pants and started pantomiming taking his dick out while continuing to call me a bitch and a stuck-up ho. “I am going to slap you, bitch. You deserve to get raped. You deserve a dick in your ass. Stuck-up ugly slut. You’re gonna get raped because you’re a bitch and bitches deserve whatever they get.” At one point he made a motion as if he was going for something tucked into the back of his pants. I just kept yelling at him as loudly and aggressively as I could. But I was genuinely scared at that point.

It was the middle of the night. I was alone, without a working phone or pepper spray. But we were in a brightly lit place, so I decided to stand my ground and keep yelling at him to stay the fuck away from me and hope the bus would arrive soon, which it did. I rushed to it. The doors to the bus opened, and I called to the driver, “this man just threatened to rape and beat me and started to expose himself, please don’t let him on.” Blank stare from the bus driver. My harasser actually pushed past me, got on the bus, sat down in the front seat, told the bus driver “pay this bitch no mind, she’s a crazy-ass prostitute” and laughingly told him, “she been harassing ME”.

I again asked the bus driver to either get him off the bus or call the cops. The bus driver refused to do either, and then, as I watched, he laughed good-naturedly along with my harasser and *actually shook his hand* when the harasser reached over. I was stunned. I stood at the head of the bus and kept saying “why aren’t you listening to me? Please call the cops. Don’t let him stay on the bus.” With my harasser sitting right there in the front row, I refused to budge from the front of the bus, holding onto the railing, continuing to ask the bus driver to get him off the bus or call the police.

Harasser: “Sit your ass down, bitch.” Bus driver: stoically doing nothing. When it became clear that I wasn’t going to budge, my harasser got downright jolly with the driver, said “Imma go sit in the back of the bus where I belong now” and they appeared to share a moment of connection over my perceived overreaction. The implication being, I guess, that my response to threats of rape and a beating from a stranger while minding my own business alone at a bus stop in the middle of the night was somehow racist. I was in shock and shaking and continued to hold onto the railing at the front of the bus. The driver eventually ordered me to sit down. So I did. And then asked him: “why aren’t you doing anything? Why did you shake his hand and laugh? That guy threatened to hurt me and rape me. Why would you do that?” He basically ignored my questions. Ignored me.

After a more compassionate person got on the bus a few stops later, Yayanos took down the bus number and called Golden Gate Transit the next day. After her blog post about the incident went viral thanks to Wil Wheaton and Jezebel, Golden Gate Transit reached out to Yayanos to let her know they are paying attention. As Yayanos, writes in an update: "They want to fix this. I don't know what will happen with the driver who laughed and shook my harasser's hand, but their official statement is 'We are listening and are investigating the matter at the highest level of our organization.' "

Previously: One Woman's Harrowing Account Of Sexual Assault On Muni