Most women who have traveled alone, or even sat separate from their travel buddies, have experienced harassment from men while traveling. Even if its a seemingly harmless conversation, these experiences can quickly escalate into dangerous terrain, and sadly predators creep on teens and young women the most.
Since this experience is so universal for women, we're often the best at spotting the warning signs of a potentially inappropriate situation. So, when the writer Joanna Chiu sat behind a man in his 30s getting too friendly with a teenage girl on a recent flight, she kept watch to make sure he didn't cross any boundaries.
The teenager was traveling with her family, but the seating separated her from the pack and placed her next to an overeager grown man.
The girl was friendly, as most teen girls are socialized to be, and the man seemed to read her politeness as interest.
Chiu, having experienced creeps herself, immediately spotted red flags in the dynamic and even leaned in to call him out at one point during the exchange.
Another woman sitting nearby had also noticed the man's behavior, and told the teenager she could change seats if she felt uncomfortable.
Both women ended up reporting the behavior to the flight staff, and the man was asked to change seats, which caused him to resist and start swearing.
After the man had moved, the flight attendants checked on the teen girl and wrote up a full report of the incident.
But what struck Chiu the most, was how the male passengers on the plane seemed completely oblivious to what was going on. Or worse yet, they didn't see the issue with a grown man hitting on a minor.
Chiu went on to share how important it is for adults to stay alert and be willing to intervene in situations like this, in order to create a safer world for young women, and teenagers in general.
She also praised the flight for handling the situation so swiftly and professionally, and shared a picture of a thank you card she received.
She then went on to share educational resources for both men and women who want to get better at spotting and intervening in harassment scenarios.
A lot of people also praised Chiu and the other woman for taking much needed action, and preventing the teenager from experiencing a full-blown traumatic event.
It's refreshing to hear a story of a creep being intercepted for once, hopefully this thread will help give even more people an idea of how to stop predators in plain sight.