Montreal transit authority 'condemns' bus driver's lewd gesture at woman
MONTREAL -- With a busload of passengers, driving through Saint-Laurent, an STM driver was anything but focused on the road—or at least not the road in front of him.
In the next lane over, Jessica Rosen was driving, and she was shocked to see the driver sticking his face through the side window, leering and flicking his tongue at her.
When Rosen pulled up at a red light, the Laval resident finally managed to capture him on video. But she only filmed a small part of what happened, she says.
"He was miming cunnilingus, you know sticking his tongue between his fingers,” she said. “He basically, he was saying I should come over…and saying he would do bad things to me.”
The encounter was “just really disturbing,” she said.
The two were driving down Thiemens Blvd. at the time, on Thursday morning.
Rosen has put in a complaint with the STM, saying she wants him to be held accountable. "I didn't feel like he should be driving with passengers on the bus,” she said.
But beyond safety reasons, she said she wanted to send a message that this kind of thing won't be tolerated.
"A lot of people think ‘Oh, it wasn't a big deal, let’s just move on from it. Lots of worse things have happened to other women...’ and this is why this continues to be normalized,” she explained.
“This is a public service worker who’s on the bus and you’re meant to feel safe and protected once you get on this transportation.”
The transit authority told CTV in a statement that they’re not happy with the driver’s behaviour.
“Obviously, we condemn this kind of totally inappropriate gesture,” the statement said.
"We were made aware of this video yesterday and we are trying to identify the driver. According to his employee file, appropriate disciplinary action will be taken.”
However, they won’t be able to reveal specifics when that happens, as this kind of internal action is confidential.
The STM also said its drivers are put through training on harassment, as well as diversity.
Rosen isn’t the only one frustrated with what she described as normalization.
The Quebec Human Rights Commission, while it wouldn’t talk about this specific case, said sexual harassment is rampant in Quebec.
It’s “in the workplace, in every other context—in sports, in school, in public spaces, and on public transit, for example, too,” said Karina Montminy, who works for the commission.
Montminy said Rosen has the option to file a human rights complaint if she wishes.
But Rosen said her main goal was to make this kind of behaviour public. She doesn’t want this to cost the driver his job, she said—she just wants it to stop, for her and all women.