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I was groped by a man in a black suit when walking past the Sultanahmet tram stop. He squeezed my upper arm as I walked by. He grabbed me in such a way that I realized he had meant to squeeze my breast, but missed and grabbed my arm instead. I only saw him from behind, but he was about 5’6″-5’8″ tall and probably around 50 years old. My husband was right beside me when this happened, and the man didn’t even care that my husband was there–he grabbed me anyway.
I’m a 36 year old man and have lived in Istanbul for two years. This week my little sister and her friend came for a visit. Yesterday I was taking them on a tour around the city, and we found ourselves on a crowded tram from Karakoy to Kabatas. As we were getting off of the train, my sister’s friend grabbed my arm and told me that someone – pardon – grabbed her ass. I immediately turned to the three or four possible culptits, but it was impossible to tell who was the guilty party. As they appeared to not know one another, there was little I could do. Needless to say, she was shocked and felt sick. I was also quite upset. I tried to reassure her that it was not uncommon. Welcome to Istanbul.
It has happened to me a lot to be touched in Istanbul, despite all my efforts to be unseen in the crowd in terms of clothing. I go to Istanbul every month for my work; I am a storekeeper in Hungary (clothes, accessories). It is not always easy to go and travel everywhere in the city alone.
This time, I was in the tramway, at the Beyazit station. Believe me, I would prefer my working places to be in Nişantaşı or Cihangir, but unfortunately this is not the case. The tramway was completely full, while I was going out the train; I was grabbed not from my front but my behind! A man grabbed literally my vagina! As it was crowded and that I was getting off the train, I could not see which man it was. I was furious and was staring at all of them with an outraged look.
Often, I would like to be a large dude and slap them in the face. Instead, I feel alone isolated from everyone, and violated by all those guys, who don´t lose any occasion to look at my breast, my thighs, as if I was an appetizing piece of meat at the butcher´s.
I have been feeling humiliated and furious, all evening long (it happened at 7 p.m). I regret that I cannot speak Turkish better to explain to them what I think about their behavior. And above all I don´t understand why it gives them a sensation of satisfaction or pleasure. I´m also convinced that other people around me see what happens when it happens, and I don´t understand how they can accept this.
I was coming back on the Tramvay from the post office to my house. For
those of us receiving foreign packages, they make you go across town
to this one special post office where you pick up your mail and it was
on my way back on a seemingly normal day, that this jerk invaded my
space. I was on the Tramvay with my boyfriend, and we were conversing
with each other in our native tongue English, him carrying my package
from home. Both standing, it was extremely crowded as usual, and I
suddenly felt weird, as if there were too much pressure on me that was
purposefully trying to stay on me. This man, Turkish, salt and pepper
hair, tan skin, about 5’8, had his hand on my ass and followed me with
every sway and lean I made. I froze. What do I do? It’s so
unbelievably crowded, and I could be mistaken, but how do I give the
signal to my boyfriend—really I felt a little petrified and completely
shocked because I was with a man, and never in Istanbul has this
happened while accompanied by a man whom I was obviously with. Shallow
and stressed breaths, I worked up the courage to whisper to my
boyfriend, ‘He’s touching my butt’, in which case my boyfriend and I
switched places and the guy edged his way through the crowd
immediately. A 10 second joy for him just ruined the next few hours
with my boyfriend. I just feel so vulnerable when that happens, and it
takes a while to become human again.