Recently, Canadian journalist Joanna Chiu told her 45K Twitter followers about the time she witnessed a man making sexual advances towards a teen girl on a plane. Chiu was on a flight from Toronto to Vancouver when she heard a passenger behind her complaining about having to sit in the middle seat. However, the complaints stopped when a teenage girl traveling separately from her family sat next to him.

Image credits: joannachiu

“I thought it was strange that suddenly he seemed very happy to be where he was in the middle seat, and it seemed like it was because a teenage girl had come up and sat beside him in a window seat,” Chiu told CBC. “He kept asking about her school, what she was studying, what she wanted to be when she was older. It definitely raised some flags, so I started listening pretty carefully.”

It soon got to a point where the creep was asking her out and even though the girl was ignoring him, it was pretty obvious that he was determined to keep going. Luckily, with the help of other passengers and crew members, Chiu stopped the predator. Continue scrolling to read how everything unfolded in the journalist’s own words.

More info: Twitter

Image credits: joannachiu

Image credits: joannachiu

Image credits: joannachiu

Image credits: joannachiu

Image credits: joannachiu

Image credits: joannachiu

Image credits: joannachiu

Image credits: joannachiu

Image credits: joannachiu

Image credits: joannachiu

Image credits: joannachiu

Image credits: joannachiu

Image credits: joannachiu

Image credits: joannachiu

Image credits: joannachiu

Image credits: joannachiu

Image credits: joannachiu

Chiu also added a link to a piece by The New York Times that teaches bystanders to intervene. This allows everyone to stop harassment, instead of offering people just the two of either harasser or victim. And even though bystander training is still relatively rare in the corporate world, it has been proven effective on college campuses, in the military, and by nonprofits.

Interestingly, most trainers don’t advise confronting the harasser in the heat of the moment, because that may escalate the situation and put the bystander in jeopardy. If comfortable doing so, they suggest, a bystander can use a phrase like, “That joke wasn’t funny.” Another option of disrupting the situation is by loudly dropping a book or asking the victim to come to the conference room.

A crucial element, according to researchers, is for bystanders to talk to targets of harassment. Not only could they feel isolated, but observers also might have gotten the right idea about the interaction. They could say something like, “I noticed that happened. Are you O.K. with that?”

“So many victims blame themselves, so a bystander saying, ‘This isn’t your fault, you didn’t do anything wrong,’ is really, really important,” said Sharyn Potter, a sociologist at the University of New Hampshire who runs a research group there for sexual violence prevention.

However, it’s worth mentioning that while training protects companies from lawsuits, it can also reinforce gender stereotypes, at least in the short term. Primarily because it usually portrays men as powerful and sexually insatiable and women as vulnerable. Thus, women might find themselves in a difficult position in terms of feeling confident and empowered in the workplace.

Other women came forward with similar stories

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