Dear Vulnerable Subway Riders,
I know how you feel so here is my first Subway Self-Defense Tip/Technique!
When riding on the subway during rush hours – when there is barely any space between you and the next person and you can’t tell if that’s because there is actually no space or because they are a creeper – keep your elbows tucked, but pointed outward. You can achieve the optimal position by folding your hands at the bottom of your ribs and above your bellybutton and then popping your elbows out just a little bit.
What this does is create a very active defense and an easily activated offense. Defensively speaking, you have a hard, pointy bone sticking out on either side of you so it is more difficult for space invaders to get too close initially without some discomfort. As an offense you can plant that sharp elbow in them and slowly push them away from you without fuss or a scene, if that is what you want, or you can simply jam it hard into any soft bit they have exposed and tell them very loudly to back off.
This is what I did to get a subway harasser off of me a few weeks ago and then again this morning when I didn’t know if the guy next to me was trying to cop a feel. I just got my elbow in and slowly made room and then when he moved to a different spot I kept my elbow out so he couldn’t get any closer than I wanted him.
Please be safe, and if something happens to you – report it! I regret not getting off the train at 59th street and reporting the man who harassed me because he can go on to do it to other women. And if you see something happening to someone else and you feel safe saying something, say something!
-A Subway Survivor