Direct Action – But Not As You Know It

December 15, 2010 § 2 Comments

Rosa Parks sat on a bus, Lisa Robinson stood in front of a train.

Returning from a day in the city with her husband and 5-year-old son, 30 drunk football supporters joined Lisa’s train chanting ‘get your tits out’ to another woman on the station platform. Lisa went over, asked them to stop swearing – and they then turned on her. They hurled abuse at her husband, using the C word, and turned the sexist abuse onto Lisa. She complained to train staff, who waved off her complaints. Not accepting this, she pulled the emergency alarm as the train pulled into the next station and demanded to report the offensive behaviour to the police. Again she was told to forget it.

But Lisa isn’t that kind of person. She got off the train, slithered onto the tracks and stood in front of the train – blocking it’s path. She refused to move until the British Transport Police arrived so that the men could be reported, despite continued harassment from the drunkards.

Lisa’s interview on Women’s Hour is a dream. She is calm, comes across as totally herself, and makes it clear that this was about standing up for her values and principles. ‘If we accept that this is how society is today, how are we ever going to change it?’ she asks.

A good question for us all to ponder next time we see sexist, racist, homophobic or any intimidating behaviour on public transport.

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