Man asks if he’s a jerk for not moving from bench after woman felt unsafe

Everyone deserves their own space, especially women, who are no strangers to feeling unsafe in public places.

Recently, a man who refused to leave a bench for a woman who felt uncomfortable shared his story on Reddit (it has since been removed), seeking opinions on whether he was in the wrong.

“Am I the a*****e for refusing to move from a bench at night because this lady was uncomfortable?” asked u/ladyatstop. The 24-year-old man detailed the incident, believing he was justified in keeping his spot.

“I get off late from work around 11 pm, almost midnight. I do packing and shipping, it was an 8-hour shift, and I was on my feet all day, so I’m exhausted AF and just wanna get home,” he said.

“At the metro station where I catch the train, there is only one long bench to sit and this lady was already sitting on one side. She looked maybe like 30s, not too old. So I sit on the other side of the bench. Not even that close to her cause I’m at the edge. She keeps looking at me until she asks if I mind. I ask her what she means. The lady tells me if I mind going somewhere else and I ask why,” he wrote.

The woman plainly told him that she felt uncomfortable. “She tells me we’re the only people at the station and she’s not comfortable with me being close to her. I look around again even though I know there are no other places to sit, and I tell her sorry I won’t bother her, I just really need to sit cause I’m tired from work. Then she asks, would it really kill me if I moved somewhere else since the train’s gonna be there in 15 minutes and I could sit then,” he wrote.

He wasn’t ready to move away. “This lady’s not letting it go. I promise I won’t bother her. Like I didn’t even tell her anything or do something the first few minutes I sat down by her. This time she gets really mad and asks me to move,” he continued.

He felt annoyed by her insistence. “I tell her no and that I’m sorry, she doesn’t have to worry about me since I just want to sit somewhere after standing all day. After saying that, I put my headphones back on and looked at my phone. But saw this lady after a few minutes get up and walk all the way to the other side of the platform and just stand there. Before she left, I did hear her saying ‘f***ing jack***.’ Didn’t think she would get this mad at me for not wanting to move,” he added.

“I get why ladies would be uncomfortable that late at night at a train station with some random guy, but I wasn’t even paying attention to her at all. And didn’t wanna move cause again, I was super tired. Still, was I an asshole?” he asked Reddit. He also clarified that both were wearing masks and maintaining social distance.

Many Reddit users sided with him, arguing that if she felt uncomfortable, she should have moved. Some even pointed out that it was a public bench. “Absolutely not the a*****e. If she didn’t feel safe, she shouldn’t have even spoken to you. She should simply have walked away without a backward glance and that would have been it,” wrote one Redditor.

While most seemed to agree with him, it’s still important to recognize the context of why women often feel unsafe in public spaces. High rates of sexual harassment and assault contribute to this uneasiness, and not every interaction a woman has while being out on her own is harmless.

What did you think of this? Let us know your thoughts!


Thank you for subscribing!
Something went wrong. Please try again later.

Sign up for our newsletter