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Berkton Bus Stop

Bus stop at night

This story is based on real events. If you think you may need help, please consider reaching out to one of the resources listed at the bottom of the article.

Snowfall was something Berkton usually did not experience in early December. Yet, this year Berkton locals were surprised with heavy snow, huge snowdrifts, and stabbing frostbite. The harsh weather slowed Millie’s day until Alan arrived. He had been visiting the coffee shop she worked at for a couple of weeks and his conversation was flirty and casual, openly showing interest in Millie. 

Today was no exception: Alan clutched his favourite mug of hot chocolate, leaned on the counter, and looked at Millie. “You have incredibly beautiful eyes, you know? Especially today.”

Millie smiled. “Thank you for the compliment. I appreciate it, but I don’t think today is a special day, so I dare to assume that my eyes look the same as always.”

“I disagree. Today is indeed a special day because I’m asking you out on a date. Do you have plans this Friday?”

“I have no plans,” Millie said.

Alan smiled. “Now you do. I’ll pick you up from work on Friday. Dress warm.” With a wink, he left the coffee shop and Millie waved goodbye.

On Friday, Millie, who had been mentally preparing for the date all day, met Alan after work.  Berkton’s weather went from light snow to freezing rain. Despite the cold, Alan was determined to take the bus.

After standing and chatting in the cold for a while, the bus still hadn’t shown up. Millie was freezing, getting increasingly regretful about the situation.

“Why don’t we just call a taxi? I don’t want either of us to get sick.”

“Look, I told you to dress warmer,” Alan barked. “Don’t worry. The bus will be here soon.”

Millie, though surprised by his tone, decided not to argue.

girl sitting on a bus stop looking sad

They warmed up on the bus ride to the bar. Once inside, Alan sat Millie at a small table while he went to order two pints of beer.

Conversation flowed between them as they drank, exchanging bits and pieces about their goals and hobbies. Alan peered at his companion all evening, asking various questions. Millie, who became quite drunk, felt free in a blurry way.

Toward the end of their date, Alan pulled Millie into a rough kiss, but she stopped it before things went further.

“I’m just letting you know I don’t want anything more tonight.” Millie smiled politely.

She saw the slight disappointment on Alan’s face but she tried not to let it affect her.

After checking the clock (and the weather), the pair decided to call it a night. Leaving the warm bar, Alan took Millie’s hand and led her back to the bus stop. “I checked the schedule. The last bus should arrive in a few minutes.”

Mille was sure about one thing: Alan was obsessed with buses.

For that reason, she didn’t object. They said goodbye when the bus pulled up to Millie’s house.

The next morning, as Millie washed off the remnants of her makeup, she found small bruises on her lips. 

I wonder if he always kisses like that.

With the clarity of the day, Millie decided that a relationship wasn’t going to work with Alan. While their texts had been flirty from when she had agreed to the date, she didn’t want their relationship to progress further. 

Alan agreed to meet but was visibly displeased when Millie told him her decision. 

“I understand what you’re counting on, but I want to be as honest with you as possible,” she said. “Alan, you and I won’t have anything at all. I’m sorry. I wanted to tell you this face-to-face rather than through text and avoiding you.”

Alan’s face scrunched in annoyance. “Did something happen? We can go to my place, make tea, and just talk if something is bothering you.”

Millie wanted to refuse, but she eventually gave in when Alan insisted.

When they arrived at his place, tea was made, but Millie tensed as Alan sat beside her instead of across.

“Listen, Alan, you and I are adults. I want you to understand that I’m just not a person who can have casual sex. I thought we might have enough of a connection, but I just don’t think it is going to work out.”

Alan appeared to be listening attentively, even agreeing with her statements, but Millie felt him shifting closer to her. As Millie continued to talk, Alan grasped Millie’s waist and tried to kiss her. 

Millie pulled away sharply. “What is your problem? I’m trying to talk to you. I didn’t want anything, and I was very clear about that!”

“Well, we kissed in a bar,” Alan said, rolling his eyes. “And in general, I was ready for tonight.” He looked relaxed even as he tried shifting the blame to Millie.

“What do you mean, ‘you were ready’?! I am not ready! Whether we kissed or not—it doesn’t matter. I still have the right to say no.”

Alan ignored her and laid his head on Millie’s lap.

Disgusted, Millie tried to get up. “I’m leaving. You said that we would talk, then you behave like this.”

Alan held her back down. “I’m still talking to you. You said we’re adults and you don’t want sex, but you went to a bar with me and had fun. You’re right—we are adults. That’s why you’re here.” Alan sat up and tried to kiss Millie again. She drew back and twisted her head away.

Millie blamed herself for coming to his place, for not leaving straight after his first attempt to kiss her. In a situation like this, hanging out with a guy with biceps bigger than her head—she felt vulnerable. Millie had always been able to take care of herself, but she was scared.

Alan continued: “I just think that you’re touchy. Or maybe you have some nerves? I can help you, but you are still resisting me.” His demeanour seemed calm, but he contorted his face into a frown. Millie felt the familiar guilt of disappointing someone. After all, Alan did take her to a bar and compliment her… What if it is her fault? What if he’s right and she has “some nerves”?

“Come on, don’t worry. Everything will be amazing. I prepared so that you’ll enjoy this,” Alan said. He grasped her, trying to kiss her again.

Millie’s guilt turned into anger. This man didn’t understand what “no” meant and talking to him was useless. Shoving Alan away, Millie stood up, picked up her backpack from the floor, and rushed outside.

She hurried home, feeling the sting of tears behind her eyes. She blamed Alan, and she even blamed herself for daring to worry about this because so many women wouldn’t have been able to escape a similar situation or have had it worse.

The familiar lock of her door clicked behind her, but Millie’s worry did not go away. She was afraid to tell anyone about what happened; she didn’t want to hear accusations against her, like “it’s your fault for going home with unfamiliar men,” or “it could be worse, you still got off easy,” or they would say she was lying for attention. In a small town, all rumours spread quickly.

The next few days passed, and Millie continued to go to work as if nothing happened. It was easier to pretend that everything was okay.

A couple of weeks later, Alan came in for coffee and approached her.

“Well, hello. You look good,” Alan said. “I wanted to talk. You seem to be offended by something. My reputation is important to me, so let’s forget what happened.”

“Offended?! I’m angry with you. You were disgusting.” Millie seethed. Bringing up reputation would be making a mockery of the harassment she faced. Alan muttered under his breath and quickly left.

But Alan started frequenting the coffee shop. He stared at Millie and commented on the date often, reminding her of what happened and blaming her for “going on a date with him and spending his money.” She ignored him, but when she couldn’t put up with it anymore and asked him what he wanted, Alan said:

“I’m terribly interested. I see how you communicate with other people. Why is it you decided to be touchy with me?” He chuckled as if bringing up their failed date was amusing to him.

“How I communicate with other people is none of your business. Get out.”

Alan continued to visit a few more times and attempted conversation, but when Millie continued ignoring him, it finally worked.

He stopped showing up at the coffee shop and didn’t even pass by. Later, Millie found out that he had moved to another country. Lucky her, she chuckled, wondering what could have happened if he hadn’t moved.

After the incident, Millie’s life went back to normal. She was happy because she could work in peace.

On one of those carefree days, Millie met a young man who had recently moved closer to town and began to frequent the coffee shop. He seemed genuinely nice and polite, not pestering her with incessant comments. Millie decided to take a chance on him, even being so brave to tell him about what had happened to her.

It was like a weight lifted off her shoulders. Her story was greeted with the best kind of support—understanding. Even now, Millie is sure that sharing her story was one of the best decisions in her life.

Centres and organizations:                                                                Emergency Numbers:

VICTIM LINK BC                                                                                   1-800-563-0808
Women Against Violence Against Women | Support              604-255-6344    or    1-877-392-7583
Transgender Care BC                                                               
AMS Sexual Assault Support Center                                                    04-827-5180 
North Shore Women’s Centre                                                                604-984-6009
Downtown Eastside Women’s Centre                                                    604-681-8480
Vancouver Aboriginal Child and Family Services Society
Aboriginal Mother Centre Society                                                           604-558-2627
Indigenous Women’s Program                                                               1-855-687-18

Vancouver Police Department | Sex Assault – more information and resources


Shelter Safe – Find a Shelter | BC
Spirit Lodge Transition House
Aboriginal Shelter                                                                                   604-251-4844
Waaban Housing for First Nations, Métis & Inuit Women                      604-598-6370  
Progressive Housing Emergency Shelter                                               604-522-9669
British Columbia Domestic Shelters
Dixon House                                                                                          604-298-3454

Vancouver General Hospital – Emergency Department                         604-875-2881
BC Women’s Hospital + Health Centre – more information, resources, shelter lists