A Winnipeg woman says she was standing up for another woman who was being harassed on a Transit bus when a single punch from a stranger shattered seven of her teeth.
Saturday evening, Aisha Walker was heading to work when she got on a bus at Polo Park heading downtown. A couple blocks later, a man who appeared to be intoxicated got on.
"He was being really strange with this woman on the bus. He just kept asking her if she wanted to dance and like he kept shaking his body and saying like, 'Come on, let's shake it. Yeah.'"
Despite the crowd of people on the bus, Walker says no one intervened, so she got up and told the woman that she would stand between the intoxicated man and her.
The man got angry and started a verbal argument with Walker. That's when another man, who at that point hadn't been involved, started telling Walker and the intoxicated man to "shut up and sit down," Walker said.
"I said to that person, 'Why do you have a problem with me defending this woman?'
The man stood up and started shouting and swearing at Walker. "And I said like, 'I don't know what you're trying to prove. I don't understand what you're trying to accomplish by trying to fight me.' And at that point he reached out and punched me in the face."
The bus was stopped near Balmoral Street and the man immediately got off the bus. Another passenger told Walker she should report the incident to the driver, who stopped the bus and cleared everyone off. The driver then took down Walker's information and told her to file a police report, which she did.
Winnipeg Police Service said they are investigating the incident and reviewing security camera footage. Police do not have any suspects in custody.
Walker said she felt "nothing" when she got punched. "It felt like not even real, it felt like a dream. Like it felt like I was watching it happen more so than actually experiencing it happen to me."
Walker described the man as a little more than six feet tall, in his mid to late 20s, with dark skin, a full beard, and a clean cut appearance. He was wearing a winter jacket and toque, which covered his hair.
"I'm a transgender woman, so I look like a flamingly gay man. Like I'm really skinny, because my muscles are atrophied from the hormones. I wear women's clothing. It was definitely not a fair match," she said.
The blow broke seven teeth, exposing nerves, and also left Walker with a black eye and a bruise on her chest. She says police informed her that Manitoba Health will cover emergency dental surgery, but she's worried about how much it will cover.
"I had really nice teeth before, I had a really nice smile," she said.
Walker says she's surprised by the damage a single punch could do, and she said she suspects it's related to the fact that she's a transgender woman and recently stopped taking her hormones because she says she couldn't afford them.
"And when your body doesn't have a dominant sex hormone you're at risk for osteoporosis, brittle bones. So I think it was just bad timing that I got hit while I'm off."
She said she doesn't know if that fact that she's transgender played a role in the assault.
"I don't know if he knew I was transgender, but most people assume that I'm either trans or gay, so I think there might have been an element of homophobia, or maybe transphobia. I feel like that could have played a role."
The incident has left Walker feeling confused.
"I really don't understand why this third party had a problem with me standing up for a woman on the bus. I really don't understand why it made him so mad that he felt the need to punch me in the face."
CBC reached out for comment from the City of Winnipeg, which referred all questions about the incident to police.
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