British Columbia

Passenger was sent sexual threats on her phone while riding bus

A woman who received disturbing images by AirDrop while she was riding the bus in Surrey says she couldn't sleep the night after it happened.

Warning: This story includes photos and language around sexual assault

Police say a woman was AirDropped a picture threatening sexual assault shortly after boarding a bus in Surrey. (Ben Nelms/CBC)

A woman who received disturbing pictures by AirDrop while she was riding the bus in Surrey says she couldn't sleep the night after it happened.

Shortly after boarding a bus at the Newton exchange, the B.C. woman received several images on her phone bearing the message "I'm going to rape you" in white letters against a black background.

"I was afraid. I didn't know what was going to happen," said the woman, whom CBC has agreed not to name.

She was travelling alone at night, so she texted a friend and arranged to meet at the most brightly lit bus stop she could think of.

"Afterwards I just felt angry, because … I realized that this is likely just a prank that someone is playing because they think it's funny or they wanted to see somebody's reaction," she said.

Police say there were around 15 other passengers on board when the pictures were received. (Facebook)

She said she texted Transit Police right away, and officers met her shortly after she got off the bus.

"I couldn't sleep all night," she recalled.

AirDrop is a service on Apple iPhones that allows users to transfer files to someone within their proximity who also has AirDrop.

Transit Police described the messages as "extremely concerning sexual threats."

"The circumstances surrounding this incident are extremely concerning," said Const. Mike Yake with Metro Vancouver Transit Police. "All members of the public have the right to use public transit without fear of assault or harassment."

Yake says there were around 15 other passengers on board when the pictures were received.

Officers later met with the victim, says Yake, adding that the investigation has been passed onto the General Investigation Unit.

Anyone who has experienced a similar incident while on public transit is asked to contact Metro Vancouver Transit Police.

How to turn off AirDrop

Although AirDrop can make transferring pictures and files to friends helpful, there is a way to turn it off to avoid unwanted sharing. The woman who received the messages said she has changed her settings so only friends are able to share content with her.

AirDrop can be turned off to avoid unwanted sharing of files and pictures. (Bridgette Watson/CBC News)

Just follow these steps:

  • Open your settings app.
  • Select "General."
  • Select "AirDrop."
  • Select "Receiving Off."

This will make it so that other users will no longer be able to see your device.

If preferred, you can also limit it to "Contacts Only."

With files from Cory Correia

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