A second Vancouver woman has come forward to say she was the victim of a spitting assault in Gastown this week.
Carolyn Yu spoke up after Global News reported the case a woman who said a man spat on her on Water Street on Tuesday.
Yu says she was assaulted Monday night while heading home from dinner with a friend.
She told Global News she was at the intersection of Carrall and Cordova streets, when a man approached from behind, rattling on business windows.
“And then he came around, and spat in my face and walked away,” she said.
“He didn’t say anything, but I did notice he was armed; he had a pair of gardening shears on him, and that’s why I didn’t try and apprehend him or chase him down or anything.”
Yu said the experience left her shocked and disgusted.
With concerns about COVID-19, she tried to get the spit off her face as quickly as possible.
“I just slathered my face and neck and a little in my eye, to be honest, with hand sanitizer,” she said.
Yu said she tried to report the incident the following day, but gave up after waiting an hour and a half to get through to the Vancouver police non-emergency line.
Vancouver police Sgt. Aaron Roed said police have seen an uptick in similar incidents in recent months.
“Since COVID in early March, we have seen an increase in people spitting on other people — and this is an assault,” he said.
“Don’t just dismiss something like this … We know there are health risks involved.”
Roed urged anyone who was a victim of a spit assault to call 911 if the incident is in progress and otherwise directed them to the non-emergency line.
He acknowledged that the line can see high call volume during business hours, but said it is less busy during non-peak hours.
Yu, who has worked on and off in Gastown for the last eight years, told Global News she feels the area has changed for the worse.
She said the neighbourhood has always had a diverse mixture of people, but that recently the attitude has become more aggressive.
“It’s definitely a different atmosphere in Gastown, I don’t feel safe going back,” she said.
But Yu said she doesn’t feel more policing in the area will solve the problem.
She suspects her attacker was on drugs or suffering from mental health issues, and believes without tackling those problems nothing will change.
-With files from Catherine Urquhart