Jumping In

posted in: WMATA | 1
Photo by AlbinoFlea via Flickr
Photo by AlbinoFlea via Flickr

Last week I was heading home from work on the green line.  I was sitting down and when I looked up from the book I was reading I saw a man  put  face just a few inches from a woman’s face.   She was standing up near the door and had her iPod on so it seemed apparent that this was very much unwanted. He was whispering at first so I could not hear what he was saying but when she didn’t respond he started getting louder. He said “You look real good. Why don’t you want to talk to me?” All the while, the woman is just staring straight ahead.  The train is not crowded at all but there are a handful of other people around (including other men), staring at what is taking place but no one does anything to help her out. I am about to get up and do something when the woman sitting next to me jumps up and puts her body between the harasser and the woman.  I  hear her say very loudly so everyone can hear, “Hey!!! How are you? I didn’t see you over here.” The two women talk for a few minutes and and the harasser finally walks off.   I hear the woman who jumped up say, “I didn’t know what was going on but I could tell you didn’t want him in your space.”  The woman who was getting harassed says, “thank you” before getting off the train.

From all the stories we’ve collected on Holla Back DC! it has become apparent that a lack bystander accountability  is a problem in DC so is refreshing to see someone jump in and not be an innocent bystander.   I hope that this experience can inspire others to do the same when they see harassment occurring.

Location: Green Line between Chinatown and U street.

Submitted by Shannon

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One Response

  1. Peter Smith

    i would actually like to see us develop a ‘transit code’ for dudes, at least, to stand up to other dudes who are getting crazy, harassing girls.

    not sure if that sounds weird/stupid, but i actually feel like it’s necessary. too many of us dudes don’t know how to act, are afraid, timid, etc. we don’t know the rules, don’t know what it’s like to get punched in the face, don’t know how to defend ourselves much less anyone else, don’t know how to rally support from other riders to jump in and stick up for us if/when we go down, etc. we don’t know when it’s ok to throw the first punch. we’re afraid of going to jail. etc.

    a code. we need a code just like the Marines. and, really, it should be everyone who rides. we should think about it.