Unfriendly Heights

Last Monday I took the metro home at about 9 pm from Friendship Heights. While I waiting for the train, I stayed at the far end of the platform because that’s closer to the exit I need once I get to my destination…smart, right?

WRONG! I was listening to music, and a man came up to me and asked me something. No one else was around and I thought he might be asking for directions, so I asked him what he said. He repeated himself:
“Do you believe extraterrestrials are trying to contact us?” (Uh oh.)
I told him I didn’t.

“Can I ask you another question?” He moved closer to me and I immediately became uncomfortable and started to back away. Then he asked “….do you give head?” and made a lewd gesture.
I said three things at him before I walked away: “That’s inappropriate, that’s sexual harassment, it’s not ok to ask that question and I’m going to report it.”

I walked up to the gates and told the man who was working there that I wanted to report sexual harassment on the metro. He told me the only number to call was the metro police, so I spoke with a policewoman and told her I wanted to report a harassment incident. She said the only way to report it was to wait at the station for the police to arrive and tell them in person, or to physically go to a police station. Bullshit. There should be an easier way. That made me angrier than anything else. I wasn’t in the mood to further mess up my night by spending the next undeterminable amount of time trying to report what happened, so the appropriate authorities will never have ANY idea about the extent of sexual harassment on the metro. They should make it as easy as possible for us to help them keep track of our safety. Holla back for a metro harassment hotline?

Location: Friendship Heights Metro Station

Submitted by L

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2 Responses

  1. J.D. Hammond

    As a general rule, I’ve noticed that when strangers want to ask random people questions in DC, it invariably ends in panhandling, some kind of sexual harassment, or both.

    So when someone says “Scuse me can I ask you a question?”, my answer is usually “No.”

  2. Golden Silence

    So when someone says “Scuse me can I ask you a question?”, my answer is usually “No.”

    I cringe when I hear that dreaded question, because you’re right. The question’s usually panhandling or a precursor to street harassment. I used to be sarcastic and respond with “You just did!” when they asked that, but due to too many negative responses from the harassers lately, I don’t even respond to the initial “‘Scuse me…” anymore. I completely ignore it and they just continue with “‘Scuse me…”, failing to realize (or not caring) I’m ignoring them.

    Mixing a polite start to a conversation (“Excuse me…”) with harassment is not cool.