Morning Masturbator on the Red Line

posted in: WMATA | 4

I was harrassed this morning on the red line train between Bethesda and Dupont.

I entered at White Flint at approximately 9:20 a.m., and took a seat in the uncrowded third car, next to a window. At one of the next three stops a powerfully built man wearing grey sweatpants and a black ski vest got on, paced slowly up the aisle, and sat next to me. He seemed to be leaning on me, but I ignored him an read my Express like a good metro rider. At about Friendship heights something caught my eye and I realized he was stroking himself himself through his sweatpants and pointing his erection at me. His jacket was large enough that the person across the aisle probably couldn’t see. I tried to get out of the seat at Cleveland Park but he pushed against me harder, blocking me in while continuing to stroke. I focused on my newspaper and said nothing, amazed at how powerless and frozen I felt, trying not to let him know that I knew what he was doing. If you’d asked me a week ago how I would have handled this, I would say that I’d have screamed at the top of my lungs. But I was mute.

Eventually at Dupont enough people got up that I was able to do the same. It wasn’t my stop and I felt lost and unsure of what to do. There were no transit police nearby, and the station attendant had a line at her door. What would I tell them anyway? I don’t have a description of the man that anyone would recognize. I called my husband, got back on the train and continued to metro center, where I saw him again. Again, instead of screaming or catching anyone’s attention, I ran. Jumped on the nearest train, going the wrong direction, and ran.

I am often called naive in my belief that people are good. I don’t lock my car doors, have confidence in new situations and regularly give people the benefit of the doubt. I used to be upset at people who sit on the aisle seat and leave the window seat open when riding the train. I’m feeling better now but in the five minutes I was held hostage by this sexual predator, I truly saw a different side of this world. I’ll be hogging the aisle seat from now on and promise myself not to remain silent in the future.

Location: Red Line between Bethesda and Dupont

Submitted by HY on 12/8/2009

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4 Responses

  1. cathy

    don’t ever blame yourself for your reaction in the moment. you’ve done absolutely nothing wrong, he’s entirely to blame. this morning you reacted in a way that you felt would keep you safe, and every hour you’ll continually figure out what to do to keep yourself. never second-guess or apologize for that.

  2. Tony Marciante

    Sorry to hear of that, I don’t want to give advice, but I would have to imagine that getting right up and calling him out to the crowd would have made him stop and feel like the freak that he is..stay safe.

  3. Friday Jones

    Whatever a woman does in such a situation is probably the thing most likely to result in not getting seriously harmed. She said he was a powerfully-built large man, and he had her hemmed into a narrow space, so she obviously weighed her options and decided against direct confrontation, which is not a decision I would second-guess from the safety of my keyboard..

    She did what she felt she had to in a bad situation, and I for one am impressed with her bravery and presence of mind. Jumping on that second train was a good idea I think, sounds like something I’d do. Tricksy hobbitses!

  4. Katie

    The same thing happened to me TODAY on the redline…I jumped over the guy when he wldnt let me out and stepped on him. I am still so traumatized and I don’t know why I keep crying about it because technically he didn’t even touch me. I was s disoriented I got on the wrong train, ended up late for work at the restaurant and broke 3 glasses because I was panicking. I am imagining all the young girls who have been molested/raped and I pray to God that men stop harming women especially young innocent girls.