“How should I react?”

posted in: WMATA | 5

I was waiting for the orange line headed to vienna at metro center. This was Tuesday afternoon at 2pm. I was playing solitaire on my phone, not really paying attention to what was going on around me. Out of the corner of my eye I noticed a man, about 5’10” wearing a white t-shirt tucked into black gym shorts wearing a backpack. I noticed him because he was standing closer than most people do. I saw a jacking off type motion out of the corner of my eye, but wasn’t sure that is what I was seeing so didn’t look over.

When the train arrived I hurried toward the front of the car to sit down. A man came and sat down beside me. I thought it might have been the same man but I wasn’t sure. When a similar motion caught my eye again I looked down and realized his penis was outside of his shorts and he was using a grey sweatshirt to prevent other passengers (other than me) to see what he was doing. I took a minute to think of what to do – snap a picture, no because I don’t know how to turn off the picture taking sound on my phone – say something? no, what if he is a psyco, plus bad shit happens to people all the time when they say the wrong thing to the wrong person – even if there are many others around. I picked a third option – I got up, walked around him (luckily I was in the seat with no seats in front of it) and took a seat next to a woman.

I feel bad because by not saying anything I may have made him more likely to do this to another woman, but at the same time someone who would do this clearly has limited sense of propriety. I wanted to post to Holla Back DC! to at least have my experience documented or recognized in some way. Unfortunately this is the second time I have had to post.

Submitted by eg on 5/4/2010

Location: Orange Line headed to Vienna – Both the harasser and I got on at Metro Center

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5 Responses

  1. cathy

    there’s never one right thing to do. you did what you had to do to feel safe, that’s all that matters.

  2. Anonymous

    same thing happened to me this morning! Orange Line to Vienna – the man followed me on the train at L’Enfant plaza!

  3. Anonymous

    I just let my wife know about this, because she rides the orange line every day (and there was another one the next day). I agree with cathy, although my wife had a good point: Many of these guys continue to do this because no one says anything.

    Granted, the fear of what could happen if you do something other than just move is understandable, the best thing that could be done in a situation like this is to make a scene…not just saying something, but a full out screaming fit to get everyone’s attention.

    There will be other people on the train to come to your aid, maybe even grab the guy and hold him until the next stop so he can be turned over to the police. Maybe even an off-duty or plain-clothes officer as well.

  4. […] a Comment HBDC!’s note: This experience is very similar to the experience that we received a few days back.  If you feel comfortable reporting this perpetrator, contact Metro Transit Police at  […]

  5. A Attura

    Snap a picture of his little weeny — and SAY something for gods sake– like “HI TINY!! Why don;t you put that little thing back in your pants!!”