Yesterday this happened:
Today, as I was emerging from the Court House Metro Station, a man got uncomfortably close behind me on the escalator. I had headphones on, but even so, I heard the familiar fake shutter-click of an obnoxious phone camera, then felt the unmistakable grab of a stranger’s hand under my skirt. I turned around (we were at the top of the escalator now), yelled “WHAT DID YOU DO? WHO THE HELL DO YOU THINK YOU ARE? THIS ASSHOLE JUST TOOK A PICTURE UP MY SKIRT AND GRABBED ME!” as loudly as I could. He tried to push past me and I hit him as hard as I could in the shoulder (he was a big guy, he barely felt it). He smiled that horrible-dude “I can do whatever I want” smile and leisurely jogged away, holding his phone. I was crying at this point, just feeling powerless and awful. There were tons of people around since this was at 8:30 AM in Arlington. No one even looked up as I was yelling at him that I could tell, but I don’t know what I would do in that situation either. A nicely dressed older woman walked past me, and I said through my tears “That person just took a picture up my skirt and grabbed me, what should I do?” and she shook her head and walked on. I sat on a bench and cried for a while, got a cup of coffee, called my sister, and went to work.
I was getting off at the same Metro station at the same time (about 8:15) AM, and saw him. I should also say that yesterday I filed a report with the Arlington Police Department, and even though they pretty much said they couldn’t do anything until more people reported him, I’m VERY glad I did. Today, as I was riding up the escalator at Court House, I SAW him. This time, I got a GOOOOOOD look at him, and took a picture, though I could only get a profile shot. He recognized me and pulled his hat over his face. He turned toward the Courthouse exit from the station. I went and told a very helpful female WMATA employee (I think she was the station manager on duty, at the kiosk) and she said he looks like the person who has been standing at the bottom of the escalators looking up girls’ skirts as they go up.
He is about 5’8″, Latino, in his late twenties I believe. Both times I’ve seen him he’s worn a Tshirt, paint-spattered jeans, tan work boots with paint on them, and a baseball cap. He clearly recognized me and was trying to hide.
The WMATA employee called the Metro Transit Police and I talked to an officer about what happened. He said that because I already filed a report with Arlington police, that he didn’t want to double file a report, but that if I EVER SAW HIM AGAIN, or if ANYONE IS HARASSED OR ASSAULTED BY HIM, to report it immediately.
The man I talked to at Arlington PD also said something really helpful that I wish I had known. I think that the way we are brought up as a culture is to not cause a scene, because we’re worried everyone will think we’re overreacting. That’s absolutely why it took me a few hours to file a report yesterday even though I was clearly ASSAULTED. The officer I spoke with said that it is not your responsibility to decide if something is worthy of police attention or not, that you always have the right to call the police if you feel unsafe.
If you are harassed or assaulted by this man or anyone, please please please report it as soon as possible. There is absolutely strength in numbers in situations like these.
I’m also emailing a photo from my phone.
Submitted by Erica on 5/27/2010
Location: Court House Metro Station
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