“I’m very scared of taking the Metro because of incidents like this.”

posted in: WMATA | 2

Location: Metro Train – Redline from Van Ness Metro to Downtown DC
Time: Morning Rush Hour (5am-9:30am)

The Van Ness Metro Station

I had just entered a Metro train at the Van Ness Metro station around 8:00a.m. When I sat down, the man sitting across from me started talking to me, although I made it clear I was reading a book. He continued to ask questions about my name, which I gave him a fake one and what kind of phone I had, what books I read. I tried to answer questions shortly and politely and get back to my book, which I thought would stop him but he continued to yell across the aisle at me. Unfortunately, being polite was the best option to not set him off as I realized he was exhibiting some type of personality or mental issues and did not understand boundries (sic). He then made sexually explicit comments and started asking me where I worked and then asked that I show him my workplace so he could stop by. At this point, other riders were aware of his harassment. I told him I’m sorry, I was married but he persisted in asking questions. I then began to shake from fear at the possibility that he may follow me off the train all the way to my work. By the time we got to Dupont Circle Metro station I got off the train to see if I could just take the next train but he followed me out, saying “Oh, we are getting off now?” I then ran up the escalator and he continued behind me yelling “You’re leaving me!” I walked up to the station manager’s booth and asked for help and told them this man was following me. They told me to stay there and, when he walked up, they helped to fend him off until he walked away and made sure he got on another train before I left. A man was nice enough to walk me down to the train platform as well.

I’m very scared of taking the Metro because of incidents like this [emphasis by CASS]. This is the second time a man has followed me in/around a Metro station. Last year, another man followed me on his bike while I walked on the sidewalk on my way to work just outside the Gallery Place Metro on H Street. When I made it clear I was not interested, by ignoring his comments he became angry, began to curse at me and got onto the sidewalk and followed me screaming profanities. He would not leave me alone until I called 911 for police assistance. The worst part is knowing there are so many other people around you, who even make eye contact with you, and feeling like you cannot get any help from anyone. I’ve been taking Metro for years and recently, I just don’t feel safe on public transportation anymore [emphasis by CASS].

Submitted on 10/26/12 by “S.S.”

Do you have a personal experience with gender-based public sexual harassment or assault?
Submit your story to help raise awareness about the pervasiveness and harmful effects of street harassment. All submissions are posted anonymously unless otherwise specified.

If you experience or have experienced sexual harassment on the DC Metro system:
Please consider reporting to Metro Transit Police: www.wmata.com/harassment; 202-962-2121.

2 Responses

  1. Laurel

    I’m very sorry this has happened to you, and you did the right thing by reporting it to CASS and the Metro authorities. I cannot think what more I myself would/ could have done in a situation such as this. You did not deserve to put up with even a modicum of this abuse–and abuse is what it is. (Hey, naming counts for something here).
    Women have the right to go about our daily lives unimpeded and without fear.

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