Location: Orange Line between Foggy Bottom and Capitol South
Time: Daytime (9:30am-3:30pm)
I was heading home from campus, seated on the metro near a window, and reading. A man sat next to me and reached down – between my legs – to retrieve something that was on the floor near my feet. It was an old luggage tag, the kind you attach to a suitcase, and it wasn’t mine. I was shocked that he reached between my legs to pick the tag up, but he clearly wasn’t American and spoke limited English. He asked me if the tag was mine and when I said it wasn’t, he reached BACK between my legs to place it back on the floor. I was shocked again, about two stops away from my destination, and burning with anger and shame. I stayed silent, just trying to get home without causing a scene, and I think that made him think his actions were acceptable, that American women were tolerant of these kinds of things.
The worst part came next: as he continued to sit next to me, and I continued to stew silently trying to figure out what to do, he started rubbing his erect penis through his pants. Again, I was shocked into silence, and I think he knew that he (literally) had me cornered. When my stop arrived and I had to get past him to exit the train, he stood but refused to get out of the way so that I would have to rub against him to get past him. I yelled at him at that point, demanding that he get out of the way, but even when he stepped into the aisle he positioned himself so that we touched. He then stared at me, still rubbing himself, while I got off the train. I was humiliated and angry at myself that I didn’t say something more, that I didn’t stop him from reaching between my legs or call him out on his completely inappropriate behavior. But I didn’t. I only realized later what I should have done. I’ll never let that happen again.
Submitted on 12/3/12 by “EBD”
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