It Can Happen If You’re 20 And In A Mini skirt, Or If You’re “An Old lady Wearing An Old Winter Hat.” And It’s Not OK.

Location: Orange line near Virginia Square stop
Time: Daytime (9:30am-3:30pm)

Christmas Eve 2012 I boarded the train around noon to meet a friend in DC. The car was nearly empty when a young man sat in the seat directly behind me. I felt that was odd. I looked out the window to see if I could see who was behind me. It was a young man with his head against the window as though he were sleeping. I told myself to relax but there was a gnawing feeling. Then the man moved to the seat next to me increasing my alertness. He then moved to the seat directly in front of me…the one that faces into the center of the train.

I became quite concerned and noticed his hand in his coat pocket. Being shortly after The Connecticut shootings, I was concerned that he had some type of weapon and I was planning my calm departure from the situation. He and I were the only ones on that half of the train so I was going to walk past him to the other half where there were a few passengers. But next thing I know he unzips his pants and masturbates in front of me. I quickly got up and went to a door and to the station manager. He originally hopped off the train, but must have gotten back on when he saw me leave.

What was amazing to me was my emotional reaction. I hung my head in shame as I told the station manager what happened. I was angry…at me because I questioned my reaction…at him because he fit the ugly stereotypes I’ve fought against….at men because they so casually violate women. I questioned why some young kid would do that to me…an old lady by their standards (50) dressed plainly wearing an old winter hat. I then belittled myself because I didn’t even know if I had a right to my reaction, after all he didn’t touch or threaten me. I asked my friend to meet me at the station and we traveled downtown together. He was very compassionate and we discussed the emotions and the wrongness. I’ve read many of the stories here and it’s good to know that others have similar feelings.

Submitted 3/29/13 by “LK”

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One Response

  1. renee

    This one hits close to home. Can’t imagine this happening to my mother (who’s also in her 50s). This reader describes really well how so many people feel after a violation like this — fear, shame, self-blame. I’m glad she reported the incident, despite experiencing the common feelings of shame & doubt that often plague victims, & had the support of a friend. So proud that she posted and shared – thank you.