Violated on the Metro: “I blamed myself for wearing snug pants. When, I got home I threw my entire outfit in the trash.”

Location: Metro – Yellow Line Train to Huntington
Time: Evening Rush Hour (3:30pm-7:30pm)

As I type this, I am searching for words to describe what happened today on my commute home, but I’m going to do my best.

I was taking the Metro home like I normally do, and when I go off at the Chinatown stop to switch to the Huntington train, while I was listening to my podcast and waiting for the next train I felt a man behind me and what I thought was the corner of his bag on my behind. As I got on the crowded train, I noticed he was behind me again, the corner of his bag bumping me. I felt uncomfortable so I scooted up a little but I noticed he scooted up too.

By the next stop, a seat became available and I quickly sat down. He sat down next to me. I didn’t think anything of it until I glanced to my left and there he was pleasuring himself right in front of me. I was speechless. I didn’t know what to do. I looked at him through sunglass covered eyes and he stated right back never once stopping what he was doing. This shit was NOT ok.

I repeated in a quiet voice which got louder, “This man is exposing himself to me!” A woman standing near our seats heard me and frantically began to ask other passengers for the metro police number. The man kept on stroking while they searched for numbers and I sat there with tears of embarrassment and anger rolled down my face.

As we approached the Pentagon I called the metro police but I was unable to get a signal so the operator did not hear me. The man pushed past people in the crowded car and make an exit, I stumbled off the train nearly missing my stop and I stood on the platform crying. I have never felt so powerless in my life. I was violated and there was nothing I could do. The man was gone. Disappearing into a sea of people.

On my ride home I tried to shake it off, but I couldn’t. I blamed myself for wearing snug pants. Maybe I should had a longer coat on. Why was I the target? What made this ok to happen to me? Will I ever ride the Metro again? I’m just full of anger and sadness. When I got home I threw my entire outfit in the trash, and took a long shower which I spent the majority of the time crying hysterically.

I won’t let this ruin my weekend, but I can’t pretend I’m not hurting tremendously. For any of my readers in the DMV the number to call for Metro police is 202-962-2121. Save this number in your phone, as the poster with it is not in every car. With that being said, a glass of wine and mindless television is in order….and definitely some therapy on Monday.

Emphases by CASS.
Submitted 4/8/13 by “Jennifer”

In April, the Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority launched new ads on sexual harassment & assault on public transit, including this ad on public exposure.

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:
Whether the event is happening at the moment or occurred months ago, we strongly encourage you to report to Metro Transit Police (MTP): www.wmata.com/harassment or 202-962-2121. Reporting helps identify suspects as well as commons trends in harassment. Recommended tip: Program MTP’s number into your phone so you can easily reach them when needed.

4 Responses

  1. dcn8v
    | Reply

    Jennifer, I’m so sorry this happened to you and I wish I’d been there to help- women need to have each other’s backs. Please know that you are not alone and this was NOT your fault. Not for any reason. You happened to be in the path of a sick perv who subjected you to his problems. I do hope you’ll report this on WMATA’s site, too. I’d be willing to bet that it wasn’t the first time he did that, and it won’t be the last. Maybe if enough women report this guy, they’ll do something about it.

  2. Caroline Lukas
    | Reply

    Jennifer, Metro Transit Police would like to follow up with you.
    Would you be willing to email me, so I can put you in touch with them?

    You can reach me at cllukas@wmata.com

    Sincerely,
    Caroline Lukas

  3. OhM
    | Reply

    Violence is completely ok in this situation. You and the other women should have beat the sh*t out of this person. It’s self defense and no one in their right mind could think otherwise. Im so sorry this happened to you.

  4. jenster8dc
    | Reply

    G*dammit. I am so sick of this crap happening to women EVERY DAY.

    I am so, so sorry this happened to you. You must keep telling yourself — and believing it — that this was NOT YOUR FAULT. You did the absolute right thing by saying something, and I’m glad that at least one person was endeavoring to help. Thank you for sharing your story.

    ARGH. This makes me so mad.

    But again: It’s not. Your. Fault.

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