I was sexually assaulted at the Cleveland Park Metro: “We need to think of sexual assault as a CRIME.”

Location: Inside the Cleveland Park metro station
Time: Evening Rush Hour (3:30pm-7:30pm)

Just as the train approached, a group of noisy 4-5 teenage boys ran behind me. I thought they were running to relocate to a different part of the train. I felt a hand quickly tap the underside of my left butt cheek and I heard someone “Whoot!” When I looked over at the boys, one of them turned back to look at me and laugh. I was already late to a friend’s birthday party so I just got on the train.

I called metro police later and they were very helpful and comprehensive when asking me the details. Unfortunately, it was already 4 hours after the incident and I had no clear descriptions of my assailant since it all happened so quickly. In hindsight, I wish I had not gotten onto the train, and I wish I had called the police immediately. I could have been able to identify the assailant with his fingerprints on my jeans. I could have located them inside the station or at least that train if they had gotten on.

We, as a society, are taught to respond in set ways to theft but we have no guidelines on how to react to sexual assault. If my purse were stolen, I would have reported it immediately. But when my body was touched, I had no idea I had rights. I had no idea what options I had.

To readers out there, I strongly urge you to first think of sexual assault as a CRIME. Stop what you are doing immediately. Life can wait. Call the police. Stay where you are and try to remember all details.

Emphases by CASS.
Submitted 5/11/13 by “A.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:
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.

If you need assistance in coping with public sexual harassment or assault, please contact the DC Rape Crisis Center (DCRCC) 24/7 crisis hotline at 202-333-RAPE (202-333-7279).

 

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