“They Were Pulling Her Hair And Touching Her As She Asked Them Not To”

Location: L’Enfant Metro Station, waiting for the orange line
Time: Evening Rush Hour (3:30pm-7:30pm)

Today I was assaulted at L’Enfant metro station while waiting for an orange train for the second time this year. The platform there is dark and cramped and overrun with the large number of construction projects down there and now also the addition of the silver line. Even without all of that it is always crowded and dark and dangerous and not frequently patrolled by the metro police.

The first time [I was assaulted this year was when] I was politely waiting for others to get off of a train before I stepped on. The person behind me didn’t want to wait, so she picked me up and used me as a human shield while screaming at me for not pushing my way on instead of waiting.

Today, I was spit on while attempting to help someone being assaulted by a group of young men. They were pulling her hair and touching her as she asked them not to. By the time I figured out what was going on they had moved to the platform above us and decided they were going to spit on us from above. Someone up there tried to intervene, and as she came down to the orange platform on the escalator, they hurled a glass bottle at her.

I encouraged the first young woman to file a report, so we went up to find a station manager. The woman who had had the bottle thrown at her came too. The station manager argued with us and said we didn’t really want to file a report, but I really did and can be very “persuasive” in times like this. By the time he picked up the phone, they had gotten on a train and gotten away. Then we asked him if we should wait or give him our names or contact information, and he said no and that we could leave.

As the three of us rode off on a train in disbelief, we decided to go back and get his name so we could file a report against him for being so difficult in a time of actual need. When we got back to L’Enfant, some police officers had arrived and were waiting to talk to us and file a real report. I was very thankful that they were understanding and did their best to try to find these guys who had attacked us. I don’t know that they will find them but I have learned a lot in this process and will keep the metro police number in my phone from now on so I can call myself if it happens again.

Submitted 7/30/14 by “EA.”

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Do you have a personal experience with gender-based public sexual harassment or assault? Share 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. You can 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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