“I’ve Been Harassed a Few Times on DC Metro, But There’s Only One Time I Went Home & Cried”

Location: Bus stop at University Blvd. and Piney Branch Ave; inbound to Silver Spring, Maryland
Time: Daytime (9:30am-3:30pm)

I’ve been harassed a few times on WMATA, but there’s only one time that I went home and cried afterward. I was coming back from the grocery store when a man started to talk to me. I initially didn’t hear what he was saying, and I smiled at him and, thinking that he just wanted to chat, said, “Sorry, I didn’t hear that.” He didn’t change the volume of his voice, but he was staring straight at me and now that I was paying attention, I could tell that he was calling me a “bitch” and a “whore” and talking explicitly about how he wanted to “rape me.” I decided I would try to ignore him, because it was broad daylight out and I thus felt like I was probably pretty physically safe (albeit *very* uncomfortable), but I couldn’t walk away from the bus stop entirely for fear of missing my bus. He continued to say things (e.g., “I could push you down right now and fuck you and you wouldn’t be able to do a damn thing about it”) under his breath.

Eventually, I lost my temper and told him to leave me alone, at which point he escalated the volume of his voice. He stated he wasn’t talking to me. However, I was the only woman around, and he had been staring right at me the whole time… and he went right back to his explicit description of how he would assault me less than a minute later. There were two or three other men around who did NOTHING to stop him or try to intervene.

Finally, the bus arrived and I hurried to get on. The man got in line immediately behind me and continued to say vulgar things to me. The thing that stuck with me the most was “my balls are as big as those pears, you’ll see” (I had bought pears at the store). Despite the fact that he was speaking at a clearly audible volume at this point and saying really disgusting sexual things to me, the bus driver let him on. I waited for him to sit down first so that I could pick a seat far away from him, but when I eventually took a seat next to another woman he got up from where he was sitting and came to sit across from me. The woman I sat next to figured out what was going on pretty quickly and offered to switch seats with me, and when she did, the man then turned his abuse on her as well calling her a “bitch” and a “cunt.” Two stops later, he exited the bus, apparently having only boarded to continue harassing me. Fun times.

Submitted 8/150/14 by “ES.”

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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).