“I Was Followed and Harassed While Busing Home from Work”

Location: ART 43 bus stop at Wilson Blvd & N Fort Myer Dr (Rosslyn, Virginia)
Time: Evening Rush Hour (3:30pm-7:30pm)

This happened back in August of 2014. It was 90+ degrees outside and there was a steady breeze. I had on a vintage 50’s style sundress. I got the chance to escape work a few minutes early and took it; I got to the bus stop for the ART 43 from Rosslyn to Crystal City and was about 15 minutes early for the 3:27 bus. This bus stop is not with the rest of the bus stops at the Rosslyn metro, but on the other-side of the station at a isolated corner next to the Dumpster for the Hyatt Arlington. Usually when I get there there are two or three office type people and two ladies who clean for the hotel waiting for the bus. That day there was no one.

I was just standing there looking at the windows of the office building across the street. The wind gusted and my skirt lifted up. I stepped in to a fire escape doorway that’s there so I don’t have to hold my skirt down from the wind, when this middle-aged guy who looked like a kitchen worker at the hotel pops up out of nowhere and says I look pretty. I could tell he spoke very little English and smiled and said Gracias. He smiled back and I started poking at my cell phone.

He moved to trap me in the doorway, then he asked me if I “like a date.” I said “no,” and tried to move past him, but he blocked me and then he reached out to pet my hair. I flinched, his movements were threatening and I thought he was going to hit me. Then he asked if was was married. I wear a few rings and moved one over to my ring finger and showed it and said yes and used that moment to squeeze past him.

Luckily the bus was pulling up and I jumped on… Then he got on too. There was a few other people on the bus, and I sat as near to the bus driver has I could and took up the seat next to me with my bag. I got off the bus at Crystal City, he also got off the bus I was little freaked out now, and looked to see if there was a metro employee around to stand by while I waited for the 23 bus, but no one was around. As I neared the bus stop for the 23, a little old man came running out of the door of the building across the street waving a rolled up Express paper and hit the guy following me up-side the head and starts yelling at him in Spanish, from the little Spanish I know I know they were not nice things.

The creep who had been following me took off for the Metro station at full speed to get away form the old man. The old man turned to me and said, “He will not bother you any more,” I asked what do you mean, and he told me that that guy was, “Muy malo”(very bad) he does things to ladies. And that if he even talked to me, “his family in El Salvador would pay.”

The 23 Metro bus pulled up, and I got on. I don’t know who freaked me out more — the creep who had followed me or the old man. I have seen both of the men on the bus or around my neighborhood. The old man watches me whenever I go to the Laundry mat, not one of the guys in there will go near me (this actually makes me feel safe), and I think that is his intention. The other guy is a regular on the 43 now but won’t even look in my direction now.

Submitted 1/02/14 by “Bunny.”

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).