“He Had Been Waiting There”: Leering in Arlington

Location: S Eads St. & S Glebe St., Arlington, VA
Time:  Daytime (9:30am-3:30pm)

I noticed a red SUV drive past me and approach the intersection ahead. He got in the lane to make a right turn, but then stopped, even though no cars were coming. I stopped paying attention. Roughly two minutes later, I reached the intersection and noticed he was still there. He finally started to drive off but as he did, he yelled out the window at me and was leering. I realized he had been waiting there for me to catch up to him. I flipped him off, but that did not deter him. Then I remembered about five minutes sooner up the road a red SUV had honked at me as it drove past, and I could see the guy staring at me. I now wonder if it was the same person, and he had went around the block to see me again. Totally freaked me out.

Submitted 1/10/16 by “A.S.”

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).

Thank You For Helping End Public Sexual Harassment & Assault!

Thank you, CASS community!

 

From the bottom of our hearts, thank you to everyone who came out last night to celebrate our 5th anniversary and support our work to make DC safe!

We cannot express how encouraging it was to see a sold out (!) room full of community members committed to ending public sexual harassment and assault. As you know, all proceeds go to our programming to end public sexual harassment and assault in DC:

>> Conducting Empowering Workshops & Trainings
>> Advocating for Survivors of Sexual Assault
>> Preventing Sexual Harassment & Assault on Metro
>> Making Bars Safer
>> Sharing Stories to Raise Awareness & Spur Action
>> Providing Safe Travel Options for Women & LGBT Folks

As a volunteer-run organization, we truly cannot do this work without you. Thank you for joining in on our vision to create a safer DC for all people. We’re inspired by your support and dedication to such an important cause that affects so many people in our city.

In gratitude,

CASS Staff
Board of Directors
Lights, Camera, (Collective) Action Host Committee

P.S. Miss the party or want to give more? You can donate at any time!

DonateNow

“I witnessed a man talk about taking advantage of an intoxicated woman on the Metro. What can we do to intervene?”

Location: Blue Line, Pentagon Metro Station
Time: Night (7:30pm-12am)

This happened a year ago. My friend and I were riding home on Metro after class, around 10pm. Across the aisle from us (the seats that face each other) was a girl who had a little too much fun at happy hour. She was barely staying awake. As we were approaching Pentagon station, she got up to get out. As people were filing out, a middle-aged man who was sitting next to us got up, bent down and commented to me and my friend about “going home with her tonight,” and got off the train just as the doors were closing. As the train pulled away we could see him go up and talk to her.

We were stunned. I wanted to help but I did not know what to do. My stop was the next one but what would I have reported? Yes he was unbelievably inappropriate but I don’t feel like I saw enough. There interaction could have ended on the platform for all I know. Still bothers me when I think about it. Watched the news for days afterward seeing if anything did happen and was reported to police. Luckily I never heard of anything.

I would appreciate some guidance on what I could have done to help her in case I ever witness this in the future.

Emphases by CASS.
Submitted 5/6/13 by Anonymous

Sex without consent = sexual assault; Don’t Be That Guy Campaign

 


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).

 

“This was a lose-lose situation”

Location: Pentagon Metro station
Time:  Morning Rush Hour (5am-9:30am)

I used to take the metro into work every morning, and there was a brief period of time, maybe about a week or so, when I was being harassed/stalked by a fellow commuter. One thing that really bothered me about it was that for the whole time it was going on, it was pretty clear this guy had no idea of the amount of anxiety his very existence was causing me.

Pentagon City Metro Station. Imagia via flikr user blakespot

I was 23 at the time, and he looked to be about 50, a business suit-wearing type. It started one morning while I was reading a book (I try to avoid talking to other commuters if at all possible, maybe partially due to my worry that stuff like this will happen if I don’t look preoccupied enough, so I’m usually reading a book or have headphones on, or both). This guy is sitting across from me, and as my eyes randomly flick upwards, I notice he is staring at me. That one moment of mutual eye contact was enough for him. “Is that a good book?” he asks. “Yes,” I answer. That’s why I’m reading it, and you’re actually interrupting, I want to add, but ingrained politeness prevents me. Now that we’ve exchanged words, he feels that I am “interested,” I suppose, and tries to continue the conversation. We are in a silent, crowded, enclosed metro car. I am too well-trained to be so rude as to ignore him outright when I am being directly addressed in public, and he is polite and friendly enough, so I continue a somewhat terse conversation, answering his questions and listening to him talk about books. He transfers before I do and tells me goodbye and that it was good to talk to me. I don’t think much of it, as it wasn’t really necessarily an unpleasant experience, and I don’t really expect to have it happen again. But, the next morning, he finds me on the platform. “Good morning!” he says, as he enters the train car with me. Oh no, I think, a sinking feeling in my stomach. I am less polite than the day before, making “mm” sounds to his inane comments and trying to avoid eye contact. He doesn’t get it. He either cannot read or is totally ignoring my physical cues of being uncomfortable and not wanting to be a part of the conversation. I still feel too awkward, though, to say anything directly to him, with so many ears to listen. And no one speaks up for me, either. I don’t really expect them to; compared to the obscene ramblings of some drug addict, this seems like something easy to put up with, I suppose. After that second meeting, he gives me his card right before getting off the train. I don’t have a chance to tell him I don’t want it before he’s gone. For about a week after that, every morning commute becomes filled with anxiety and paranoia, of my trying to move quickly, stand in the most crowded places, keep an eye out for him, and when I do see him, to try not to make eye contact, to switch cars before he can make his way over, to get on a different car if I see him on the platform. One morning, he catches me unawares. “Hey, I haven’t seen you in awhile. Have you been avoiding me? You never gave me a call.” This time I didn’t care who was listening, I was so mad that my obvious avoidance apparently did absolutely nothing to deter him. “That’s probably because you’re old enough to be my father, and I’m in no way interested in you. Please stop trying to talk to me anymore.” He seems genuinely taken aback, but if it was that I would say something like that to him so loudly in front of the rest of the suits in the train car, or that I actually wasn’t ever interested, I was never sure. He apologizes, but then adds, “If you weren’t interested, you should have just said so from the beginning.” This is to make sure I know that this whole ordeal has been self-inflicted, by my not turning him down more clearly, of course.

This whole incident has bothered me a lot since it happened. We are raised to be polite to people who are polite to us. We are not well-taught what to do when something makes us uncomfortable but we’re not sure why. This was a lose-lose situation because if I had told him to fuck off just for asking about a book, I would have been a crazy, rude bitch. There are also other dynamics at play, especially how all of this was enacted in public, where it is perceived that other people are listening, and in an enclosed space, such that we cannot simply leave if we are uncomfortable. Men do not necessarily think this way, when they start a conversation with us. Although there was no actual assault here, I feel strongly that this was certainly a kind of harassment I’m sure many, many women also go through, and don’t really talk about because they’re not sure if it “counts,” or if they’re making “too big a deal out of it.” In the end, my harasser was harmless. But what if, once turned down definitively, he did get more threatening, verbally or physically? I would still have to take that route to work every morning and potentially risk running into him. These are the options women must weigh when they finally do decide to speak up about how someone’s actions are making them feel, and I hate it.

Submitted on 7/14/12 by “AT”

If you experience or have experienced sexual harassment on the DC Metro system:
Please consider reporting to Metro Transit Police; www.wmata.com/harassment, on Twitter at @WMATAharassment, or 202-962-2121.

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.

When’s your baby due, buddy?

First of all, I’m a big guy. Generally, I don’t get bothered on the street other than the occasional “get off the phone.” But this time was different, I was crossing the street from my office to get something out of my car.

While I was waiting to cross the street, a green pickup truck drove by and the creepy driver shouts “when’s your baby due, buddy?” I was really pissed off by this. I really wanted to take the cigar in his hand and do something to him with it…but he drove off too fast. I did get his license number and called the Arlington County PD, and they said they’d keep an eye out, but that they couldn’t really do anything.

I just felt really kind of humiliated for the next few hours and I wished I had called the asshole out or at least told him to F*** off. But I didn’t.

Submitted by BR

Location: Wilson Boulevard

Time of harassment: Day Time (9:30A-3:30P)

Do you have a personal experience with gender-based public sexual harassment or assault you would like to submit? Just click here and fill out the online submission form. All submissions are posted anonymously unless you specify.

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