Rubbed Up Against on the Metro

Location:  Metro: Orange & Green lines
Time: Morning Rush Hour (5am-9:30am)

I have had harrassment happen to me twice while I commuted back and forth to work. I the first incident, I got on an orange line train at L’enfant. Always crowded that time of morning. Some guy at least a foot taller than I got on the train and was close up behind me. It was crowded so I figured it was just that, since he got closer after others got on at the next stop. Then after a time he was REALLY close, and no matter what I did to move I couldn’t get away from him. He was rubbing himself on me! I was never able to turn around, which is what I really wanted to do; I wanted to look him in the eye and ask him what the f#%k his problem was. Finally he bolted off the train before I could get more of a look, except he had on a striped polo shirt.

The second time, I had transferred to the green line coming home. Again standing, crowded train. This dude was maybe my height. Train got really crowded we were all squished together. This one started rubbing himself on my hip! Fortunately my stop was next so I was able to be the one who leaped off to get away.

Both of these happened before Metro’s ‘report it’ campaign, and I didn’t really think anything could be done since they weren’t in the act and didn’t leave any real evidence. In each incident, I was wearing rather boring, drab office attire, as I don’t like to dress up so for my office attire I choose classic pieces over trendy or fashionable pieces. I’m not ugly but since neither guy was face to face with me I can’t even say that had anything to do with it. They are just sick.

Emphases by CASS.
Submitted 4/12/13 by “MsKat”


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.

CASS testifies to DC Council on WMATA’s handling of sexual harassment and assault

Julia Strange, CASS’s Director of Programs and Policy.

Julia Strange, CASS’s Director of Programs and Policy.

On Friday, March 15th, Julia Strange, CASS’s Director of Programs and Policy, testified on behalf of CASS at the DC Council’s performance oversight hearing on the Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority’s (WMATA). Julia addressed the agency’s handling of sexual harassment and assault on public transit, an issue that CASS first shed light on in February 2012 when we, along with other local activists and survivors, testified on the importance of strengthening WMATA’s response to sexual harassment and assault on public transit.

At Friday’s hearing, we applauded the progress WMATA has so far made in addressing sexual harassment and assault on public transportation, including its new-and-improved online reporting form and public service announcement (PSA) campaign. We also urged WMATA leadership to prioritize personnel training and expand its PSA to target potential perpetrators and bystanders. (Read our full testimony here.)

Councilmember Muriel Bowser, chair of the DC Council Committee on Economic Development, presided over the hearing and specifically thanked CASS for our continued work on this issue. In addition, WMATA CEO and General Manager, Richard Sarles testified that safety was a high priority for WMATA.

Though this is all encouraging feedback, we will of course continue to amplify concerns that we hear from our followers and community members to both DC Council and WMATA leadership.

An unfortunately common experience: Berated for ignoring sexual harassment

Location:  8th & R Sts, NW
Time: Daytime (9:30am-3:30pm)

I was crossing the street near the Shaw Metro and a man was just stepping off the curb as I was getting to the other side of the street. He stopped in his tracks when we were about 5 feet apart, looked me square in the face and said “Hey pretttttty.” When I kept walking and didn’t return his attempt at eye contact, he repeated just “PRETTY” louder a few times. When I passed him with my head down and still didn’t respond, he said “Did you not hear me?”, I guess because I had my headphones in. (And I suppose because in his mind there was no other possible explanation for why I wouldn’t immediately respond!) At this point I was so annoyed I turned my head around and said, “Yeah, I heard you, I just don’t appreciate being talked to like that,” and kept walking. I was treated to his tirade of “F**k you, bitch, what’s wrong with you”, etc. directed at me for maybe 30 seconds as I got further away.

Submitted on 12/27/12 by “C.R.”

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:
Please consider reporting to Metro Transit Police: www.wmata.com/harassment; 202-962-2121.