Harassed, followed & threatened on Metro: “I couldn’t stop crying the rest of the way home.”

Location: Metro: Yellow line, between Shaw & Gallery Place
Time: Evening Rush Hour (3:30pm-7:30pm)

I boarded the yellow line to Huntington at Columbia Heights metro station a little after 6pm. I was seated at one end of the car reading a book. A man, 40s to 50s, wearing sun glasses, started walking over to me while the train was moving. It may have been after the Shaw metro stop. He started talking to me, saying something about getting a bite to eat. I waved my hand while reading and said “I am not interested.” He immediately screamed at me “Don’t be simple! Dont be simple! Someone needs to teach you a lesson ” I said “Don’t yell at me!” He yelled “Don’t tell me what to do!” Then he shuffled away.

I was shaken by the encounter. But when we were getting near Chinatown, he came over AGAIN pacing around me. I pulled out my cellphone. He started saying again someone needed to “teach” me to not be “simple.” I said “if you don’t leave me alone I am calling the police.” He yelled “Call them!” I said “stop harassing me” three times while he kept retorting ” ain’t no one harassing you. Who are you? Harass you??” I just kept saying stop harassing me until I was off the train.

People were staring and did nothing. It was humiliating. I couldn’t stop crying the rest of the way home. It was clear that this stranger believed he had a legitimate claim on my attention. To the point that he tried to “school” me on how to behave like I was his child or worse, sister! His entitlement was shocking – I needed to be taught a lesson because I dared to refuse him without bothering to placate his ego. His attentions intrusive and in no way complimentary, and were swiftly followed by violent behavior and stalking. How pathetic.

Emphases by CASS.

Submitted on 3/6/13 by “OG”

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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.

“Imma Make You Have My Baby”

Photo By Ed Yourdon via Flckr

All packed up and heading to the airport to watch my little brother graduate from high school, I walked from Adam’s Morgan to the Columbia Heights metro. I took the back way through my neighborhood to avoid being catcalled by the men generally hanging outside the Christ House on Columbia Road. Even though I have a few friends who live on that street and I like walking on the busy street in hopes of running into them, I often take the back way to avoid the calls.

Heading to DCA, I boarded the yellow line heading towards Huntington at Columbia Heights. Somewhere between there and U Street, two boys who had entered the train moved to the empty seats directly behind me. I could barely understand them and I only started paying attention because I could feel their words aimed at me. I had headphones in, listening to an album made by a friend for my birthday with my nose in a magazine. Their words got louder, the tone more arrogant and threatening. What were they saying? I started getting nervous. Did I turn off my music or could I suddenly just hear their voices, my mind no longer able to hear the music in my ears? I’m not sure. And then I heard, “[something, something] BABY doll. Yeeeah girl you know you can hear me. Awwww you playin all ignorant and shit?” I could feel his breathe on my neck. “Yeah, I’m going to cut you, make you have my baby. Aw bitch you just ignorin me. Imma make you ha ve my baby.” It continued.

I felt panic take over my whole body. A thick spike of fear raced through my spine, into my arms, through my stomach and down my legs. Their voices continued booming into the back of my ear. I never looked up but I am certain they were talking to me.

A small part of me was screaming to get up and tell these boys off. But I didn’t. I was too scared. They were talking about raping me and doing it openly in public. Right there in the middle of the metro. Remembering how WMATA has a poor history of not keeping women safe from sexual assault and knowing the amount of violent crime that occurs in the area, I decided on the safer choice to remain silent and concentrate all my energy on ignoring them. Besides, I had heard them mention something about Shaw and that stop was coming soon.

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