“I’m not your sweetheart”

Today, November 1, I was sitting in the back of the bus, next to the window. I had sunglasses on and earbuds in. It was 8:30 in the morning. A man got on and sat next to me and started talking to me. I took an earbud out of my ear and he said, “What’s your name, sweetheart?” I replied, “I’m not your sweetheart.” “What’s your name, I asked,” he continued as if I said nothing. I put my earbud back in as he was asking if I had a boyfriend. He was pressed up against me, staring at me. I did the best I could to eliminate contact between us, leaning into the window and turning my head away. I thought about getting away, but he would have to let me out, as he was in the outside seat, or I would have to practically crawl over him, which I was not willing to do. He continued to press into me and I continued to try to ignore him, while waiting for him to do something else. I was wound up and expecting him to touch me, imagining grabbing his hand and sho uting “What is your hand doing on my body?” and asking the bus driver to call the police. I looked around for potential allies and saw none. He joked and gestured to a friend in another seat. I felt trapped.

Eventually, he moved and soon after got off the bus. I got to my destination and walked for a couple of hundred feet, glad to be free, before I started shaking and sobbing. I wondered if I was crazy. I finished crying, took a few deep breaths, and went to work.

Submitted my Anonymous on November 1st

Location: 96 Bus around 9th and U St.

Time of Harassment: Morning Rush Hour (5A-9:30A)

One response to ““I’m not your sweetheart”

  1. I’ve been reading a few stories about women being harassed on these 90 line buses. I believe WMATA is doing a study on these lines to improve its service—what they need to do is make the ride safe for its female passengers!

    I was in a similar situation to yours years back, where I was riding the 80 bus towards Fort Totten and it offloads at Brookland, leaving the bus nearly empty. Some really large, heavyset and sloppy-looking man sat his chunky butt right next to me. With all those other seats available I knew something was up!

    He nearly pinned me to the window while telling me how “purty” I was. I was not polite and told him I thought he was ugly! That didn’t deter him because he was trying to ask for my phone number.

    “You’re not getting my number!” I snapped.
    “Then I’ll give you mine,” he said. Thick-bodied and thick-headed!
    “I don’t want it,” I said.

    He got off at the next stop (lazy!) telling me “I’ll see you around.” “No you won’t!” I snapped. All this time, people just watched but didn’t say anything. My responses to this turd showed that I was uncomfortable, but no one cared to intervene. In retrospect I wish I would’ve climbed over the seat in front of me to get away from him, but I can’t change the past.

    It hasn’t made me stop sitting in the window seat. I hate the aisle seat because I always get whomped with someone’s backpack and I like the window seat because I can stare out the window and get lost in space. All that said, women shouldn’t have to change their habits on the bus—the harassers need to change their ways!

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