Tag Archives: bus

Too Many Occurrences

Image by Lighthelper via Flickr

I was walking home from work at 16th and 1 block below P Street, NW, when two guys approached me and told me I have a fat ass. I said no thank you and kept walking, at which point they started following me. Fortunately, a bus pulled up and I was able to cross the street and catch it in time. It was very unnerving.

I also had an experience a couple weeks ago in front of the Target in Columbia Heights were a man asking for donations for Planned Parenthood, of all places, approached me to ask for money and then kept on about how he had watched me walk up the street and when I came out of Target wanted to talk to me. Ew.

Submitted by Elizabeth
Location: 16th and P St. NW
Time of harassment: Evening Rush Hour (3:30P-7:30P)

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.

“I asked if he found harassment amusing!”

My girlfriend and I were sitting in the back of the bus. Two other women were across from us and another along the back row of seats. A guy had been talking loudly at the back door and then came and sat down by one of the seats. He started by telling one of the women across from me that she had him physically. When she said “Excuse Me” he replied that God gave her one of his ribs so he was part of her.
Then he started asking the woman along the back row where she was from. She ignored him as he kept digging and saying she was hispanic. When she finally said she was American he started saying that wasn’t true. Then he started with the other woman across from us saying she was Asian. She told him it was none of his business and he started ranting again about how all women are connected to men and how they were all European foreigners.
I finally spoke up and told him to leave us all alone. He then started in on us being dykes, that we were an abomination to the bible. A guy along the back laughed and I asked if he found harassment amusing. He then started yelling at me about how he could laugh at whatever he wanted. He got off at the next stop and then the first guy started in again on us about how did we have sex and that we needed a man. The woman who spoke up before tried to say something but he kept yelling over her.

I finally called the transit police to report the activity at which point he moved to the front of the bus. The transit authorities contacted the bus driver but he was not asked to leave the bus. A fellow female passenger who heard the end thanked me for calling the cops but the only other guy in the back told us we should have just ignored it.

Submitted by Amanda 

Location: G8 Bus #2300 from 3rd & Rhode Island NE to 9th & M NW

Time of harassment:  Morning Rush Hour (5:00A – 9:30A)

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.

Waiting for the Bus

I was walking to the bus stop and these guys in a car (I think a red Ford Windstar, but did not get the license number) pulled down their window and started yelling gross things. This happened three times in a thirty minute span. I stayed on the phone with a bus operator and then a friend until my bus arrived.

Submitted by KH

Location: Chestnut St & Fairfax Boulevard

Time of harassment: Evening Rush Hour (3:30P-7:30P)

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.

The 43 Bus

While running to catch the 43 bus, a man stopped on the sidewalk and openly leered at me until I told him to fuck off. This happens on this street every day.

Submitted by Anonymous 

Location: Mt. Pleasant St and Lamont St NW

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

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.

Metro Bus Driver Stabbed After Intervening

We were deeply saddened to hear about the stabbing of a DC Metro bus driver who attempted to intervene in the harassment of several passengers earlier this week. Responding to complaints about a man who was masturbating on the bus, the driver asked the man to stop and respect the other passengers. The man then accosted the driver, initiating a fight that ended in the driver’s stabbing.

Bystander intervention is critical in the fight against public sexual harassment and assault. No one should have to deal with such insulting and threatening behavior on their way home, and we sincerely thank the Metro bus driver for protecting his passengers. It saddens us to hear that his brave actions led to injury.

We urge WMATA and our community to look toward addressing sexual harassment and assault on buses and metro cars as one answer to this kind of violence. While no official study of harassment and assault exists in the DC-area, over the last two years, Holla Back DC! has received 170 reports of public sexual harassment occurring on DC buses and trains. However, because public sexual harassment is underreported, we know these numbers are much higher. This means that public sexual harassment and assault are major problems on public transportation in the DC metro area.

WMATA is not the only transit system in the country facing this problem. In recent years Boston, Chicago, and New York City launched public service campaigns, undercover stings, and training for transit workers to work to prevent sexual harassment and assault on their subway and bus lines. It is time for Washington, DC, to follow suit. WMATA passengers and employees won’t be safe until we all recognize public sexual harassment and assault as a problem that needs to be solved, and then take the appropriate steps to combat it.

As an organization committed creating safer public spaces for everyone, we would love to see WMATA develop PSAs and employees trainings that address public sexual harassment and bystander intervention.

I’m going to hollaback!

I finally spoke up to the “old creepy bus commuter” guy. I’ve noticed him before, when he’d stare at myself and other women, literally stare down, leering, unblinking, unwavering, at the bus stops and in the buses during morning and evening commutes. He’s the guy that leans in too close for comfort and hovers over me when I’m sitting down reading quietly on the bus, and it’s not even crowded. He’s the guy that tries to catch up to stare more when I bolt for my metro transfer. He’s the guy that was not even phased when last week I saw him leering at the bus stop and I gave him the “Ew did you fart?” glare. Really? You like disgusting women to the point they’re physically reviled by you and have to change bus stops?

So, after a pretty egregious week of boundary-crossing, I thought to myself, the next time he does something that makes me uncomfortable, I’m going to hollaback! And sure enough he spotted me at the very back of a semi-crowded bus the other night, and kept turning around from his position (mid-bus, back toward me) to stare. He made for the back door to get off at a stop too near to mine for comfort, but not before leering toward me and my friend for long enough that I started repeating, loudly, for everyone to hear, “Stop staring at women! It’s rude!” until he looked unnerved and scrambled off, never apologizing or refuting my accusation, never saying a word. I felt better that finally he was made to feel even remotely as uncomfortable as he makes me.

What really solidifies why I hollaback, was the fact that immediately after he got off the bus, a teenage girl sitting alone who witnessed it go down thanked me–she’s noticed his leering and wanted to say something too. Clearly I haven’t been his only target, but maybe he’ll think twice next time. I really hope she feels more empowered to hollaback herself and talk to her friends about standing up against street harassment. I also hope that all the boys and men on the bus, if they even perceived what transpired (so much goes under their radar when they are not directly affected) will think twice about harassing women, and consider speaking up against men who harass too.

Submitted by Jackie

Location: Intersection of Park Rd, Walbridge Pl, and Klingle Rd, NW
Time of harassment: Evening Rush Hour (3:30P-7:30P)
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.


“Then I felt him lightly touch my thigh…”

Photo by chenines via flickr

I was on the bus with a group of girlfriends, heading from a restaurant in Columbia Heights down to a bar on U Street. We were sitting in the back of the bus in the seats that face each other. I was in the seat closest to the back row, so I was actually very close to a man sitting there. I wasn’t paying attention to him at all–I was caught up in the conversation with my friends.

Then I felt him lightly touch my thigh, just above the knee. I whipped around and said, “What the hell?” He took away his hand immediately, and didn’t say anything or make eye contact. It was weird–very different from the more aggressive harassment I’m used to experiencing. I didn’t feel afraid at all–just insulted and angry. One of my friends asked if I wanted to change seats, but I said no. For some reason, I felt like moving would be a concession. I was pretty sure the guy wasn’t going to try anything else–he wasn’t even looking at me–so I felt this stubborn urge to assert my right to sit there. I was tense until he eventually got off the bus, but nothing else happened; we just ignored him.

That was actually the first and only time I’ve ever said something to a harasser. I suppose it was the combination of feeling protected by my friends, his non-threatening demeanor, and the shock of actually being touched.

Submitted by S on 8/13/2011

Location: 52/53/54 (riding south on 14th St NW)

Time of harassment: Night (7:30P-12A)

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.