I was on my way home from Thanksgiving in New York with my family. My train got into Union Station a little late, so I decided to take a cab so that I could get home quickly without having to drag my luggage through the Metro. After waiting in the taxi line for 10 minutes or so, I get in a cab. He seemed a little irritated that I kept my suitcase with me in the back seat (instead of putting it in the trunk so that he could get an additional fee), but it didn’t seem like a big deal.
After we get a block or two away from the station, we pass a young college-student-type guy on the street, dragging a big duffel bag and trying to hail a cab. The driver of my cab wants to pick this guy up too, and I say no. It’s against the rules for a cab driver to pick up additional passengers like that! So the cab driver immediately starts cursing at me and kicks me out of the cab.
At this point, I’m angry, so I flip him off and tell him to fuck off. At which point he starts saying, “You want to fuck me? Yeah, girl, you should come right over here and fuck me.” Repeatedly. Clearly, he’s more interested in antagonizing me than in picking up another fare, since the college kid hailed another cab so that I could get away. Unfortunately, I was too rattled to get the cab driver’s information or remember the name of the cab company.
I called my mom afterward, and she told me that I shouldn’t have antagonized him, and that I need to grow a thicker skin. Not exactly helpful.
Submitted by KBF
Location: Massachusetts Ave & North Capitol
Time of harassment: Night (7:30P-12A)
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This happened about a week ago, but it still bothers me that I didn’t do anything. Actually, I was so caught off guard that I didn’t know what to do.
Anyway, it’s around 5:30pm and I’m making my way to Union Station, as usual. As I make my way down the escalator I hear a bunch of commotion. I hear, “You’re so beautiful! Are you on Top Model? You’ve gotta be on Top Model!” At the end of the escalator, near the fare machines, these three men, INCLUDING A METRO EMPLOYEE, are surrounding this young woman and I can tell she’s NOT flattered by the attention. In fact, I can see she’s mortified. They’re surrounding her asking all this questions when one of these “gentlemen” whips out his camera and asks to take her picture! Not a picture with her, but a picture OF her, like she’s a damn exhibit or something. The man in question says, “I just have to get a picture of how beautiful you are so I can tell my friends I met you.”
The young woman mumbles a “thank you” to their “compliments” and then turns away to put money on her SmarTrip card. She never gives him permission to photograph her. However, he proceeds to take her picture anyway, even with her back turned. Ugh!!!!
At this point, I’m mortified and angry for her, because I don’t know what to do, given that A METRO EMPLOYEE WHO IS USUALLY STATIONED AT UNION STATION is a part of this foolishness.
I told a friend about it later, and she said the best way to help the young lady would be to walk up to her and engage her in conversation and try to get her out of the vicinity and to a safe space. As a social worker, she’s seen incidents in which someone will say to the attacker, “What the hell are you doing! Leave her alone!” The attacker will then respond and say something like, “Mind your own business!” and take the situation to the next level. She said in her experience, the best thing to do is go up to the victim and say “Hey, you need some help? Come take a walk with me.”
I’m pissed because this isn’t the first time I’ve seen men act like they are entitled to your presence. I’ve seen plenty of men take pictures or film women they don’t know and then pass said footage around like it’s no big deal. I want to know what to do the next time this happens (and it WILL happen) and how I can help someone who’s being violated?
Submitted by T on 4/5/10
Location: Union Station Metro