“I don’t like to be disrespected”

I live in NYC and this is not the first time I have experienced sexual harassment on the transit system. But this one stood out and made me feel so many emotions at once…I just had to post something to get them out.

Around 5:30 p.m on Saint Patrick’s Day, I was on the 5 train to meet up with my sister after work. The train was pretty empty but had (mostly men) around 10 people spread out, sitting down. These two boys get on, I say ‘boys’ because they seemed to be around the ages 16-19, both had hoodies on, both were African American with short black hair. They sit across from me and immediately say loudly, “Why do you have green nails for?” (my nails were painted a dark green), I ignore them and mess with my phone. This obviously pissed them off because then they start saying, “Why she wearing so much makeup? That’s too much makeup.” Well then, mascara and concealer must make me a whore. At this point, my whorish self, couldn’t take it anymore and I said, “I’m not deaf and I don’t like to be disrespected.”

This seemed to shut them up for about 10 seconds, that’s when the insults started pouring out. I was called a, “white bitch”, “racist”, “ugly bitch”, etc. I ignored these while trying to swallow my increasing anger. The one guy then thought it would be fun to rap about me and how I should, “suck big black dicks.”

They both laughed, but one of the boys got up, walked towards me and tried to touch me. Good thing I saw this coming and was able to push him away before he laid a finger on me. This was the last straw, so I took out my phone to take a picture of them. That’s when the big, tough boys showed their true colors…they cowered behind their hoodies. While doing this they proceeded to call me a ‘bitch’ and tell me to, ‘fuck off’.

I got some words in by saying, “What’s the matter? Are you scared of having your picture taken? You sure didn’t seem scared of harassing me?” Both of the boys got up, while covering their faces, to get off the train and I kept my phone pointing towards them. But, before getting off the train one of them spit at me and they both ran off. Luckily, it missed me by 10 miles.

What really upsets me about the situation is that no one on the train did or said anything. And most of the people on the train were older males. They literally just stared at me as I felt anger, sad, and humiliated. These boys didn’t know me nor did I do anything to deserve such treatment. I wanted to cry after what happened and felt so ashamed that I got off of my train so I can switch to another 5, just so the people who witnessed what happened wouldn’t see me anymore.

– K.C.

Location: New York City, NY

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3 Responses to “I don’t like to be disrespected”

  1. Just Me says:

    That is horrible. Horrible that those jerks in the hoodies would do that but, just as horrible that the other people on the train would sit there and do NOTHING. The ones who should have been getting off the train in shame were those men that were on the car with you and didn’t do anything. I can’t imagine seeing a girl getting treated like that and doing nothing…..nothing. It was however, very smart of you to pull out your phone and take a picture of them, it’s amazing how quickly that made them think twice. Good for you and shame on everybody else!

  2. Golden Silence says:

    It’s funny how harassers are so bold when they’re messing with you, but as soon as you speak up or try to take their photo they get defensive. If they thought what they were doing was right then they wouldn’t be harassing in the first place.

    I am so sorry that happened to you. And it frustrates me that no one stepped in. I’ve been reading too many stories of people just sitting by and watching this go on. Many voices are louder than one. If more people had your defense, those boys wouldn’t have been so bold. Bystanders need to start being held as accountable as the harassers.

    Those boys are cowards. They know their lives are miserable so they take their anger and frustration out on those who don’t deserve it. And spitting on you before they got off the train—their sorry butts had to figuratively have the “last word,” or in this case “last action.”

    I just can’t get over this. I am so sorry you went through that.

  3. ninyabruja says:

    The new blue seat trains have intercoms where one can alert the conductor.

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