DC metro assault

I live in Washington, DC and got on the metro at Farragut North and was headed to Gallery Place/Chinatown. I saw a man staring at me in the metro station and it was extremely crowded. He would not take his eyes off me and I started to feel really uncomfortable. When I reached Gallery Place/Chinatown Metro Stop he saw me getting off and decided to get off the train as well. I was pretty certain that was not his stop.

He grabbed my right arm tightly and flung me against the wall as soon as I got off the metro. He started saying very inappropriate things about what he wanted to do to me, how gorgeous he thought I was, and how he could help me with my career. He told me to get out my phone and save his phone number and he was still grabbing my arm very tightly. Finally he let me go and just stared at me as I ran up the escalator. I couldn’t believe that among all of the hundreds of people in the metro station, not one person stopped to see if I was o kay, when I clearly looked uncomfortable, upset, and scared.

I never reported it and then about a week later I was in Starbucks and I hear a man behind me say, “SURPRISE!” It was the same man that harassed me in the metro station and I cannot even explain to you how startled I was. He said, “Look, I want to apologize, I think we got off on the wrong foot last time we met.”

Every emotion flew through my body at that very moment and I screamed at him and told him how inappropriate he was and how he should know better than to grab a woman like that. I told him he had no right to do what he did and he had no business following me into Starbucks. I told him I had no interest in speaking with him and I think every person getting coffee that morning heard as well. He tried to explain that he was a “professional” and why couldn’t we just have a “professional” conversation. He said he was offended that I thought so poorly of him.

Honestly, the whole situation was unbelievable. You always have to be careful because you never know who can be watching you or following you. That man clearly knew my route to work and followed me into the Starbucks that I go to every morning. Don’t be afraid to speak out and let people know when they do something that violates you and is absolutely UNACCEPTABLE.

– ZK

Location: Washington, DC

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3 Responses to DC metro assault

  1. Golden Silence says:

    ZK, my heart goes out to you. You should not have to have gone through that.

    He tried to explain that he was a “professional” and why couldn’t we just have a “professional” conversation. He said he was offended that I thought so poorly of him.

    He sounds professional, alright…like a professional harasser. How dare he do that to you? He’s an obvious stalker and needs to be reported to the police. But then again, MPD shows little alacrity towards these harassment cases and I just wish there were a way for some real action to be taken against this loser!

    I couldn’t believe that among all of the hundreds of people in the metro station, not one person stopped to see if I was okay, when I clearly looked uncomfortable, upset, and scared.

    Ah, typical bystander syndrome in DC. I wish for once that people would stop ignoring and take action when they see something happening. Bystanders, I know it can be scary to take action, but doing nothing is scarier to me.

  2. DES says:

    Dear ZK

    This is truly horrible, and it exemplifies even more severe attacks that happen. As a “bystander” I know it’s hard to know when to intervene. There have been occasions where I have interfered, only to be rebuked by both parties and being told to mind my own business. I don’t mean to blame the victims, far from it: this “professional” is clearly the wrongdoer, but know that it’s hard for third parties to glean when/how to intervene without clear signs. If a girl were to scream and some guy had her by the arm, I know I’d act. But two people having a terse/awkward/heated conversation is much harder to gauge. I know in the moment it’s hard/impossible to react, but know that it’s hard for “us” to know you are in distress. 😦

  3. ZK says:

    Hi DES:

    I really appreciate your comment, I think you, along with so many others really struggle with knowing when/how to intervene in these types of situations. It is hard to know if this is a couple having a heated argument or just complete strangers interacting….and in either situation what is actually appropriate to do? I think the best thing an individual can do in that type of situation is say something like, “Is everything okay over here?” It is a casual intervention but may create an opportunity for the individual in distress to get away. Distraction is one of the best techniques as a bystander.

    I really appreciate the fact that you have tried to intervene in past situations. Even though you may have been brushed off to mind your own business- you took the chance to prevent a potentially harmful situation. In my opinion, it is better to brushed off than not say anything and feel uneasy about how that incident may have led to something worse.

    I think especially in the metro it was difficult because individuals are always on the go and in their own little worlds. It is so important to be aware of surroundings and not be afraid to speak out when you see something suspicious going on. Thanks DES, for your comment and for addressing an important concept that I am positive resonates with many individuals.

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