“I was honestly so scared that I went into a safe place and shut off”

Last night I was going out to a club on the west side and had one of the worst harassment experiences I have ever had. I waiting for the E and I saw this guy staring at me so I moved down and thought I shook him off.

The uptown train pulled in and I was like sweet! No one on the train… I get on and he came in right after I did. He sat across from me and was looking at me all weird. He was holding his phone like he could be filming me but I was like whatever.

So the doors close and her starts rubbing his crotch and is still pointing his phone right at me. I have read posts on this site before and am so proud of the women that say something. I was petrified… I couldn’t even say anything.

Then I hear “because of traffic there are delays…etc” the train was stopped and then this guy actually pulled out his penis and jerks off. He was calling me a little slut and saying how I wanted to get laid tonight. It felt like an hour and the train started again and he kept doing it and pointing his phone right at me. I got up and stood by the door and he kept saying stuff to me. I wish I would have said something to him but I was honestly so scared that I went into a safe place and shut off.

I am so proud of the women that say something. I REALLY wish I did. On the upside… I had a great Saturday night out and don’t give a shit about that asshole

– Tanya

Location: E Train, New York City, NY

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7 Responses to “I was honestly so scared that I went into a safe place and shut off”

  1. Jen says:

    That sounds seriously scary. I don’t think I would have had the nerve to say anything either – I wouldn’t have wanted to provoke him into anything worse. I hope the transport providers read stories like this and think twice about allowing trains to be left completely empty and unstaffed so that things like this happen.

  2. B. says:


    For what it’s worth, it is very, very common to fall silent in situations like that. You weren’t able to say anything because you were in shock. I have had this exact same situation happen to me more than once, as well as numerous other harassment situations, and every time I swear that I’m going to speak up the next time. But the shock always catches my tongue.

    What I can tell you is this: I believe most major subway systems have emergency buttons you can push to notify the train operator of emergencies. And what you experienced was an emergency without doubt. Though I’ve never used them in DC, I know they exist, and I wish I’d known that the first time a man sat across from me stroking his penis on the metro.

    I carry pepper spray with me everywhere I go, and I encourage other women to do the same. –Not just in their purses, but in their HANDS anytime they are out and about, particularly alone. It is, of course, important to understand how to use it, as the spray can affect the user as well if not used properly.

    Hang in there, and know that you are not along in this fight. Not by a long shot.


  3. Sue Henderson says:

    Tanya, I’m so sorry you had such a vile experience. I can understand how fear made you shut down though. It’s incredibly hard to get past that when you’re terrified the guy’s gonna rape you and there’s no-one around to help you.

    I’m glad you’re safe and I hope you can find some ideas on how to deal with such a situation if it ever arises again.

  4. Tasha says:

    I am glad you are safe too and I hope you can forget all about it! You are powerful and attractive and don’t let that ass get you down!

  5. beckieweinheimer says:

    its most important to be safe and what could have happened if you shouted at him? Sometimes silence is the best defense and the best way to tell him his gross illegal, perverse ways are not working on you! I hope you report him to the mat. I had a man dry hump me on the subway and reported it. This guy will do it again and if you can give a description it may help other women. So sorry. that is horrible.

  6. Megan says:

    What happened was horrible. It is so important to be safe. Speaking out is fine as long as you know that you’re not putting yourself at risk. I tend to speak first think later – stripping was really good training for not getting freaked easily. But I don’t always keep my mouth shut even if it is in my best interest. You did the right thing for you. If you decide to get pepper spray be careful where you use it. I had the kind with tear gas in it (it was attached to my key chain in a discrete holder). I tested it once in my apartment and ended up having to run for my bedroom and sit on the roof outside my window. I never had to use it on anyone, but that stuff was strong. Convicts are often immune to it anyway. In an inclosed space you are just as likely to feel the results of pepper spray. A taser might be better. Just check to make sure it is legal. Guys like the one you experienced make me want to kick them. Heels really hurt the testicles.

  7. B. says:

    Yes, definitely important to be careful when using pepper spray. Read the directions, try your best to avoid any back spray, etc. I expect it may be impossible to avoid encountering any yourself, but it’s still a useful form of protection.

    Tasers (stun guns, actually) are illegal in DC. They are also prohibbited in NY and NJ, but because they are permitted in the home in CT, you can easily have it shipped there. I’m I did buy a stungun(the kind that’s close range/hand held) after being sexually assaulted in Columbia Heights over the summer, and had it shipped to MD where it’s legal. It is small and pink in a pink case, making it look nothing like a weapon. You can find several varieties disguised to look innocuous (i.e. a cell phone design). It’s just VERY important to read the directions and study how to use it.

    For the record, I too agree that moving away and simply keeping silent was the best tactic here. You did a good job.

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