Metro

tired of trauma

The first time I was sexually assaulted I was 16 in the metro in Paris. It was summer so I was wearing a skirt. I was with a friend, I had already passed my ticket so I was waiting for my friend when I felt my skirt rising up, I looked behind and there was this man looking under my skirt. I was shocked, paralyzed, I screamed but felt unable to defend myself or hurt the guy. It was daylight, there were lots of people in the metro. No one. NO ONE said anything, not even came to comfort me or ask me if I was okay. I cried and did not want to go out anymore, I felt dirty. I accepted it, I said to myself that this guy was a drunkard and he didn’t do it to me in particular, but it could have happened to everyone. I now understand how this reasoning is wrong. What traumatized me again was when a night of May last year I was going back home by myself, it was 3 a.m. I had a bier and I felt completely safe. I was on the phone with my friend, we decided we would call each-other while going back home. I was about to cross the road when I felt someone right behind me. He threw me on the floor, grabbed my bag, and started punching me. He managed only to steal my phone. I considered myself lucky because I wasn’t raped. I still today undervalue what had happened, I say to everyone that I was lucky nothing more had happened. But this is so fucking wrong. Still, nowadays I never feel safe, nights trigger my anxiety. I always considered myself independent, I used to love traveling solo, being alone. But now I just feel unable. Sometimes when it’s nighttime I don’t even go out to grocery shopping. And I am so tired of this, sometimes I would just like to write to who attacked me and tell him how he made me feel, and how I am still feeling today. I am tired of hearing friends being catcalled or discriminated in any way. I am so tired of people not reacting when they see someone being attacked.

Kathleen

I was a foreign exchange student in Paris and so excited to be in this beautiful and vibrant city! I had been there for a few months and was just learning my way around the metro and train system. One day on my way home from class, while standing in a very crowded train, a man behind me thrust his hand between my legs and grabbed my crotch. I screamed out, but was shocked and paralyzed! The people around me only looked at me like I was crazy. The man just moved through the crowds into another train. This incident scarred me for life. As a student, I was afraid to take the train alone after this. And I will never get on a crowded train again.

Anna

On the DC metro, an employee started calling out to me in the train. I ignored him. He became more aggressive. I pulled out my cell phone to make a video, being as discrete as possible. He said: “you taking a video?” and started threatening to hit the phone out of my hand if I didn’t stop. I reported this to the station manager, who couldn’t find any metro transit police, so he told me to call a number. Then another number. Then that guy said his manager would come take a report in person. He didn’t. So the guy said to send the video. I sent it. He told me the harasser was a train supervisor. Then he told me to call another number (during business hours– it was now 8pm). I never did, because I never had time during business hours and because I was shocked that the worst that would happen to this supervisor, is that he’d spend a day learning about customer relations, possibly a day of suspension. And nothing else. Nothing. I was expecting he’d be fired. This 6-foot-something guy was threatening to hit me !! Only reason he didn’t, was that his buddy was standing next to him, and because I was making a video.