I was in a window seat on the Blue Line, en route to meet friends for dinner. One teenage girl sat down next to a man in front of me; another sat beside me. They began by asking what kind of phone I had. The girl next to me patted down my pockets and, finding nothing, grabbed my coffee mug out of my hands. The girl in front put her finger in my face, getting as close as she could without touching me. They grabbed my legs. They threatened to rape me until I bled. One opened the other’s coat jacket, feigning—or not—that she had a weapon....
Trying to get the attention of other passengers, I shouted at the top of my lungs, “Leave me alone!” and “Stop touching me!” I tried to flee when the train stopped, but they boxed me in and shoved me back down into my seat. The man sitting in front of me, next to one of the girls who attacked me, never turned around. He rode the train for a few stops, while the assault was going on, and then departed. The only person to come to my defense was a petite twentysomething woman who told the girls to cut it out. The girls briefly yelled at her—which filled me with both gratitude and, on her behalf, regret—but then turned their attention back to me.
On my second attempt to escape, I took several punches but managed to shove past them. The girls chased me off the train, then back on it, then off again. The chase dragged on across two stops. I was finally able to hit the emergency button and alert the conductor. Later that day, bruised but not otherwise hurt, I identified the girls for the police.
It took a month before I rode the train by myself again. I still feel uncomfortable riding it alone at night. My dad, back in Kansas, sent me what seemed like every pepper sprayer available on Amazon. I bought myself a comically oversized pepper-spray fogger that my boyfriend calls the “criminal extinguisher.” I use earbuds more sparingly now. I rarely sit down on the train—that way I can’t be cornered.
After the incident, I felt angry at all the people on the crowded train car—there must have been 30 adults—who did nothing. When I screamed, no one tried to intervene. They didn’t hit the emergency call button. They didn’t even acknowledge that anything was happening. They just averted their eyes and let it continue.... I am still angry that no one really helped me.
Whatever, lady. Defend yourself. Your safety is not our problem. Or, you know, call the police if you like. Since people like her try to prevent us from being able to carry weapons to defend ourselves, why on Earth should we lift a finger to defend her?
I can't help but notice that she doesn't say anything about the color of her attackers. And it's telling that she's not upset with them for attacking her, she's upset because nobody protected her against them. Apparently some people are literally too stupid to learn from their experiences.