Sadly this isn’t the first story that I’ve shared on this site but I’m hoping it will be my last. I was riding the train to downtown St. Louis, MO, today to see the All American Rejects perform at The Taste of St. Louis. I was waiting on the train at the landing station and notice this man looking at me up and down and he said, “Damn, how you doin,” or something like that. That was annoying to see him eying me the way he did but annoying or not, I can brush that off, no big deal, but what I can’t brush off is him pulling out his penis and pleasuring himself while watching me.
Yep, ladies, as I was digging through my bag I look behind me and notice this same man pleasuring himself watching me and he said, “Yeah, yeah,” nodding his head as I caught him, as if he was doing nothing wrong. I yelled, “That’s disgusting!” and walked off. That’s when he ran off. There was no security guard there to tell (even though one is always suppose to be there) so I tell a lady there and she is also offended. I get on my train and make sure not to let it run my night.
However, on the way back from the concert I go to another train stop and tell the guard what happened at the landing station. What made me even more mad than the actual perverted event was the guard downplaying it saying that happens all the time and his friend asked how old I was and that if I’m not underage, I shouldn’t be offended and it’s 2012. He implied that I should take it as a compliment and said if I found the guy attractive, I probably wouldn’t be so offended. I tell him that no person that I would find attractive would do that and how would he like it if he had a daughter and some man did that to her.
I also explained to him that as women we are always in vulnerable positions cause we physically aren’t as strong as men and he’s like, “He didn’t touch you though did he”? and I said no but I don’t know what anyone who is disturbed enough to do that would do. It was a total waste of breath trying to explain. Next thing I know this same man arguing with me invites me for a drink. I actually got the creeps from him because I could see him getting angry when I was explaining how I had every right to be offended. Obviously I didn’t go get a drink with him and didn’t give him my number but took his when he insisted. Only reason I took it (then deleted it) was because he gave me the creeps and seemed like he would be the type if I hurt his ego, he may end up getting rough and I could see the guard at the station who was his friend thought this was no big deal so if anything were to happen. I know I wouldn’t have backup.
It’s sad that as a woman I even have to take a guys number that I would never date or call just to make sure I’m not hurting his ego enough to where he would do something crazy if I were to say no to his face. There really needs to be something done about the protection of girls and women that ride public transportation. I am sure any woman who has had to ride it on the regular, has been harassed a time or two at least but we should never be desensitized to it no matter how “normal” it is and its disgusting how easily its dismissed.
Location: Metrolink, downtown St. Louis, MO, USA
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10/2/12 UPDATE: A SSH reader was mad about this story and contacted the transit authority in St. Louis. This is what she reported back:
“So I just got a phone call in response to my comment on the transit site. I think the guy didn’t read my note completely because he thought it was me who had been harassed, but I let him know that I was writing because I was appalled at how it was handled, not because it happened to me. I reminded him that I had posted a link to the story and he could probably get in touch with the person it happened to that way to get the details. He also agreed it was disgusting, and said they are eager to follow up on this. So to the person who this happened to, please contact them, they are definitely interested in sorting this out! The number he called from was 314-982-1400 so I think you can contact them that way.”