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This morning I got on an elevator with a female colleague on our way to a meeting. A man joined us and as the door closed said “You have beautiful eyes” in a very dirty voice. I said a muffled “thank you”, avoiding eye contact. He then had time to say “you’re pretty and “I want to talk to you” all in a very disturbing voice. He even said hello to my collegaue, and asked her to tell “her friend” that she had beautiful eyes.
I was only going to the 2nd floor but it felt like the 20th. After my colleague and I got off, I was utterly perturbed. I felt like he had violated me. Looking back, this would have been a perfect time to “hollaback”- I had my cellphone camera easily accessible in my pocket, and a good 30 seconds of captivity with him to get a good shot. But I was so mortified I didnt think of it- I wasn’t thinking at all. All I could do was stare ahead at the door, waiting for my floor, hoping he would stop. On one hand I am glad I wasn’t alone with him- god only knows what could have happened. On the other hand, it was embarrassing to be treated like that in front of a colleague, without defending myself or speaking out against what was happening to me. I fret that I may have lost her respect- or more, that he took my dignity from me in front of her.
I hope next time I will find the strength and the power to take action. To speak up and to hollaback.
Submitted by Kate
This horrific story reminds us that without a trained and sensitive staff at the MTA, those beautiful subway ads that we worked so hard to get up are useless. The Subway Safety Coalition, of which HollabackNYC is a part of, will be drafting letters to the heads of the MTA, the transporation committees in the New York State Senate and Assembly, as well as to the Public Safety Committee in the City Council.
To do your part, send a letter to the editor of the Daily News at firstname.lastname@example.org. Remember to include your full name, address and phone number.