Ashley’s story from Austin, TX: My blood ran cold

Every day I take the Metrobus to and from my college campus in Austin, Texas. Our neighborhood is pretty far away and my stop is the very last stop that bus takes, and I have to change buses three times to get to and from school. One Wednesday afternoon, around four o’clock, I transferred from the second to the last bus. I had been waiting at the bus stop for a good twenty minutes, but when I got on, some guy appeared out of nowhere and got on with me.

He was in his mid to late forties, it seemed. He tried to sit next to me even though there were tons of other empty seats, but I shook him off. Instead he sat in a seat across from me, and attempted to talk to me in Spanish. I just gave him a look and pointedly avoided his gaze, though I could see that he kept staring at me throughout the fifteen-minute ride. I was infuriated.

He finally got off at the bus stop before mine, where a tiny subdivision is located. I breathed a sigh of relief and got off at my stop, located at a tax building across the street from my neighborhood. I crossed the street and got to the entrance, when I noticed a car that was driving very slowly into the neighborhood. When I approached, I stared into the car, heart beating faster as I slowly came to realize that it was the same man from the bus earlier.

He only drove a little ways into the neighborhood, then pulled a u-turn and drove out of the same entrance. I was walking in, and I looked into the driver’s side and it was the same man, giving me the creepiest smile I’ve ever witnessed in my entire life. I had never known blood could literally run cold, but mine did that day.

He waved at me and pulled out of the neighborhood. I walked down the street backwards, watching his car. To my dismay, he was turning around at a stop-light and coming back my way. Horrified, I sprinted like mad to my house, thankfully fast enough so that he didn’t know where I lived. Nobody was home, and I hovered nervously next to the window. As I stared, the exact same car drove slowly around the street– He had been circling the neighborhood, looking for me.

I have never felt this outraged, violated, and humiliated. Knowing that he is practically my neighbor, that he would even try such a thing on a nineteen year old girl by herself absolutely infuriates me. That was a little over a few weeks ago, but I am still paranoid and I check that tiny neighborhood for his car every time I pass by, since I know he must live there.

 

Stories like this should never happen to anyone.  Especially not 19 year olds.  Help build a world without street harassment by donating to the “I’ve Got Your Back” campaign.  The campaign ends July 7th, so act quickly!

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2 Responses

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  1. Sierra says:

    Did she get his license plate number and report him? I’m also a 19 year old from Austin, and I can really relate…

  2. Iris says:

    I went through a pretty similar situation and I know how horrible you must’ve felt!!
    I’m brazilian but live in Germany and I used to live in a small village very very far away from the closest city, so I had to take a 40min ride on the train to go home, until the last station, where usually I’d get a ride (otherwise I had to walk through the fields… which, although Germany is pretty safe, is still quite scary at night)
    So this guy was sitting a few seats away from me once and kept looking at me. It was already dark outside.
    As the stops went by the train got emptier and emptier, until there was only the two of us on the train and he kept giving me this creepy look.
    One stop before mine, I got up to organize my backpack and he probably thought I was getting off, so he stood up and stayed next to the door, still staring at me.
    As the stop went by, I sat again and so did he, that’s when I got really scared, started praying my ride would be there and planning to stop the conductor of the train or wake up the whole neighbourhood if I was alone.
    Thank god my ride was there, but I still had creepy nightmares with that guy for a while, specially when I was alone at home. Creepy creepy creepy.

    So I do know how you feel and I’m sorry you had to go through this alone. Hope we can support you from now on :)

    Thanks for sharing your story!
    Love the campaign overall :)

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