Today’s AMNY article highlights the MTA’ s station booth closures. HollabackNYC recently co-founded New Yorkers for Safe Transit with RightRides, Girls for Gender Equity, and NOW-NYC. New Yorkers for Safe Transit has protested these cuts alongside TBOU, a transit union. HollabackNYC’s Emily May is quoted in the article:
“Without that worker, people are really defenseless,” said Emily May of New Yorkers for Safe Transit, an advocacy group protesting the cuts. “Who are they supposed to reach out to if they are assaulted or harassed?”
Here are the stats:
186: Station agent positions cut this year
105: Booths closing
65: Booths closing in Manhattan
126: Subway stations without a PA
9: Stations that are also losing a station agent
A: Subway line with the most stations lacking a PA
I had experienced so much aggressive harassment over a three day period- men cat calling me as I’m walking toward them and then calling me a bitch and a cunt when I passed them without responding- in my neighborhood, I decided to take a summer scarf and drape it around my shoulders, to cover the bare skin I was revealing by wearing a tank top. It was hot, and I wanted to wear a tank top, but did not think I would make it from my house to the subway without this intense harassment that was making me crazy. As I exited my apartment and attempted to walk down my stairs, I encountered a maintenance man who was also making his way down the stairs in front of me. He saw me, turned to me and smiled and said hello. I smiled back and said hello. He then proceeded to walk down three rows stairs backwards, facing me, looking me up and down the whole time and smiling at me, like we were doing something together. My skin crawled. I couldn’t even say hello to this man without him taking it as some sort of romantic or sexual invitation. As soon as I reached the bottom of the stairs, as he stood there, just staring at me weirdly, I took the scarf that was around my shoulders and wrapped it around my head, almost instinctively. I walked past him quickly with the scarf fully covering my hair, my shoulders and part of my face. It was one of those kind of checkered patterned scarves that some Christian organizations had petitioned Duncan Doughnuts remove from an actress in a commercial last year because they said it had Arab which equaled terrorist connotations or some crazy shit like that. Whatever. I made my way from my apartment to the subway in relative piece that day, with the exception of one young construction worker who actually stepped into my path as I was walking, to make eye contact with me around the scarf, and repeated “hello, hello mommy.”
Submitted by Chavisa
On July 31st I had a dispute on the corner of E 7th St. and 1st Ave. with two truck drivers of Hollywood Dairy LTD. The location of this business is 3190 Rawlins Ave., Bronx, NY 10465. The New York commercial license plate of their truck read: 31228 JT. There were three drivers, two harassed me. I have photos of the truck and the aggressors. I am a woman in my twenties.
I was walking by and one of the drivers hissed at me (familiar to any woman, never appropriate to do this to a stranger, a woman, but there was certainly nothing palliative about his way of hailing this ugly sound at me, his sound effect was in no way mild or naive; it was sharp, accustomed, unmistakably aggressive and disrespectful). I challenged the person who thus disrespected me, I wanted an apology, and he and one of the other men set in on me, insulting and demeaning me in every possible way (mocking my intelligence, sanity, appearance, and investment in the situation. Any bigot surprised to be called out will try to downplay his accuser).
I called the police and was waiting for them to arrive, so I was next to these men without an ally for about twenty minutes, trying to reason, losing my temper, and being ludicrously, sadistically baited. I want these men held accountable. I want Hollywood Dairy held accountable for putting such nuisances on the street to interfere with and to denigrate women. The incident was very upsetting to me. I do not treat people this way, I do not see people in the dehumanizing, small way that could only have allowed them to treat me as they did. Ignorance is unfortunate, but it cannot be an excuse for bigotry and demeaning aggression.
I have contacted various news channels, as well as the police again, and I have left messages for and mailed a long letter to the manager(s) of Hollywood Dairy. Please hold these people responsible (let there be an affecting consequence) for their bigoted behavior that caused me great stress, which I did not deserve. No woman should be taken out of her peace on her own streets.
Submitted by Lia
I was waiting for the train in a mostly empty station at 2:30 AM on 8/1/09. Soon a man walked down the stairs. I glanced up at him and looked back down at my game. About 5 minutes later, I looked up again and saw that he was staring at me and masturbating on to the track. I was so freaked out that I didn’t say anything or take a picture. I just ran to the other side of the station. People walked down to the track soon after and he ran away. He looked pretty unremarkable. White tank top, blue jeans, fair complexion, and dark hair.
Submitted by Aria
Was on the 4 train downtown from union square the other day around 9am and this 40ish year old white man in a nice looking coat kept looking at me he then got up from his seat when the train got crowded. I thought I had moved away from him but then I felt something on my leg and turned around to have his hand going up my dress. He quickly pulled it away as I yelled you’re disgusting. He said gimme a break, come on and picked up his bag as I moved away from him and got off the train.
Submitted by Anonymous.
On account of having been jumped about a month ago, I don’t have a phone (I suppose I could get a new one) but I wish I coulda taken a photo of my new best friends from last night. I’m used to light heckling, especially in summer. “Hey baby can I ride with you?” usually gets you a quick “Sorry, I’m not into men with cars.” Which also usually gets a laugh from passers by. This dude last night. who I really wish I could have photographed, wouldn’t quit though. Weird shit. He said “eenie meani miny moe.” What does that even mean? That and a lot of “you know you look good” lip smacking. I looked hot and tired, because I was. But then the light changed and he drove off and I headed across Atlantic and only realized when I got across that the other cars had all turned and dude was slowing way down to wait for me. Which took it from obnoxious to downright creepy. I wound up backtracking on to the sidewalk to find another way home.
Submitted by Amanda
He sat next to me on D Train in Brooklyn and masturbated. I got up and sat across from him to take a picture. I got off the train and with help from transit workers got the police. I gave a report of the incident and emailed pictures later in day. This perv smelled like homeless man but looked clean cut.
Submitted via SMS.
Thursday morning I was walking back to my house from my boyfriend’s with my bike. As I passed some men working on a building Franklin Avenue at Bergen Street a man standing at the bottom of the scaffolding began to say something inappropriate in reference to riding and biking and me. Most of the cat calling on my street involves the typical “hello beautiful/sweetheart,” but this was more sexually aggressive and explicit. I was a bit stunned, but just continued walking back to my house.
After bringing my bike upstairs, I got ready for work and began to walk back down the street towards the subway. As I approached the construction site again, I readied myself for the same guy to throw some comments at me. I was almost past him when he started saying more inappropriate things (along the lines of the “ooh baby lemme do this and that…” GROSS). At that point i turned around and said “Stop harassing me. I just want to walk down the street without being harassed. It is inappropriate to make those comments and it’s rude. I am not a piece of meat and I should not be treated like one. I am a person too. Don’t ever say anything like that again to me or anyone else!”
What infuriated me the most is that he kept trying to say “Ok, now you have a blessed day ma’am,” while I was telling him off – really condescending! After the fact, I wanted to go back and say, “I will not have a blessed day. NO THANKS, ASSWIPE!”
The worst part is that I’m probably going to see that guy when I walk from my house to the subway in the mornings, and that makes me a little worried. If he thinks it’s ok to say those things to ladies, who knows what else he thinks is ok to do? I hate feeling threatened on the street where I live. ARGH! If this guy continues to bother me, what should I do? Keep on telling him off? Contact the police? Carry pepper spray? Move?
Submitted by GS
The AMNY story is a follow-up piece to co-founder Emily May’s recent op-ed in the Metro. The Metro piece exposed the NYPD and MTA for failing to release crime stats on harassment and assault in the subway. Since the op-ed, Emily and New Yorkers for Safe Transit have successfully joined forces with Assemblymember Jim Brennan and Manhattan Borough President Scott Stringer. (Both Hollaback Heros!) Brennan will submit a bill to the State Assembly in the fall forcing the MTA to release crime stats. Stringer’s office is currently FOILing the MTA to see if they can get the data. Together, we will put an end to harassment on the subway!
I was on the 1 train headed south at 8am on Monday. I was sitting with my left side to the wall of the train, focusing on my iPod, sifting through songs for my wedding playlist, and I noticed a 30-something short man with this awful mullet (I know, mullet’s are awful to begin with, but this one was as awful as they can get) standing in front of me, with his back to the wall, reading this really odd newspaper with photos of women in their lingerie gracing the cover. Nothing interesting there, so I turn back to the iPod, until I notice movement in front of me. I look up, and my first thought was, “what IS that thing hanging out of that guy’s pants? And why’s he rubbing it so ferociously?” That’s how not street smart I am—growing up in Pittsburgh, I never need to be suspicious of things like this.
He had blocked the view of everyone else on the car (including children), with that nasty newspaper, but so graciously allowed me to look at what he was doing, and, as if to add eve more creepiness to the scenario, he winked at me.
I was in mortified shock, and not knowing what else to do, stood up quickly and moved to the other end of the car. Someone else took my seat, but by that point, he had covered everything back up with that infamous newspaper.
Looking back on it, I could have kicked him where it counts, but that probably wouldn’t have been the smartest thing. I could have told someone, but with kids on the car, I didn’t want a fight to break out. I would have called the cops if I had cell phone reception. I would have told an MTA person if there had been one at the Houston stop where I got off. I feel like we need a primer on exactly what to do when something like this happens.
Submitted by Caitlin