On Sunday, November 19, 2017 a young woman in Washington, DC was sexually assaulted by a man she thought was an Uber driver. She was out with friends and flagged down a car with an Uber sticker so she could be taken home. It turns out that the driver had been let go from Uber but was still driving around the city giving the impression that he was a full-fledged driver. After the young woman and her friend were picked up, they were driven to the campus of American University where at some point, her friend got out. The driver then circled around the campus and parked in a remote lot and raped the female passenger. He then drove her to her dorm and dropped her off. The female student then reported the incident to campus police who have video footage of the car with the Uber sticker prominently displayed driving around the campus.
No where is safe. Not work, the gym, Capitol Hill, the spa, nor an Uber. Why does this continue to happen? Why do men continue to use the female body for their pleasure with total disregard for how their abusive actions and behavior will scar her.
This past summer, I experienced an unsettling situation with an Uber driver. After being picked up in front of my home he immediately started asking me personal questions and staring at me through the rear view mirror. I knew he was jerk and was trying to come on to me. The driver was so distracted by looking at me in the mirror that he missed the turn to take me to my destination. I told him to pull over as I was terminating the ride and as soon as I was safe, I jumped out of the car. Prior to that however, I shared the driver information with my husband and a girlfriend and texted both about how strange the driver was acting. The harassment is real. It can happen anywhere. But you have to take steps to protect yourself. Always let people know where you are going. If you do not show up at a designated time then at least they can back track your steps with information such as the car, plate, driver, etc. And if you feel uncomfortable in a situation, DO NOT push that feeling away. It means something is not right and you do not have to compromise your safety for anyone. Be aware of your surroundings and be aware of people- known and unknown as unfortunately not everyone is your friend. We are living in a different time. The experiences of harassment, abuse, and misconduct faced by women are not new but now it is out in the open and it will no longer be swept under the rug.
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NBC Washington. (2017, November 20). ‘Fake’ Uber driver accused of raping DC student is released. News4. Retrieved from http://www.nbcwashington.com.