Dear PoPville – Public Masturbation on the Blue/Orange Line this morning

Photo by PoPville flickr user yostinator

“Dear PoPville,

I got on at Eastern Market, a few minutes after 11 am on Monday morning, 2/3/2014, at my usual door (last door, second to last car) to expedite my travels upon my arrival at my destination. The car was relatively empty and I locked eyes with a young, attractive, well-dressed man upon getting on the train. I noted the look in his eyes. I kept to myself, playing on my phone, until looking up to see what stop we were pulling into when I noticed him stroking himself out of his pants, with his d*ck pointed at me. I didn’t say anything, but I probably physically reacted. I got up and got off the metro since we’d just pulled into Federal Center SW. I tried to snap a photo of him through the window, but he never turned around.

I reported the incident to station manager who called ahead to get the train stopped at the next station. The station manager recommended I not sit in the back of the metro, but closer to the operator in the future, which I get is good advice, but I should be able to sit wherever on the metro and not be at risk. The Station Manager did call ahead to other stations to try to apprehend the perpetrator. I also made a statement to the police. I was disappointed to learn that there are no cameras on the metro cars. I saved Metro PD’s number [202-962-2121] in my phone for the future.

He was young (maybe 25ish), black, wearing a lumberjack, ear flap-style hat and a dark grey or blue wool jacket. He never said anything to me. He never reacted to my reaction to him. He never turned around to see what I was doing after I got off the metro.”

26 Comment

  • this happened to me a few months back, on a red line train around 2 in the afternoon. it was such an awful awkward experience, luckily I was in a similar situation where I got off at the next stop and ran to the furthest car towards the front as I could get to in time. This man was black, heavyset and looked to be in his mid 30’s. it was just him and I in the metrocar and he definitely did not try to hide what he was doing.

  • Ugh, this is disgusting. Thanks for doing something about this and reporting it. Hopefully Metro police/MPD will be in touch to have you identify this guy so he can be prosecuted.

  • This is creepy as hell.

  • Curious – OP – are you female? (I’m wondering if Metro would have said that same thing to a guy – telling you where to sit on a train to be “safe” is getting dangerously close to victim-blaming in my mind).

  • ” but I should be able to sit wherever on the metro and not be at risk.”

    ^Sure, and in a perfect world, there’s no war or hunger. You can’t control the actions of others, but you can control what you do to keep yourself safer.

    Call the police, report the incident, and yeah, move away. If you want to stay closer to the masturbator to make a brave feminist point, that’s your choice.

    • Except the advice wasn’t about moving away: “The station manager recommended I not sit in the back of the metro, but closer to the operator *in the future*” (emphasis added). I agree that individuals should take sensible personal safety precautions – like avoiding nearly-empty cars late at night – but it’s ridiculous to expect people/women to avoid most of the train in the middle of the day.

    • Nice attitude. Your wife, daughter or sister is super-lucky.

  • I’m really sorry you had to go through that. Glad that you were able to make a statement to the police, but the station manager’s response is disappointing. Really not helpful.

  • This happened to me about 4 years ago on a red line train around 7pm coming from Rockville to Gallery Place. It’s actually very scary…you don’t want to draw attention to it by getting up and moving because, at least in my situation, I was scared he might follow me. Was an African American man in his mid-30’s as well. I did not report it – I guess I should have at the time but I was so freaked out by the entire incident.

  • Having seen this, oh, dozens of times in three different cities (Chi, NY, and DC), my strategy is just to always embarrass the heck out of the flasher (“Dude, what are you doing? That is just nasty!”) Strange though the reports that these are young-ish dudes doing this kind of stuff.

    • All 3 reports here are of young black men. I wonder do white guys do this too?

    • Dozens of times??? I agree, it must be something horrible to experience, but with all due respect if it happened to me that many times, I’d start to wonder if it had something to do with me!

      • Hahaha really? As in, you’d wonder if you were provoking him by sitting there and minding your own business? You’d wonder if you were provoking him by being female and riding metro? Your comment sounds pretty uninformed, ‘ anonymous.’ Guessing you are not a female.

      • Well every time it happened to me I was headed to campus wearing overalls and a t-shirt so not exactly hooker clothes if that is what your implying.

  • Let’s not go down the race road. It’s happened to me twice & both guys were white. One youngish, the other older. It’s not a race thing. It’s a male/power/wierdo thing. Kudos for reporting.

    • This has happened to me three times in my life. Twice in college, once in DC. Two of the men were white, one black- all young. Please please report these events when they happen.

  • Thank you for reporting this. This happened to me once, and I was so frightened and upset that I got off the train, left the station, and started walking home. Reflecting on it later, I really regretted not saying something. At the time I was so shaken that I guess I didn’t want to admit what had happened. So, thanks.

  • I once saw a man sitting on the steps of Ming’s (almost at the intersection of H and 7th) masturbating. It was a Friday night, so families and such were walking by. I had to walk by him to get into the restaurant, lol (smh). Some guy also did a similar thing as what happened here to my wife in Barcelona. I was with her and the guy didn’t notice me at first. When I realized what was going on, I stupidly chased the guy. Good thing I didn’t get stabbed. Anyway, there seem to be a lot of pervs out there, and they seem to flock to cities where they know they can more easily blend in the cover of lots of people.

  • Dagggg, I miss EVERYTHING!!

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