In a story posted today, the Reader asks: "Could woman-only el cars prevent sexual harassment on the CTA?"
I think that's a terrible idea.
And so does the CTA, as the article points out. The transit agency last year launched an anti-harassment campaign to educate people about what constitutes harassment, and how to report it. A CTA spokesperson said that between the campaign and the proliferation of onboard cameras, it hopes to reduce the incidence of harassment. Eight sexual assaults were reported on the CTA in 2015.
When I tweeted a link to the article, it got strong reactions on both sides of the issue.
— Kimberly AH (@adamihasegawa) April 12, 2016
NO. GODDAMNIT. IF WE TOOK IT SERIOUSLY WE PUNISH THE PEOPLE THAT DO IT, NOT FORCE WOMEN TO BE IN A SEPARATE CAR. https://t.co/LPItkZD1lh
— Le (@witch_woolf) April 12, 2016
And then there was my feeling on the issue:
— CTGray the sleepless (@CouchTarts) April 12, 2016
And then my own 25-year-old daughter texted me:
"As a woman with mild post-harassment PTSD who is relieved not to have to ride the Red Line anymore, I think woman-only railcars on the cta is such a fabulous idea."
She went on to tell her Dad (me) about various incidents that happened to her in high school and college while traveling the Red Line. She said men usually harass women on the train when other men aren't around to witness the act. "A man waits to pull his penis out until the car empties."
"If I had a daughter I would be mildly freaked out about her riding the Red Line because of what I know I went through."
"Once I was riding the el to a friend's house when a man touched my leg through the gap in-between the seat and the railcar wall. I asked hime to please stop touching me and he got up and left the train car. But when he was outside the window where I was sitting, he punched it as hard as he could where my face was. So yeah, that's the kind of shit that makes my heart race when I am alone near a man on the el. It ain't pleasant."
And that kind of shit makes me really pissed off at men.
Please, stop this shit. It could be your wife, your mother - your daughter - who gets harassed.
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