Appalachian Ohio, Athens GA, Atlanta, Berkeley, Baltimore, Boston, Chicago, Columbia MO, Des Moines, Fredericksburgh VA, Jacksonville NC, Los Angeles, New York City, NYU, Philadelphia, Palo Alto, Portland ME, Richmond VA, Rutgers University, San Francisco
Lenox station is a cold and drafty place. It is comprised of a single slab of concrete with freezing marble benches and a heavy ceiling that covers the station in shadow. I commute early in the morning and in early afternoon, which makes the place seem particularly sad. I’ve experienced problems here with passengers in the past. But a few weeks ago I was harassed by a bus driver.
New to the entire Marta system, I wanted to ask a nearby bus driver if the bus that he was driving was the one I needed. There was no one inside of the bus, and he’d just parked to pick up passengers. The driver was simply relaxing in his seat, probably on a break, which is not unusual. As I asked whether this bus was the one I was looking for or not, the driver began mouthing my words in an exaggerated way, mimicking (?) my facial expressions.
I asked “What?” I couldn’t understand what has happening. I couldn’t *believe* how condescending and unkind he was being. And why? Because I was female? He proceeded to mock what must have been a cartoonishly inquisitive look on my face, judging by his interpretation. He began to get out of his bus, not saying a word. At this point I felt scared. There aren’t too many people walking about during this time of day (early afternoon, 1pm or so) there were a few people on the benches behind me (the bus was in front of me) so I began to inch backward. He then asked me to “come here”. I didn’t. He pointed at sign overhead that read “route 25″. This wasn’t my bus. He still didn’t say anything to me.
I said “okay”, and began to walk away. I thought perhaps he was simply frustrated with my ineptitude. Rude and strange, but perhaps not sexually-directed harassment?
Then I realized that he was keeping up with me, following me. He caught stride with me, and then said “Don’t worry, daddy loves you”. I looked down. I was too scared to see where he went afterward, but I made my way toward the benches far from the bus. He was gone when I looked back up.
I cannot believe a MARTA employee treated me with such disrespect. I told my friend what happened the next day, and she said “well, it is marta”. Why do we expect to be harassed by MARTA employees and passengers? What does that say about Atl? What does it mean that a young woman cannot use public transportation without worrying that *the employees* will harass and humiliate her?
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