A lawsuit against the MTA is about to go to trial surrounding the rape of a woman on a G train platform in Queens three years ago. And the victim, now 25, told the Daily News this weekend that she forgives her attacker (“I know he was sick in the head”), but not the token booth clerk at the 21st Street station, “I can’t forgive those five seconds when I stared into his eyes, screaming for help, imploring him with my tears and all I got back was a cold stare.”
The victim’s suit, filed two years ago, claims the MTA is negligent for not properly training its subway workers as well as lacking the proper communication tools between a booth and the platform below. As the woman was being attacked, she says not only did the token booth clerk see her yet stay in his booth, but another conductor whose train entered during the attack saw her being assaulted and allowed his train to leave the station. The only action taken by both the clerk and the conductor respectively was to call into their command center for further help.
When the woman was taken by her rapist out of the view of the token booth clerk for ten minutes, he just sat there and waited for police, claiming that he wasn’t supposed to leave his booth. This means that either the MTA has ridiculous rules stating “do not leave your booth, under any circumstances whatsoever, even in an emergency” which need to be changed immediately (for the safety of employees as well as those riding the subway!) and the guy really needed his job or he’s full of shit. I’m personally leaning towards the latter.
But in any case, it seems that the MTA is still hugely negligent by failing to provide vital bystander training. Yet again, a horrible crime of sexual violence could have been avoided/mitigated if only someone had stepped up to help. And yet again, they didn’t. The rape here is ultimately and entirely the fault of the rapist, but we can’t ignore the way in which this kind of reaction creates a culture that makes the act of rape easier both to commit and get away with.