CALL TO ACTION: Jaclyn’s story!

Yesterday I was sexually harassed in a taxi; this has happened to me before and I know it has most likely happened to you.

On my way to work, the driver of Blueline cab #324 suggested we have an affair so he can cheat on his wife, asked if my boyfriend and I are having sex, and made several inappropriate comments about my appearance. Sadly, this isn’t even the worst incident of sexual harassment I have experienced in a cab in Ottawa.

I immediately called Blueline to make a complaint and was directed to their fleet manager. I suffered the undignified experience of having to leave a voicemail about how I was sexually harassed and over twenty four hours later I have yet to receive a call back.

It is time we stand in solidarity, openly discuss this issue and call out the cab companies whose employees are sexually harassing women and whose management are not responding to this issue.

At a time when victims of assault are blamed for walking alone at night, when women are being sexually harassed on public transportation and when there are concerns about the safety of Uber cars, the women of Ottawa should be able to rely on our local cab companies for safe transportation.

If you feel comfortable doing so, please join me in sharing your experiences on social networks and/or calling out the cab companies whose drivers have sexually harassed you. Messages of solidarity are also gladly welcomed, including from our allies. If you would like to join the campaign, please use the hashtag #SafeCabYOW. From my searches, only two local cab companies are on Twitter. Blueline’s handle is @BlueLineTaxiOtt and Capital Taxi is @CapitalTaxiOtt.

If we can get enough people calling out these cab companies, we can look at what the next steps of this campaign should be – for example, calling on local cab companies to include anti-harassment training in their employee orientation and meeting with City Councillors to explore what role the City has in ensuring the safety of passengers in registered taxi cabs. For now, please tweet and facebook your stories and support, and don’t forget to use the hashtag #SafeCabYOW.