When it comes to sexual activity, consent is key. No one should act inappropriately towards you without your knowledge and consent – especially in an Uber or Lyft. However, many different types of sexual misconduct can and do occur in these vehicles every single year. Unfortunately, Uber and Lyft do not seem to take appropriate action to remedy these crimes.
In 2018, Uber released a list of the 21 most reported types of sexual misconduct that occurs in their vehicles. These actions are inappropriate and unacceptable.
#1: Staring or Leering
Many passengers experience drivers who stare at them for an uncomfortably long period of time or who have an uncomfortable expression on their face. This act is known as staring or leering – and can make passengers incredibly uncomfortable.
#2: Asking Personal Questions
When we ride in an Uber, we expect to choose how we can direct the conversation. If we want a quiet ride or only want to talk about certain subjects, the driver should not pressure us into a different direction. However, some passengers report drivers asking personal, often inappropriate questions about their lives – such as whether or not they are single or where they live.
#3: Making Explicit Gestures or Comments
Sometimes, the conversation with an Uber driver can escalate into the sexually explicit territory. Some passengers report drivers to talk about very explicit, inappropriate topics or make explicit comments about the passenger’s body or appearance. The driver could also make explicit gestures, such as miming sex acts or pointing to genitalia.
#4: Soliciting a Sexual Act
A driver may try to pressure or proposition a passenger into engaging in a sex act. He or she may ask to go home with the passenger or ask the passenger if he or she would want to have sex. This is inappropriate territory and can make the experience of riding in an Uber incredibly uncomfortable.
#5: Displaying Indecent Material
Some Uber drivers may have pornography in their vehicles, either printed or on a digital device. Displaying this material to a passenger can make him or her very uncomfortable. Sometimes, the driver may attempt to show this material to the passenger in order to convince him or her to take part in a sex act.
#6: Masturbation or Indecent Exposure
An Uber driver should never expose him or herself to a passenger – but sadly, these incidents occur more frequently than they should. Some passengers report drivers intentionally showing them their genitalia or other sexualized body parts. Some drivers can intentionally masturbate in front of their passengers – which is a violent act of sexual misconduct.
#7: Making a Verbal Threat of Sexual Assault
If a passenger rejects the advances of his or her Uber driver, the situation may escalate into a more severe type of violence. The driver may threaten to harm or sexually assault the passenger if he or she doesn’t comply. The driver may claim to know where the passenger lives and threaten to assault him or her there. These threats are violent and scary – and saying that they are inappropriate is an understatement.
What to Do After Experiencing Sexual Misconduct in an Uber
If you are the victim of sexual misconduct at the hands of your Uber driver, report the incident to law enforcement and to the app as soon as possible. Collect as much evidence as you can, including screenshots of the ride history, and write down what exactly happened so you do not forget any details.
If you need medical attention, go to a hospital or to your doctor as soon as possible. After you have sought immediate help, contact a rideshare attorney to assist you with your report.
Sexual misconduct is a serious crime, but rideshare companies do not seem to take very much responsibility to help passengers and drivers after an inappropriate incident. If you experienced any of these acts of misconduct in an Uber or Lyft, contact a rideshare attorney as soon as possible. Your lawyer will be able to evaluate your case, advise you on next steps, and guide you through the legal process.