Taxi sex assaults prompt safety outreach for women

Photo via cars.mitula.us
This month has seen two sexual assaults occur in livery taxis. Credit: cars.mitula.us

The Boston Area Rape Crisis Center is offering advice to Boston-area women, and suggestions to cab companies, in the wake of two reports that women were sexually assaulted by men driving unlicensed taxis. 

The first attack happened on Aug. 6, after the victim entered a black Lincoln livery sedan in Boston’s Seaport District. The driver, who is still at large, took her to Newton and raped her, according to police. The second assault, which is not believed to be connected to the first, happened Sunday night after a woman entered a similar taxi in Brighton.

“Any sexual assault is troubling, but it is particularly alarming to hear that the assailants in these sexual assaults targeted those who were looking for safer options for getting to their destination,” BARCC said in a statement on its website yesterday.

“It is important to stress that the problem behavior here is that people are looking to victimize others. To do so, it appears they’re trying to both pass their vehicles off as legitimate taxi or livery options and conceal their own identities.”

BARCC called on cab and livery companies, as well as the makers of taxi hailing apps, to prioritize the safety of passengers.

The organization offered these suggestions to safe traveling:

    • Vehicles must be clearly marked: A medallion number, along with the name of the company, and a phrase such as “Boston Lic. Taxi” should be displayed on the body of the car.
    • Drivers should identify themselves and have visible identification in the car: ID should be posted clearly for passengers in the vehicle. Some companies will also provide a name and photo of the driver ahead of time. Background checks of drivers are also recommended.
    • Drivers should be respectful and courteous: Remarks about passengers’ clothing, bodies and any other comments of a personal nature make passengers feel vulnerable; especially considering drivers have access to address information.

A woman from the United Kingdom weighed in on the danger, saying in the comment section that she had been assaulted by a London cabbie in an unmarked taxi.

“This is a HUGE problem in London as well. Unmarked, non-licensed taxi drivers are trying to make a bit of money. I tried hailing a cab from a very popular gay club area, was pulled off the street and assaulted by one of these men. Unfortunately, he was also targeting gay women as well. So travelers, this isn’t just happening at home. It’s horrible to think that this can happen anywhere,” she said.

BARCC said legitimate taxi or car services should offer a system of accountability so it is easy to identify cars and drivers and locate them after the ride.

“The safest ride option is the service or driver willing to demonstrate that to you and to make sure you feel comfortable riding with them. We have a right to safe ride options at all hours, in all neighborhoods.”

Follow Morgan Rousseau on Twitter: @MetroMorgan
Follow Metro Boston on Twitter: @MetroBOS



News
Entertainment
Sports
Lifestyle
International

Sierra Leone Ebola patient, recovered from family, dies…

An Ebola patient whose family sparked a nationwide hunt when they forcefully removed her from a treatment center and took her to a traditional healer has died.

Local

VIDEO: Cop reassigned as NYPD investigates alleged head…

An officer alleged to have stomped on a Brooklyn man's head last week had his gun taken away and placed on modified duty.

National

New York Times calls for legalization of pot

The New York Times editorial board on Saturday endorsed a repeal of the federal ban on marijuana, becoming the largest paper in the nation to back the idea.

National

Two injured after cable snaps on Ohio amusement…

(Reuters) - A cable on a large swing ride at an Ohio amusement park snapped and struck two riders as the swing was in motion,…

Music

Newport Folk Festival: Photo gallery of 35 moments…

As has been the tradition since Bob Dylan plugged in a bajillion years ago, the Newport Folk Festival embraces more musical genres than its name implies.

Music

MKTO: Behind the bromance

MKTO's Malcolm Kelley and Tony Oller talk about the American Dream tour, Demi Lovato and getting turned down by girls.

Arts

James Earl Jones and Rose Byrne head to…

Two-time Tony winner James Earl Jones returns to the New York stage next month as an eccentric grandfather in a revival of the 1930s comedy…

Movies

Box office: Scarlett Johansson wins battle of brains…

Scarlett Johansson's "Lucy" handily dispatched with Dwayne Johnson's "Hercules" over the weekend.

MLB

Yankees looking to trade for Josh Willingham: Report

CBS Sports’ Jon Heyman reported Sunday the Yankees are interested in Twins outfielder Josh Willingham.

MLB

Joe Torre: I'm in Hall of Fame because…

Joe Torre spent 18 years putting together a near Hall of Fame career as a player. But it was the 12 years he spent as…

MLB

Yankees GM Brian Cashman breaks down art of…

The action frequently accelerates as the non-waiver trade deadline approaches, as it will on Thursday.

Auto racing

Jeff Gordon captures fifth title at Brickyard 400

Jeff Gordon captures fifth title at Brickyard 400

Wellbeing

This Week In Health: Friends share similar DNA,…

Friends share similar DNA, study finds Location: U.S. Study subjects: Nearly 2,000 people Results: When it comes to our social networks, it seems that birds of…

Education

Are liberal arts colleges turning away from the…

Bryn Mawr College, a small women's college located just outside of Philadelphia, announced last week that it would be making standardized tests like the SAT…

Education

Recent grads discover school superintendent plagiarized parts of…

  Two recent high school graduates made a surprising discovery about the commencement speech their school superintendent delivered at their graduation: portions of it was copied…

Career

Feeling stuck? Get out of the entry-level job…

Television and movies may be littered with 20-something characters who seem directionless when it comes to their careers, but author Mary Traina says she finds…