Home Lifestyle Uber Sexual Assault: Personal Stories of Abuse and Neglect

Uber Sexual Assault: Personal Stories of Abuse and Neglect

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Uber Sexual Assault Personal Stories of Abuse and Neglect

Sexual harassment can leave a life-long scar on the mind and body of the affected. More often than not, survivors do not speak about their ordeal because the issue of sexual misconduct is still considered taboo in many societies. Moreover, it feels like the end of the world, especially when the assailant is someone you thought you could trust.

And with Uber, that’s exactly what transpired. Between 2017 and 2020, Uber was the target of almost 10,000 reports of sexual assault, according to TorHoerman Law. However, justice for a majority of women is still a far-fetched dream.

This blog post will take you through some Uber sexual assault survivor stories and also shed light on the current legal landscape surrounding these attacks.

The Overview of Allegations on Uber

Uber has been consistently criticized for its handling of multiple reported assaults by drivers. The plaintiffs claim that the company failed to conduct comprehensive background checks on its drivers

Moreover, they also blame the share-riding giant for not providing sufficient driver training or implementing safety measures, like mandating the installation of cameras in vehicles.

Most of the Uber sexual assault lawsuits argue that the company knew about these incidents but chose to slip them under the rug.

According to a 2022 edition of CNN Business, Uber has agreed to over 1000 sexual assault incidents, including 141 rape reports, in its safety report. However, the snail pace of the legal proceedings is a matter of concern.

The nonchalant attitude of the bosses at Uber is reflected in their plea to remove the phrase “sexual assault” from the charges. Uber contended that the phrase created a presumption of guilt on matters that are still under investigation in California federal litigation.

These matters include determining whether individual Uber passengers were indeed sexually assaulted and, if so, whether Uber can be held responsible.

Sexual violence inflicts injuries that are psychological and demand prompt legal closures.

A Woman is Assaulted Even After Opting For Uber’s Safety Feature

It was the night of April 16, 2023, when a woman called for an Uber after having a few drinks. She wanted the cab to drop her off at her campus in Irvine from Corona del Mar.

She did not want to drive under the influence of alcohol and hence thought that Uber was her best and safest option. While on her way home, she drifted off to sleep in the backseat. However, her slumber was abruptly interrupted when she found the driver, Mercado, assaulting her.

These distressing events were detailed in a lawsuit that was filed with Orange County Superior Court. The lawsuit alleges that the plaintiff had opted for a built-in safety feature.

This feature requires Uber to reach out to riders if the cab remains still for more than 5 minutes without the ride being marked as “completed.”

Uber’s distress call went unanswered because the woman was being forced upon at the time. However, the lawsuit claims that Uber did not carry out any follow-up distress calls by dialing 911 or an emergency service. The victim had to go and file a police report with the Irvine Police Department within six hours.

The complaint also emphasized the fact that Mercado was a repeat offender, and had been convicted for child abuse and domestic violence. Uber still went ahead and hired the criminal!

Their allegations also include:

  • Negligent undertaking: Uber’s failure to follow up with police, and
  • Sexual battery: The driver was acting within the scope of employment when the assault took place.

Verbal Discomfort and Inappropriate Touching

Jennifer, a survivor, boarded her Uber, for a very short distance, to attend to her cat in Mission, a small city in Canada. According to the complaint filed, the driver began asking her inappropriate questions, as soon as she boarded the cab. Statements like, “Do you enjoy partying.?” and “Even I am getting off work soon!”

Her ordeal did not end there. As soon as they reached her drop-off point, the driver came out and offered to help with her stuff. However, helping was just an excuse. The driver wasted no time touching and groping Jeneiffer.

Even though the driver left after her repeated refusals, he arrived the very next day to return Jennifer’s phone, which she had left in the cab. She was so shaken by the assault, that she had to ask her neighbor to take the cell phone from the driver.

These are just a few instances from the thousands that happen on the road each day.

Ride-Sharing Tips For Women’s Safety

Even though Uber promises to keep women’s safety as its top priority, the recent trends reflect otherwise. Even though the number of cases against the company is increasing, not much is being done to hold Uber accountable and compensate the survivors.

It has now boiled down to personal safety tips and tricks to ascertain a normal ride.

Verify the Driver’s Identity and the Car Number

The Uber app allows you to see the driver’s picture, their name, and the car number. Make sure that before boarding the cab, you cross-check each detail. Refrain from boarding if you see a different car or driver at your doorstep. Report the driver to Uber immediately.

Keep Your Family or Friends in the Loop

Always travel with your phone’s location tracker switched on. You can then send your live location details to your trusted family members and/or friends. This will help them keep track of your whereabouts.

Placing them on a call every once in a while should not hurt. This way, the driver will know that you are not alone and that your near and dear ones know about your travel status.

Stay Alert at All Times

Being mindful of your driver’s route can greatly enhance your overall safety. While you’re on your ride, it’s best to steer clear of excessive phone use or any other activities that could distract you. Instead, it’s important to pay attention to the route and take appropriate action if the driver tries to take a different route.

For a woman to give up on cab services, like Uber, is not feasible. These services are now a necessity and not a luxury. Instead, the need of the hour is for the government to stop such companies from monopolizing the market and make them feel that they are not above the law.

Under no circumstance can sexual violence be tolerated. The legal proceedings need to take a concrete step as soon as possible to reinstate the trust among civilians that nothing comes above human safety. Even the biggest disruptors in the market are answerable to their customers.

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