I want to start by thanking you for flooding my Facebook news feed with ads asking me if my car qualifies for Uber. It doesn’t. Nor does my cell phone, being as it is an ancient relic from a time when GPS and Uber apps didn’t exist. So no, I won’t be making thousands of dollars a month driving for you any time soon. But even if my car did qualify, and even if I did have GPS, I still wouldn’t apply.
You’re probably wondering why.
A friend of mine started driving for Uber. The first few rides were everything a nervous new driver could hope for—polite passengers, friendly conversation, respect from total strangers. But her third ride is precisely why women nationwide are not driving for you.
My friend, a fine-looking young woman, accepted ride number three. The man sat in the back of her car. She started driving. He started playing with her hair. She told him to stop, which he ignored. He told her he was drunk and on drugs. He whispered in her ear, “Show me your tits. Give me your pussy.” He kissed her neck. She told him to stop. He didn’t. When they arrived at his destination, he did not exit the car. She opened her door, hoping he would do the same. He did. When he got out, she slipped back in, locked all her doors and fuckin dipped.
He gave her a zero-star rating. She reported the incident in an email, since you have no phone number to call, and asked to have the man’s rating removed, which you refused. This lowered her rating from five stars to three, due to her denying a strange, intoxicated man her tits and pussy. But her job isn’t to give her tits and pussy. That’s not the service you provide. Unless maybe I’ve been misinterpreting your use of the word “rides.”
So no, I won’t be signing up to confine myself alone in a vehicle with a stranger any time soon. My safety is not for sale, and no monthly sum of money is enough to justify that constant risk. Although an article on fastcompany.com points out that, “App-based services allow drivers to carry a lot less money, diminishing the potential for theft,” (Greenfield), the potential for assault remains all too real. Women are targeted regardless of the cash they carry. Women’s bodies are a currency of their own, and pursued as such.
In my friend’s case, it could have been much worse. What if he had been armed? Weapons aren’t always used to kill. Weapons force victims to submit to someone’s will, against their own. Most people would choose “Give me your money” or “Give me your pussy” over “Give me your life.” And, voila, another sexual assault. It’s that easy, guys! All you need is a gun.
Uber, I’m not blaming you for the society you were born into. Women have been sexually targeted by (some, not all) men since the dawn of civilization. It’s not your fault women face a disproportionate risk, but it is your responsibility to accommodate for it. The service you provide puts women in a more unsafe position, and you owe it to those women to take any measure you can to prevent such an assault. Perhaps you could install audio recorders, video cameras, and/or some kind of Life-Alert device in vehicles to notify somebody when a driver is at risk, and track their location. If you want more women, offer them an equal opportunity as men, to safely earn an income without having to wonder if their next passenger will be their next attacker. Until then, do me a favor and don’t ask me to drive for you again.