Most people consider Uber as a safe way to get to their destination.
While Uber is the safer option in several cases, especially ones when you are too intoxicated to drive on your own, there are still risks associated with using a popular car-sharing app.
One of the most recent concerns is the alarming rise in sexual assault cases, especially in large cities like Los Angeles, San Francisco, and Kansas City.
Here’s recent news on an Uber driver sexually assaulted and everything you need to know for your safety.
- Is It Common To Be Sexually Assaulted in an Uber?
- Recent Stories of Uber Drivers Sexually Assaulting Passengers
- What To Do if You’re Sexually Assaulted in an Uber Ride
- How To Report a Sexual Assault
- How To Report Sexual Assault to Uber
- How to Avoid Getting Sexually Assaulted
- How Does Uber Protect Its Passengers?
- Is Uber Safe?
Is It Common To Be Sexually Assaulted in an Uber?
Unfortunately, sexual assault is a common issue for female passengers on uber rides.
According to a safety report by Uber, eight cases of sexual assault occur in their cars on average each day.
Approximately 97% of the reported victims have been passengers, and 89% of these victims were women.
A 2018 CNN report revealed that 103 Uber drivers face sexual assault allegations.
The company currently has several lawsuits from over 5,981 victims who filed complaints against them between 2017 and 2018.
The rideshare company had to pay a 9 million dollar settlement to The California Victim Compensation Board for failure to comply with their requests for information per the California Consumer Privacy Act.
The money will go towards victims of sexual and physical assault.
It is also facing a civil suit from a woman from New York.
The lawsuit claims that Uber falsely advertised itself as a safe choice for intoxicated women while lacking any regulations to protect its passengers from sexual misconduct.
Recent Stories of Uber Drivers Sexually Assaulting Passengers
Here are some of the most recent cases of passengers who uber drivers sexually assaulted.
1. The Case of Dawed Mekonene
Mekonene’s victim reported that the Uber driver sexually assaulted a passenger riding with him in December 2021.
The incident occurred in Las Vegas.
The sexual assault incident occurred when the victim fell asleep in his car.
Mekonene assaulted his victim, then drove her to her original destination.
The Las Vegas Review-Journal reported that the driver canceled the ride for 22 minutes, then restarted it while dropping his victim off.
He has since been removed as an Uber and Lyft driver and permanently banned from both platforms.
He is also facing kidnapping, sexual assault, and battery charges.
2. The Case of Mahdi Ibrahimi
Mahdi Ibrahimi is a 31-year-old Uber driver who sexually assaulted a 13-year-old child.
He was previously a Lyft driver before he began working for Uber.
He has arrested by King Country Sherief detectives 13 days after assaulting the child.
The assault took place while driving the child from her father’s house to her mother’s home.
The victim’s mother became concerned after what should have been a 30-minute drive went on for significantly longer.
When the car did arrive, her daughter told her that she had been sexually assaulted.
Police later found out that the Ibrahimi changed her location without her father’s knowledge.
He has since been charged with second-degree rape of a child.
3. The Case of Mark Anthony Taylor
Mark Anthony Taylor is accused of sexually assaulting an intoxicated passenger in his car.
The victim’s friends called her an Uber as she was too intoxicated to get home alone.
Her friend noticed that the driver did not take her to the right location.
Instead, he drove around the neighborhood before stopping at a location close by.
Her friend then ran to the location and removed the victim from the car.
Police talked with the victim and wrote a police report.
The victim didn’t remember the incident, but physical evidence of the assault existed.
Taylor now faces charges on suspicion of kidnapping and sexual assault.
Related: What happened in the Uber driver killer case
What To Do if You’re Sexually Assaulted in an Uber Ride
Sexual assault is always traumatizing for the victim.
It’s not rare to hear cases of survivors panicking or being unsure of what to do after being assaulted.
Knowing the steps to take in the case of incidents can make the situation less mentally taxing.
Here’s what you should do if an incident occurs.
1. Get To Safety
The first step you should take is always to ensure your safety.
Try your best to go to a safe area, then contact the authorities.
You should go to the hospital to treat any injuries you might have sustained.
You should also inform the hospital that you were sexually assaulted so they can collect evidence for the police.
2. Try To Save as Much Evidence as You Can
Your first instinct after being assaulted might be to shower, but it’s recommended that you don’t take a shower until you’ve completed your medical exam.
Try your best to recall as many details about your attack for the police report, and take notes of what you remember.
How To Report a Sexual Assault
There are three ways you can report a sexual assault in the United States.
The first method is by calling 911.
Doing so will alert law enforcement that you are in danger, and dispatchers will send help to your location as soon as possible.
Use this method if you’re in immediate danger.
The second method is to directly contact your local police station or the law enforcement on your college campus.
If a police station is close by, you can visit it and file your report there, or if you have access to a phone number, you can call directly.
The third way you can file a report is at a hospital or a medical center.
If you need to seek medical attention as a result of your assault, tell your doctor that you were assaulted and plan on filing a report.
You can also ask them to do a sexual assault forensic exam to gather more evidence.
How To Report Sexual Assault to Uber
Uber has a safety toolkit that allows you to contact the authorities directly in emergency cases.
When you use this feature, the authorities will receive your live location.
If you aren’t in immediate danger, you can wait until after reaching your definition to file a report through Uber help.
You also can file a report during the ride using their on-trip reporting tool.
How to Avoid Getting Sexually Assaulted
You should follow these tips to reduce your risk of facing sexual violence.
1. Verify Your Driver’s Name
You should first verify your driver’s name before getting in the car.
You do this by asking them to confirm their name.
Be aware though: there is something called the “say my name scam” where riders exploit this verification, so don’t be surprised if the drier hestitates.
You should also ensure that the vehicle that arrives matches the information listed on Uber.
If the car trying to pick you up has a different license plate, make, or is an entirely different car, you should avoid getting in and contact law enforcement as soon as possible.
2. Don’t Violate Guidelines
Uber has strict rules prohibiting sexual contact between drivers and passengers, and it has outlined some rules for keeping both its drivers and passengers safe.
These guidelines are in place to prevent cases of sexual misconduct between drivers and passengers.
In addition to avoiding physical contact, you should also avoid sexual conversations and gestures.
You should also avoid questions that, while they aren’t sexual, are invasive, like questions about marital status.
3. Sit in the Backseat of the Car
Choosing to sit in the backseat of your Uber ride places a physical distance between you and your uber driver, which makes it more difficult for any unwanted physical contact to occur.
Plus, personal space is always a plus.
Uber has a Share trip status option to share your driver’s name, photo, license plate, and location with your loved ones.
The feature also allows them to track your location and expected time of arrival.
We recommend you use this feature when you feel in danger during your uber ride or to save the personal information of your assailant.
5. Carry Pepper Spray
Pepper spray is one of the most effective, nonlethal tools for self-defense.
It’s easy to carry and use, and you can easily use it without coming in close contact with your attacker.
Pepper spray will incapacitate your attacker long enough for you to escape.
How Does Uber Protect Its Passengers?
Uber has partnered with organizations such as RAINN and Futures Without Violence to make riding with it a safe experience for their passengers.
Here are some features it has in place to protect you.
1. Emergency Button in App
Uber has an emergency button that will immediately connect you with a private emergency responder.
Uber will also provide them with all your details to keep you safe.
2. Safety Agents on Call
Uber has a team of trained agents on call 24/7 to respond to any sensitive emergency situations.
3. Background Checks
Uber places all their potential drivers through a rigorous screening process that involves several background checks.
Is Uber Safe?
Uber does its best to be as safe as possible for its riders.
It is constantly upgrading its rules and regulations and has put measures in place to ensure that sexual abuse victims get justice.
While there may be risks associated with riding with the rideshare company, we would say that it is safe.
While sexual assault is a risk when using car-sharing apps, there are steps you can take to protect yourself as a passenger.
Learning about cases of sexual assault in Uber cars teaches you to take all reasonable measures to protect yourself.
Should you be the victim of sexual assault, make sure to report the crime to your local police as well as to Uber.