This Lyft Driver Is Making It His Mission To Educate Riders About Rape Culture
Tro'Juan Henderson, a 28-year-old Lyft driver, refused to pick up an intoxicated woman during his Wednesday shift in Dallas.
He explained why in a PSA about fighting rape culture on Twitter.
The woman, who could barely walk, was escorted out of a hotel by two female friends who handed Henderson the keys to her apartment, and requested that he drive her home and get her inside safely.
He asked if at least one of the women would ride with her, offered to cut down the payment to get them both home and also offered to call another Lyft driver if that would make them more comfortable.
They declined his offers, so he cancelled the ride.
Henderson stresses in his Twitter video that he didn't want to encourage the practice of people not taking better precautions with inebriated friends.
He says in the video,
Even though I won't rape or sexually assault this lady...as a friend, that puts your friend in a possibility of great danger.
Henderson, who is a poet and advocate for domestic violence and sexual assault survivors, fell into the practice after working for the National Domestic Violence Hotline in Austin (NDVH).
He says that while he "always knew rape was wrong," he came to understand the many forms of sexual assault while taking calls and attending workshops with NDVH.
"I remember going to a workshop and hearing a guy who, after a woman was raped, said, 'Aye man, boys will be boys.' Like basically that because we're men, this is in our nature and we can't control ourselves. It was a shock. I knew that was wrong. From that point on, I knew I had to be more vocal. Men have to hold themselves more accountable.
I knew I had to be more vocal. Men have to hold themselves more accountable.
He nows spends time hosting open mics that center around sexual assault awareness, and talking to grade school and college-level students about the topic.
Tuesday's incident was the second time he had to try convincing women not to leave their intoxicated friends with a Lyft driver.
Henderson tells Elite Daily,
"The first time, I didn't think it would be a reoccurring thing. They ended up agreeing to go together and I took them both."
This second incident proved a bit more extreme, since he was basically offered access to the intoxicated woman's home. This experience is why he chose to post a PSA on Twitter.
Henderson says men and women need to take care of each other better.
At first, I wondered if I was wrong for not giving her a ride but I know where my heart was. I was like yo, if I carry her into her apartment, unlock her door, what if she wakes up and now to her, there's this strange, 6'2" black man carrying her into her house and she doesn't know who I am? And who knows? She could have suffered a traumatic experience in the past that I knew nothing about.
She could have suffered a traumatic experience in the past that I knew nothing about.
The history of drivers sexually assaulting passengers proves Henderson has a point.
Both Lyft and Uber have had several sexual assault cases brought against their drivers. Police have even investigated sexual assault complaints against Lyft drivers in Austin, where Henderson refused the ride.
And it's probably actions like Henderson's that will work to restore public trust in these transportation companies.
Henderson's mentions were immediately filled with support for his Twitter post.
But he stresses that the moment isn't about getting cookies for a good deed.
"I do not want to crown myself. I just know a lot of guys would have looked at her and tried to take an opportunity and I want women to be aware."
Too often the onus is placed on women to protect ourselves from terrible situations, but it should also fall on men to not take advantage and speak up when they see women in vulnerable positions.
Henderson is right; he doesn't need a crown.
But that doesn't mean he isn't a shining example of exactly what a man's role is when it comes to ending rape culture.
And about these "friends" who leave each other like that when you're drunk?