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She was harassed on the Metro; Now she tells survivors' stories

Margaret Wroblewski tells the stories of victims of sexual harassment and sexual assault on mass transit. It's a story she knows all too well.

WASHINGTON -- Margaret Wroblewski is trying to tell a story through her photography. It's a story of those sexually assaulted or harassed on mass transit. 

All of the photos are now featured in a brand new exhibit at the Corcoran School of Arts and Design.

"This is Reverend Dawn Sanders," she said, pointing at one of the photos. "She was assaulted on the Metro." 

In the photo, a dignified woman stares into the camera, with colorful, stained glass windows in the background. Wroblewski then moved on the next photo. It's the silhouette of a woman, riding up a Metro escalator. 

"This is an anonymous woman," she said. "A man touched her crotch while she was sleeping on the Metro."

One by one, she goes through the photographs, hanging on the wall. Each of them tell the story of a person impacted by sexual assault or harassment on mass transit. 

"There are countless stories out there," she said. "That need to be documented."

The exhibit is one of 80 located at the gallery, which is created by undergraduate and graduate students at The George Washington University. Wroblewski created this project as her thesis, but said it's also personal. She too is a victim. 

Margaret's Story:

It all started approximately two years ago, when she was riding the Red Line, at around 10:30 p.m. That's when a man walked onto the Metro. 

"I looked up from my phone, she said. "And there he was masturbating while staring directly at me. And at that moment -- he used my body in a public space to gratify himself." 

Horrified, she got off at the next stop. 

"I didn't really know what to do," she said. "I just stood there on the platform, and took a breather. And then went home." 

But what happened stayed with her. That's why she posted on social media, asking for others to send similar stories. 

The responses started pouring in. She has heard from over 100 people from across the globe. So far she's interviewed and photographed about 30 of them. 

"I hope this project gives my subjects a place to open up," she said. "And have control and power over their story."

The exhibit will be open Tuesdays through Fridays, in between 10 a.m and 6 p.m., and on Saturdays and Sundays in between 1 p.m. and 6 p.m. The exhibit will be open until May 18th.

To read the stories of those featured in Wroblewski's project, or to submit one of your own, you can visit here

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