In Louisiana, women who work as full-time drivers for ride-hailing apps, their car is their workplace, and their passengers are their livelihood. Many more now enjoy the rideshare flexibility and earning potential as they drive in the comfort of their own vehicle as the service was expanded state-wide due to recent laws.
However, many female riders have reported being raped or assaulted by rideshare drivers. Could the women who choose to earn a living by transporting passengers about whom they know nothing beyond their profile picture be placing themselves at a higher risk for rape?
According to KPNX-TV, an Arizona rideshare passenger sat in the front seat and sexually assaulted a female driver in February. The woman, who picked up two male riders, stated that the assault began after the man in the backseat exited at his destination and continued until she dropped the second passenger off. The offender admitted that he forced the woman to touch him.
Per a CNN report, there were over 400 reports of rape and almost 6,000 total reports of sexual assault among one rideshare company alone during 2017 and 2018. Nearly one in nine of those incidents involved women or those who identify as women.
The report goes on to state close to 10% of the rape allegations were made by drivers. It is natural to assume that one’s private automobile is a comfortable and safe space, and perhaps feel that an assault could never take place within the confines. The rideshare company in question even goes as far as to claim that questionable incidents make up a mere .1% of all rides. Still, this does not change the actual number of women raped or sexually assaulted in their workplace by a rider they implicitly trusted with their safety.