Uber is a successful brand earning billions in revenue. Drivers working with this brand transport several passengers annually in 50 states across the U.S. No Uber driver is an employee of the company. Instead, they work as independent contractors. However, in the past few years, Uber has been witnessing a steady rise in complaints, civil lawsuits, and public scrutiny regarding Uber drivers sexually assaulting their passengers.
The incidents that have been cited so far typically follow a predictable pattern, where the driver assaults a vulnerable passenger who books the ride. Rather than taking them to their set destination, the driver takes them to a secluded place where they sexually assault them inside the car.
Based on the company’s security and incident reporting information, Uber, on average, receives 3,000 to 7,000 reports on passengers who have been sexually assaulted annually. Most of these complaints comprise non-consensual sexual touching. Shockingly, a very small share of incidents speak of extreme allegations, such as rape.
Such incidents cause emotional trauma and disrupt their mental well-being. There is also physical harm done through these acts. It leads to mental health issues like acute anxiety, PTSD, and even fear psychosis.
In this article, we will delve into how incidents of Uber sexual assault can affect a person’s mental health. We will also focus on the legal help that these victims can opt-in for seeking the justice and compensation they deserve.
Bronwyn Mouton Assaulted by an Uber Driver
In December 2023, AboutLawsuits.com shared the account of Bronwyn Mouton, who was molested by her Uber driver. In her Uber sexual assault lawsuit, she alleged that the company could have taken necessary steps to prevent such incidents from happening by giving more attention to women’s safety.
The lawsuit stated that Mouton was speaking with the Uber driver while she was getting a ride home, and the driver suggested that she come to the front seat to carry on the conversation. The moment the car reached Mouton’s locality; she found the driver forcing himself on her while asking her uncomfortable, personal questions.
According to her lawsuit, the driver raped her in the car. After this incident, Mouton reported to the police and Uber. She is one of the many girls and women across the nation who are survivors of Uber sexual assault.
Several lawsuits filed at the federal court raise similar allegations stating that Uber failed to protect their women passengers. They reinstate the importance of background checks that Uber needs to do to ensure that they have safe and responsible drivers who wouldn’t pose any harm to women passengers.
The flurry of incidents also suggested that there is a need for women to be more cautious while they are on an Uber ride and not trust a driver blindly if he asks them to come to the front seat or talks to them amicably. And no matter how painful it is for a woman to recall the entire incident; it is necessary for them to file a lawsuit if they have encountered a similar incident.
TorHoerman Law states that working with an expert lawyer is the best solution, as the victim would be traumatized to make sound decisions. The lawyer will examine the case, understand how the victim was affected, consider all the necessary evidence, and build a case that will ensure that the verdict is in the victim’s favor. This way, the lawyer can help victims get both justice and fair compensation.
The Emotional Suffering
Taking legal help ensures that a woman gets acknowledged by the law that what she has undergone is wrong and action is being taken against it. Many women aren’t able to go to work because of the trauma that results from an assault and that creates financial stress. The monetary compensation that they get by pursuing a lawsuit helps to address such damages. But even though compensation is available, the emotional and mental suffering is insurmountable. The obvious mental health issues include:
Fear and Anxiety
A sexual assault translates to a forceful violation of one’s physical and emotional space by another entity. It leaves most women feeling like the world isn’t a safe space for them. Apart from fearing to book another Uber ride, women would develop a sense of acute fear and anxiety for their lives. They would question every decision they make and will have anxiety as an auto-response which can deplete them of their energy for life and their goals.
Women tend to develop depression after a sexual assault. They get surrounded by feelings of hopelessness, never-ending sadness, sudden weight loss or gain, crying for no reason, and not having any energy to do anything in life. It can develop suddenly or gradually and will start to affect one’s daily life, which includes work productivity and the ability to socialize.
Women undergo layers of inexplicable emotional turmoil after sexual abuse. They feel that their private space has been encroached upon. As a result, they feel that they aren’t strong enough to deal with the world and its people, and because of this, they separate themselves and suffer from isolation.
One can detect the signs gradually when they lock themselves in the room or don’t speak to friends or family members. It leads to unhealthy thought patterns and makes them have suicidal tendencies which can ruin their peace and quality of life.
Family members must notice these changes and ensure that they put them on therapy so that they start to heal from within gradually. Living like a victim will only make them lose out on a good life that is possible despite the abuse they have endured.
Finally, women must exercise caution and judgment when they are booking an Uber ride. On the other hand, it is also necessary for Uber to ensure that they employ responsible people from decent backgrounds as drivers so that no passenger’s safety is under threat. If any woman has faced physical assault from their Uber driver, they need to get in touch with a lawyer and take the necessary action.