A New York City subway platform was the site of sudden and unprovoked transphobic violence.
The victim, a journalist and trans woman, shared a video just moments after the attack.
The post is a raw illustration of how rattling a hate-filled moment is for the marginalized.
"I swear I wish people would just leave me alone. I don't do anything. I just want to be left alone."
These are the words that Serena Daniari managed to force through tears after she was outnumbered, spat on and slapped in the face by a couple around 8pm on a Friday evening.
I was just attacked by a couple on the train. They spit on me and hit me and called me transphobic slurs. https://t.co/YgPDZncIpo— Serena Daniari (@Serena Daniari)1579920472.0
The incident occurred while 26-year-old Daniari waited for the next southbound C train on the platform at 155th street station.
Daniari reported to The NY Post that she was wearing headphones and reading a book just before the violence occurred.
She walked The Post through the lead up to the attack and its sudden eruption. First, she said, a man in his 20's approached and spoke to her, unheard the first time through Daniari's headphones.
"I took my headphones out, I asked him to repeat himself… and upon hearing my voice he realized I was transgender."
"He started saying, 'Oh you're a guy. You're a guy. You're a tranny,'"
It was then, Daniari said, that the man, who has since been apprehended by authorities, slapped her face and spat on her.
She told Buzzfeed News that her transgender identity was the obvious, direct cause of the violence.
"It only escalated to an aggressive situation after he realized I'm transgender."
After being struck, Daniari used her phone to snap a photo of the man as well as a woman that accompanied him.
That woman, also in her 20's, then slapped Daniari's phone out of her hand and heaped on more derogatory speech..
Daniari remembered the offending woman's slur clearly:
"She was saying, 'she definitely has a d–k, she definitely has a d–k'."
Police have since released Daniari's photo of the suspects.
This quick action, despite being so shaken up, ultimately allowed police to take the man into custody.
He was apprehended in New Jersey two days after the incident, on a Sunday afternoon.
The woman accompanying him is still on the loose.
Great job by Manhattan Warrants apprehending this suspect in NJ. Thank you to everyone who called in with informati… https://t.co/yRo19O9psT— Chief Rodney Harrison (@Chief Rodney Harrison)1580137561.0
Daniari's original, shaken post was shared over 11,000 times, with countless expressions of support and commiseration sent her way.
@serenajazmine Enough is enough. How dare anyone put their hands on someone unprovoked. I don’t care about your opi… https://t.co/EgzjGmTGCb— TamekaDakhil (@TamekaDakhil)1580077237.0
@serenajazmine @48Sezza So sorry. People can be cruel. Know that there are more people in this country that respect… https://t.co/LMTrY2ynwk— Gail Dow (@Gail Dow)1579977967.0
@serenajazmine Hang in there, doll. We’ve got you. I’m sorry this happened to you. Thank you for being brave enough… https://t.co/D5yc5ySUfO— Kathy Griffin (@Kathy Griffin)1580024257.0
@serenajazmine I’m so very sorry for the hatred that was aimed at you. It had nothing to do with you. It had to… https://t.co/F4m4EOZmxC— ProfHelen (@ProfHelen)1580061536.0
@serenajazmine Despicable cruelty. I am so sorry this happened to you.— Jane Caro (@Jane Caro)1579994457.0
Some used Daniari's post as an opportunity to show support with pragmatic advice.
@serenajazmine I'm sorry that vile people attacked you. Bystanders- be aware to stand/sit next to the victims. Ign… https://t.co/bZ8lVy4GPs— Joan R. Buckley 🆘️ M🍑🍄 (@Joan R. Buckley 🆘️ M🍑🍄)1580002593.0
NYPD's Transit division even replied, encouraging Daniari of plans to investigate.
@serenajazmine Ms Daniari, can you please DM us with any additional details of this incident so we can investigate?— NYPD Transit (@NYPD Transit)1579921347.0
This vocal support was not so evident in the moment of the attack.
Daniari went on to tell Buzzfeed News how alone she felt.
"Nobody said anything. As New Yorkers, as Americans, as human beings, we should really have each others' backs."
New York City Mayor, Bill de Blasio decried the attack shortly after Daniari's post caught some steam on Twitter.
In addition to imploring New Yorkers to provide any information possible, de Blasio made a general statement about the city's intolerance for such attacks.
.@NYPDHateCrimes is investigating this loathsome, transphobic attack. If you have ANY information please contact th… https://t.co/1sbgTQBvsZ— Mayor Bill de Blasio (@Mayor Bill de Blasio)1580000926.0
Daniari also asked other local leaders to respond as well.
.@RepEspaillat I’m a trans journalist and you are my representative. I was assaulted last night in the subway stati… https://t.co/bD0tliRsDe— Serena Daniari (@Serena Daniari)1579966503.0
The representative Daniari called on in the tweet, Adriano Espaillat, did respond with a tweet.
No word whether a sit down with Daniari has been organized.
I call on the @MTA @NYCTSubway to conduct a full and thorough investigation into the attack against @serenajazmine.… https://t.co/seyQnGt62O— Adriano Espaillat (@Adriano Espaillat)1579972205.0
Although one suspect has been caught, Daniari's focus concerns the ongoing threat of transphobic violence, that she fears will continue countless times after this incident is investigated.
"For me as a trans person, it's like you're always walking around knowing something could happen."
"You're always vigilant, and it's a scary way to live."