Uber Brings Transparency With Release Of Sexual Assault Data

A year after promising to be more transparent about safety on their ridesharing app, Uber has released a report detailing the number of sexual assaults reported by both riders and drivers on their platform between 2017 and 2018. This is the first of its kind for the company.

Altogether, the study revealed that 3,045 sexual assaults took place during the year, 58 people died in car crashes, and nine people were murdered. Though alarming, the negative incidents account for just a small fraction of the 2.3 billion rides hailed from the app.

In the scope of the report, Uber says that while breaches of safety are “extremely rare,” one report of an incident is “unacceptable.” Knowing this they have pledged to continue working on bringing more security measures to the app and raising the bar on users’ experience.  

“The numbers are jarring and hard to digest,” Tony West, Uber’s chief legal officer, told The New York Times. “What it says is that Uber is a reflection of the society it serves.”   

Though the company is very clear on the fact that their report will likely make them a target for criticism, they contend that secrecy will not “make anyone safer.” They also argue that the reality of the report speaks to issues that go beyond just Uber.

Since joining the team as Senior Vice President, Chief Legal Officer, and Corporate Secretary at Uber, Tony West has taken his years of experience in government to bring a level of accountability to a platform that was struggling to change its image amidst allegations of sexual misconduct from its riders.

Photo credit: Uber

Last year, as reported by ESSENCE, West spearheaded an initiative in partnership with the National Sexual Violence Resource Center (NSVRC) aimed at properly identifying sexual misconduct and creating a level of transparency around sexual assault cases. 

The release of Uber’s report comes the same week of news that dozens of women are suing competitor Lyft for not doing more to prevent sexual assaults by their drivers.