Wednesday, May 05, 2004


The Broadway T stop isn’t striking in art or architecture and only notable geographically because it’s the gateway to South Boston -- area Irish flock to it annually to provide a harbinger of spring: slightly skanky girls underdressed for persistent cold in honor of St. Patrick’s Day. Figuring illicit beer will keep them warm.

Behind an anonymous side door in the unremarkable station, though, a hint of horror: On the dark far wall of an access tunnel, an unprettified, ill-lit area of dank concrete, someone has painted in rough white: “YOU’VE BEEN RAPED.”

The ramp’s ugliness is mildly disturbing, revealing the white-tiled walls and efficient escalators as a facade. But the painted message is oddly powerful, and I would not want to walk into darkness to be confronted by it. The rape could be metaphorical, certainly, even a union complaint, but its anger is obvious.

These reminders keep popping up. The “Stop rape” spray painted on Porter Square construction, now poorly painted over, or the “Rape happens at Harvard” button on a purse seen whisked into the crowd at the Harvard Square T stop. Jarring, briskly tragic hints. Fury imposed on functionality, behind a facade.

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