NEW YORK CITY (WABC) -- A young woman's account of being attacked on a New York City subway is going viral, and now she's speaking out exclusively to Eyewitness News about the harrowing incident.
"I was looking down and the next thing I know, I heard a slap," 22-year-old victim Vesly Beato said. "I didn't even feel the slap. I heard it first."
That was last Friday afternoon.
"When I look up everybody is staring at me. I look at my cousin, she's crying," Beato said. "That's when it sunk in, this man just hit me."
Beato and her 15-year-old cousin were on the uptown 1 train heading home to Inwood. As it pulled into the West 66th Street subway station by Lincoln Center, a man slapped her hard in the face and then ran off
"Having to clean up my blood on the train was something we did not have on our agenda," Beato said.
Beato was wearing glasses which cut into the bridge of her nose. She hopes it does not leave a permanent scar.
The victim posted about her frightening incident on TikTok.
"I started crying, did I do anything to deserve this," Beato said on TikTok.
The video struck a chord with New Yorkers. More than 8,000 comments, many of them from women, described how they too have been pushed, slashed, punched and attacked.
So far this year, there have been 1,488 reported transit crimes. That's compared to 998 reported at this time last year. It's a jump of 490 incidents.
Now Beato joins the grim statistic.
"Being one of these numbers is shocking because I never thought it would happen to me," she said. "I feel like this changed me."
Beato, a life-long New Yorker who works in nonprofit, cannot afford to take taxis everywhere.
She will have to ride the subway again, and that's what worries her.
Will it be any safer the next time she gets onboard?