**WARNING: This story contains details of a sexual assault**
NORTH TEXAS (CBSDFW.COM) — It isn’t easy to talk about what happened.
And for a long time, Laci Hay says she didn’t.
“I was scared. I cried a lot. I stayed in bed,” Hay said.
She’s one of thousands of women who say they were assaulted while using Uber.
“People need to be very aware of what’s going on,” she said.
Her ride home from DFW airport in February was only her second time using a ride share app, and she even had to ask for help requesting and then finding her driver.
When he arrived, she says, he asked her to sit in front “for security reasons,” she recalled.
She didn’t have any objection to the request and complied.
Hay remembers getting in with her bags and asking to put her coffee cup in his center console.
“He said that was fine. I bent down to get all my stuff back together,” she said.
And that is how, she now believes, her driver drugged her.
“I started feeling really hot and flushed… and then I didn’t recognize where we were. And, he started groping me and touching me,” Hay said.
One of the few things she does remember is being in the back seat, though, she can’t piece together how she got back there.
Eventually, the driver let her out at a gas station.
“I went into the gas station, told the guy working in there if he could go out and get my things because I didn’t want to get back in the car,” she said.
Hay reached her husband, who picked her up and called police, where they took her report. However, Hay said even then she didn’t fully realize what had happened to her.
“It was a few days later. I found a piece of a condom… and that’s when I knew I had been assaulted,” she said.
Hay notified Uber, which she said, refunded her fare.
“To hear the police stand in my kitchen and tell me, ‘You’re lucky you’re walking away from this,’ and to have Uber say, ‘Here’s your $40 dollars. We’re sorry,’” she said was far from enough.
Hay supports Uber’s decision to study the problem of sexual assault.
Its recently released report found last year alone its passengers and drivers reported more than three thousands instances of sexual assault.
But, Hay feels the company’s effort to put that in context by emphasizing 99.9% of rides occur without incident minimizes the experience of victims.
“It’s life changing,” she said. “I’ve lost my freedom and for them to downplay that is hurtful.”
Uber said it has banned the driver involved in Hay’s assault.
“What’s been reported by the rider is concerning and the driver was immediately removed from the platform. We have been working with law enforcement on their investigation,” the company wrote in a statement.
Hay said she would like to see cameras required in all cars and more stringent background checks for drivers.