Please note. . .

Don't Be Silent DC has been inactive since March 2008 and has not been accepting entries since. If you are in the DC area and have a harassment story to share, please go to HollaBack DC. If you are outside the DC area and want to submit your story, go to Stop Street Harassment. Thank you.

As of 3/1/08, I will no longer be working on this blog. Please read this post for more details.

Friday, February 29, 2008

WORKSHOP: Get Ready for Spring: Dealing with Street Harassment

Lauren Taylor at Defend Yourself DC is hosting this event in March. Here are the details:

WORKSHOP: Get Ready for Spring: Dealing with Street Harassment

With flowers and showers, unfortunately, comes a huge increase in street harassment. Get ready for Spring by expanding your skills for dealing with the “hey babys” that may come your way.

Can you “ignore” street harassment? Of course you can. And you already know how to do that. This class will give you other options, making ignoring it only one in a range of skills to choose from, especially when ignoring it doesn’t seem safe.

The class will cover the self defense techniques — prevention and awareness, verbal self defense, and physical strikes — that you might need in dealing with street harassment. Most of these skills can also be transferred to other irritating or dangerous situations in the rest of life.

Who: For women and teen girls ages 16 and up

When: Saturday, March 29, 1-4 pm

Where: Potter’s House, Adams Morgan

Cost: $39 before March 15; $45 after March 16. Register with a friend or family member and get $5 off. Limited scholarships available for low-income people.

How: Contact or 301-608-3708 for details.

Thursday, February 28, 2008

The Fresh Princess of Bel-Air vs. Delusional Fan

From the files of 'when overzealous fans harass celebrities':

Tatyana Ali, who played Ashley on "Fresh Prince," gets accosted by a creepy fan who doesn't get the hint that she's not into him like that. He touches her, wraps his arm around her, calls her "schweetheart," "ma," and by her character's name. He says he wants to be her "bodyguard." Yuck. This guy is creepy and inappropriate, and from the video you can see Tatyana's very uncomfortable. Her friends (a few girls and a hipster-looking guy) are barely effective in keeping this guy at bay. I hope Tatyana got a bodyguard after this incident. I can't believe guys think it's okay to touch a woman they don't know (and fool, just because you saw her on TV doesn't mean you know her).

Wednesday, February 27, 2008

I will no longer accept responses to "Rowdy Kids. . ."

Any further responses to this incident will be deleted. It's one thing to give constructive criticism---it's another to attack someone for the sake of attacking. As aggravated as I am by the incident I've put it on the back burner. All of you should do so as well.

Monday, February 25, 2008

WJLA Looking For Volunteers For A Story About Street Harassment

WJLA is doing an upcoming story on the harassment women face in the District and its metro areas. If you deal with street harassment on a frequent basis and are interested in participating in this story, then e-mail B. Griffith at

Friday, February 22, 2008

A Tough Decision

These past few weeks on here have been tough. The reactions to "Rowdy Teens Attack on Morning Commute" have been mixed---mostly on the side of "What is wrong with you?" It got to the point when I wasn't even reading the responses anymore, I was blindly pressing "publish." Anywhere where it was linked it got polarizing reactions. (Someone can have a post linked on DC Blogs about a nice walk in the park but get no reactions, but anytime DBS is linked everyone has something to say.)

I spoke with family and friends, not just about this incident, but for DBS as a whole. It was a tough decision, but come March I'm no longer going to work on DBS. A lot of changes are going on in my real life, and that's more important for me to focus on more than anything. I wondered why the original HollaBack DC became defunct, and now I realize why. Taking on this kind of responsibility is far from easy.

A lot of people thought that just because I did this blog I was an "expert" on handling street harassment. Not once on here did I ever consider myself an expert on anything. Many times I said I didn't know the answer and was willing to learn. Many times my reactions to things in the real world have been missteps. If you want real experts on handling street harassment, talk to Lauren Taylor or Martha Langelan. They're the ones coming up with effective ways on handling DC's street harassment problem.

I realize that quitting will have polarizing effects as well: the supporters will be shocked and beg me not to quit, and the naysayers will either think "Good riddance!" or be mad that they'll have one less person to heckle. Eventually, this will pass and everyone will move on. As I told my loved ones, "I am not Atlas and am tired of feeling like I have the burden of the world on my shoulders." I am burned out from trying to tackle all these problems, frustrated from dealing with Internet hecklers (the loudest ones online are the quietest in the real world I always say) and I feel that some of the concerned were right: I am too focused on this, and I need to worry more about my life outside of it.

Just because this blog will come to an end, it doesn't mean you won't have a place to voice your views on street harassment. As long as you have a voice in the world, you can use it (via writing, your own blog, etc.) to put it out there on your own. You don't need to be silent.

I'm going to step back into the background. Like someone told me, there are quieter and less dangerous ways of trying to change the world, and that's what I want to do.

It's been an interesting year running this blog. To those who submitted stories---stay strong and be safe. And to those who have supported me through thick and thin---you have my gratitude.

Signing off.

Saturday, February 16, 2008


There have been too many negative stories on here lately, and I want to focus on the positive.

Something happened with the men on the streets in DC today. Sure, I still got "hey, baby" and "hey, sexy" and men getting too close, but the majority of the men out today said "Good morning" or "Hello, miss" and "Have a nice day." I was impressed! Kudos!

And there were some things said to me that were silly beyond belief. While I was in Petworth today, a man near Flip It Bakery said, "Girl, you are the most positive thing that happened to me today!" I did respond with "The only person I am a positive thing to happen to is myself," but I had to chuckle because it was so cheesy!

And back in my neck of the woods, someone yelled from their car across the street: "GIRL, YOU BE ROCKIN' DEM LOCKS!" which caused me to giggle. The guy said "Whatever!" and drove off. Something about today just had a more positive air to it.

There were a few negative encounters though. I saw a mob of girls at Brookland Station that looked like trouble. One of them looked like the girl who tried to get into it with me the other day, so I maintained my distance. I want to move on and learn from past mistakes. They were screaming, cursing, and "droppin' it like it's hot." When I see young girls shaking and popping their butts like that, I shake my head in disbelief. When did girls stop being girls and become so damn fast-acting?

At the platform, two more bad-acting girls looked me up and down and made snide comments about me. "I'mma tell her she wear ugly boots," one gestured towards me. You know what? Let them think my boots are ugly---I don't care. The truly ugly thing is that those girls wanted to be randomly hateful towards a stranger. (And shoot, I get compliments on those boots all the time! Please!) But I didn't respond. Nothing to get into a fight over.

What did worry me is something that was about to get ugly on the train. Between Rhode Island Avenue and New York Avenue stations, two men got into a fight out of nowhere. One was a conservatively-dressed Black man, the other a Rastafarian style one.

Conservative: "I know you better stop looking at me like that."
Rastafarian: "What are you talking about?"
Conservative: "Look at me again like that and I'll beat yo' ass!"
Rastafarian: "I ain't scared of yo' bitch-ass!"

There was "bitch-ass" this and "n***a" that and it was bad. I was contemplating how I could step in---but without putting myself on the line like I did before. Once again to my surprise, fast-acting commuters stepped in.

An older gentleman said, "Brothers, please. There are children [he gestures to teens sitting nearby on the train] here. It's a nice day out and the world is a too crazy place. Please respect all that want to ride and take it outside."

It wouldn't stop. I was getting off at New York Avenue and was going to go to an intercom before I exited. But a woman beat me to it:

"There are two men fighting on this train and you need to do something about it," she said in it.

I don't know the outcome, but I hope Metro Police stepped in. And with all the drama going on this past week, it was good to see flips: People who do care about doing the right thing, and the teens being the most quiet and well-behaved (the ones on the train during the altercation). Kudos to the good citizens of DC.

Friday, February 15, 2008

"Is there really nothing that could have helped?"

Lynn sent this message:

This is a great idea for a blog. I was looking for a place to vent and get support from people who went through similar problems, but it doesn't seem like there's a lot of other places to go. Please let me know about other places to look, if you know of any.

I got the sense when I filed a police report that they don't worry about small things like attempted robbery or attempted assault. I'd be fine with that as long as there was someplace else to deal with these issues, like a neighborhood watch or local community organization. I think you're just asking for more trouble if you don't crack down on the small stuff.

Last Tuesday (Super Tuesday) I was walking alone back to my car parked by 2nd and I (EYE) St, NW DC around 6:50pm, when 3 teenage black girls asked me for money and attacked me. It didn't seem unusual at first to be harassed by a group of young black girls, which this blog made me realize is kind of sad. They weren't violent at first, they seemed like they were just average 12 or 13 year olds who don't get enough attention and were trying to have some fun. If anyone knows how to deal with teenagers, please let me know. Even if you are seriously trying to help them, they want to take advantage of you without any regrets. I tried to just be respectful, and hope that they would realize it wasn't that fun to harass someone. They decided to punch me as hard and as often as they could in my head. They aren't strong, so I wasn't hurt much at all, but they were very persistent and I had to be saved by a car passing by and stopping.

No one was hurt and nothing was stolen, but I really think the girls would do this again to someone else.

Would beating them up have taught them a lesson or would they just carry a weapon the next time?

If I had gone ahead and maced the girls without even talking to them, does that make me look like the criminal? Usually I think I should at least try to talk to a person to figure out what's wrong.

The girls could have been much worse, they could have pushed me into moving traffic, or stolen my car. They sounded like they didn't want me to get hurt. But I definitely think giving them any money would have just led to more problems-not that I had that much money anyway.

Is there really nothing that could have helped?

Thanks for your story, Lynn. I hope these girls were caught and I hope one day they learn a lesson. To answer your question, I don't know the answer to handling the surge of troubled youth in DC. I don't.

And to take a quote from your message:

"It didn't seem unusual at first to be harassed by a group of young black girls, which this blog made me realize is kind of sad."

It is. I'm a Black woman, and when posting my write-up on dealing with rowdy kids, I cringed when I posted their race in my description. I hate that people equate being Black with being violent, compassionless and directionless. I see this behavior too frequently in Black youth. It's probably the reason why I take the bad behavior so personally. Contrary to what the naysayers ("Ignore it!" "It's not your problem!") say, it's not easy to disregard when people the same color as me are doing this. In a world where the negative stereotypes rise above the positives, I want what's best for the people of my race. And you're damn right that I will get angry and frustrated. Do these kids not realize what they're doing? Acting like a bunch of mindless buffoons because lord forbid anyone accuses them of "acting white."

I don't have the answer as to how to handle teenagers. DC is not an episode of Maury where D. West comes out on stage on a rampage screaming in the faces of bad teens. No one can rally all the bad teens of DC to spend a night in the roughest prisons or in a morgue. We can't corral them all off to boot camp, then expect them to come home the next day saying "I'm sorry, Ma! I'll be good!" Change is a constant, it doesn't happen overnight.

If anyone has the panacea to handling these kids, let me know. Because I just don't know what to do.