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.

Wednesday, December 26, 2007

Not in my library!

Something worse than street harassment happened before my eyes.

Just my luck. The Internet connection at my house is out of service for the next few days and the landlords aren't around to fix it (gotta love the holidays) so I have to lug my heavy laptop out. The wireless hotspots in my neighborhood are also closed for the holidays, so I took my laptop to the Petworth Library. I wish I could be home in my pajamas right now, but what can I do.

From where I'm sitting I can see what's going on. None of these people are using their computers for anything conductive (MySpace, rap videos, etc.), but I don't care about that. I'm trying to catch up with my massive emails, and all of a sudden, in full screen, I see oral sex happening on this middle-aged coot's computer. Ugh! Man, if you're going to look at porn, why do it in a public library where children are around? Keep that nastiness at home!

I get up to report it. This young guy at one desk tells me "talk to her," pointing at the head librarian. She's busy with another customer. So by the time the head librarian is somewhat free, the guy escapes, no one noticed him leave:

"He was the guy who just walked by two seconds ago," I said.
"Did he have sunglasses on?" the librarian asked.
"No," I said, somewhat annoyed. How could they not notice this fool walk by?!

I'm trying to get my head back together so I can continue my online errands (because I refuse to lug this laptop out of the house again---just have to deal with being Internet-free for the next few days), but seeing that nastiness in front of my eyes, and the indifferent reactions I got when reporting it makes me shake my head at people. I just don't get it.

Saturday, December 22, 2007

DBS Shorts 12/22/07

2007 is coming to an end and I really don't have much to say lately because street harassment hasn't been happening to me much - and it's much appreciated. I could attribute it to the fact that I've been taking the bus home lately as opposed to walking home from the train station. While a lot of the passengers of said bus are loud, tacky, obnoxious, drunk and crazy, it's easier to deal with than walking past the "Loitering Losers" on a dark night.


I only had a half day of work Tuesday, so I used the remainder of the day to run errands. I carted bags of old clothes to the yellow donation box not too far from my house, and proceeded to dump them in it. I kept hearing "Excuse me, ma'am!" It was an appropriate gesture and it was still daylight out, but...

This fool was yelling this at me from the liquor store across the street! These men never want anything important enough for me to respond to, so I acted like he didn't exist as I continued to throw the bags into the donation bin. He never stopped screaming "Ma'am...MA'AM!!!!!" at me. I don't know where I got the resolve from to ignore him the whole time. One would think if I hadn't responded the first or second time he'd get the hint and leave me alone, but he kept at it. No common sense. I'm surprised I didn't get called "stuck-up bitch!" like I normally do when dealing with that.

It reminds me of when I was back in my hometown. I went to see a movie with my mother, and saw a woman in the lobby with the prettiest earrings on and I wanted to let her know that. "Excuse me, ma'am," I said as she came near us. She didn't respond or look in our direction.

"Maybe she didn't hear you," my mother said.
I said "Excuse me" again and was once again ignored. Yes, I was justifiably hurt, but I didn't start yelling "Fuck you, bitch!" like the men on the street do. When I ignore those men I wonder if I'm no better than that woman in the movie theater lobby from years back. But then I realize that these men most of the time are a physical threat and I need to keep cautious. Maybe the woman in the lobby was afraid of me and my mother because we're Black and she had unnecessary prejudices. . .I don't know. I just can't worry about the past and compare my actions to others, and must worry about myself.


I was out late Wednesday in Georgetown, and the punks were out in full force. This group of college students (I assume) was making fun of people on the streets, bouncing around, and acting like idiots. They started laughing at me because (drumroll please!) I was wearing red shoes and had a matching red bag. You can't take fools who spout out "n***a!" "fuck!" and "p***y!" seriously. They blocked the streets and I couldn't get around them to get to the bus stop because they thought they were so damned important. Remembering what happened to me when I tried to get around a bunch of sidewalk-blocking fools before, I decided to not respond. Let them act like assholes. The ringleader of the group, a funky-looking girl with a cheap curly weave, stood right in the middle of the sidewalk and copped attitude when people bumped into her. Maybe if she didn't stand right in the middle of the sidewalk no one would bump into her. I made it home in one piece thank god, but next time I'm out late in Georgetown, I'll spend that extra dough and take a cab home (though it'll cost me an arm and a leg).


Speaking of riding the aforementioned crazy bus home, yesterday was a trip. The chick in front of me was talking loudly into her phone about wiring someone money, the women across the aisle were laughing obnoxiously about stuff that wasn't funny, and one fool boarded the bus and squashed his too tall butt next to me. He kept leaning over me to look out the window (especially when we passed police cars and sirens), and while I was listening to old school stuff on my headphones (loud as possible to tune out the crazies) he started singing the "Baby, baby, baby, baby, baby, baby" part to me from this K-Ci and JoJo song, "All My Life."

"Aw, hell no!" I said, and he left me alone. Unfortunately, he found another target, a teenage girl. Call me a coward, but I get tired of putting myself on the line for people who don't appreciate it. I'm tired of being insulted for being a good Samaritan. This fool was in his early 30s, and this girl didn't seem to mind his attention.

"You in high school?" he asked her.
"Yee-eh," she said, in that drawl the kids here have.
She then goes on to talk about her school's football team. Too much information and this fool didn't need to be talking to her. But the scenario with me is that:

1. I'll say "Leave that girl alone!"
2. I get called a "bitch" by the offender
3. Person I'm trying to help says "I'm grown...I don't care! Mind your business!"

And I just didn't need that. He found someone else to talk with (thank god!) and I continued to listen to my headphones. Had it escalated (him saying inappropriate stuff, her saying "Leave me alone!") then I would've gladly jumped in and intervened. I can never sit idly by when someone's in true danger.


Today I got up and got dressed to pick up my boots from shoe repair and grab a spicy hot cocoa from the local café. I wore my headphones to tune out the fools on the street. The boots (albeit promised today) were not ready and the café was closed early. The "Liquoring Losers" (ones who hang out in front of liquor stores) were out in full force and yelling.

"Say that to me again, motherfucker!" one of them yelled. It was complete with chest thumps and everything.

I was so certain they were going to say something to me, but all that yelling was at each other. Much better them than me...thank god, hallelujah! So I was sans boots and hot cocoa, but made it back harassment-free. Man I love those days.


As I said, not much street harassment's happened to me lately, and I don't think I'm that same person who'd curse someone out in a heartbeat who tried to bother me on the streets. Is it because I want to take different tacts to handling idiots on the streets, or simply because I'm tired and don't have the energy to deal with it anymore? I honestly don't know.

What I do know is that Christmas and New Year's are coming up, so please stay safe and strong during this holiday season. See you all in 2008.

Tuesday, December 11, 2007

DBS Shorts

For the most part, I haven't had any major harassment issues since the blow-ups I documented in "Intraracial Tension." Not to say that it hasn't been going on...

Since I depend on public transportation, I have to deal with the freaks, wackos, and idiots that ride it. I took a bus home from Friendship Heights a couple of Fridays ago, and the most nasty, foul, vulgar and unkempt men were on it. One of them had dreads so nasty that they looked more like "Matlocks" than dreadlocks. For the most part I tuned them out with my headphones and stared out a window. I was fine until one of them started gesturing to me and saying "That's your girlfriend over there, lookin' out the window!" As soon as the bus had a mass exodus at a Metro station, I moved to the front as far away from these men.


This past Thursday all I wanted to do was wait for my bus to take me to tae kwon do and be left alone. I got approached by a dork who thought I looked like Alicia Keys ("I look like myself," I responded in annoyance), a canvasser, and a foreign student who wanted to know if she was at the right bus stop. None of this was street harassment, but the following was. As glad as I am to not be the recipient of harassment, I can't stand watching it go on. A young woman with long hair and skinny jeans walked by; her daughter in a school uniform in tow. This bum started ogling her.

"Mm-hmm, that's what I'm talking about!" he said. "You a diamond in the rough, God's gift to man! Mm-hmm!"

The woman was long gone (I could see her inside the store behind the bus stop neglecting her daughter while shopping, but I digress) but I had to speak.

"That's nasty," I said. "Ogling that woman like she's a piece of meat. Show some class."
"You a hater," the man responded.
"And you're ghetto and low-class," I said. "Have a nice holiday."
He walked down the street mumbling crap, but I maintained my composure. Since the big blow-ups two Thursdays ago, I've been keeping my cool much better.

The bus finally came, thank god.


This past Friday I was waiting for my bus home from Farragut Square. I hadn't eaten since lunch so I grabbed food from McDonald's and snacked on the fries as I waited. A Circulator pulled up to the stop and people get off, but the door stays open longer. I thought someone was rushing to catch it, but no one was around.

The doors close and I thought it was going to drive off, but the doors open again. The bus driver was checking me out...ugh!

"Girl, gimme some of those fries," he says, ogling me. A wave of disgust came over me, but I once again kept my cool.
"Stop harassing me," I said. "Your behavior is tacky and unprofessional."
He smirked at me grossly and finally drove off.
As soon as I got home I sent a complaint report on him via WMATA. Months ago I had an incident with bus drivers catcalling me while hanging out at the Metro station. I reported it, but got the runaround (the one guy's name which I got---first initial and last name from his name badge---was too common to track down) and the complaint ended up being dropped on their part. Since I got the number of the bus he was driving will they take it seriously this time? We'll see. I don't want this man to be fired from his job---of course not---I just want him to know that you don't go catcalling women, especially not on duty.

For a moment I worried if I ever saw him on a Circulator in the future, since I do use those. But then I thought I'll maintain my ground and composure. I'm not going to let that worry me.


More bus weirdos. Earlier today there was this creepy drunken fool trying to talk to me and a teenaged girl on the bus. The girl, a boy of about ten and I played musical chairs to get away from him. He kept mumbling nonsense and saying "Baby girl!" Even though it was a five-minute ride to the train station, it felt longer because of that whackjob. I am glad the kids were smart enough to move away from him as well.


Lastly, I have not had a run-in with the "Loitering Losers" in almost two weeks this Thursday. I've been thankful to be able to catch a bus home so I don't have to walk past them. In the rare moments when the bus ends up not coming, I ended up taking a detour. I always talk about how I'm not going to let harassing men change my agenda, but I'd rather be safe than sorry.

All in all, I'm grateful to still be around, and not let these men steal my glory.

Tuesday, December 4, 2007

Too Close to Home

Blogger Thinking Girl did a write-up back in September about a guy who would not leave her alone on the streets, to the point of where she goes into a pizza place to avoid having the guy find out where she lived, and how the situation was handled from there. The responses are interesting.

An excellent post came a month after, Holding Your Hand Is Not My Fucking Job.

Check both out.

Monday, December 3, 2007

Women Harassed By Police

Two female employees were trying to lock up the Kennedy Rec Center for the night, and police held them at gunpoint and treated it like a joke. (Video included.)

And people wonder why I don't feel safe with our police force...

It's All About Respect

Greg had sent me this message:

I ran into your blog from your post on [a community list serv]. First I would like to empathize with you, even though I am a male I am well aware of harassment in DC. My wife regularly walks to and from the Metro station everyday and regularly comes home upset by some disrespectful comments.

Now my point. I lived in Egypt for a while and had a number of Western female friends who were being harassed constantly by the same guys on their daily commute. They mostly ignored them but were definitely bothered by this.

One day as I was walking her home she showed me one of the harassers. We crossed the street and I engaged the guy very nicely asking him why he was harassing my friend. He couldn’t really make an answer but we chatted a bit then left. After that the guy would respectfully wave at her and she would acknowledge his presence by nodding or waving back.

If the situation is obviously very different with harassment in DC because of the twisted relations between foreigners and locals in Egypt, the underlying dynamics in my opinion still apply even though it may be harder to implement in DC: People don’t harass people they know.

By talking going to talk to the harasser she ceased to be a sexual object and became a human being. If this is of course impossible to achieve with random harasser on a commuting route it may be achievable to some extent with some repeat offenders.

Just my two cents.

In my frequent run-ins with the "Loitering Losers," I think we're far past my approaching them respectfully. Many times I've told them "that's not cool, that's not polite, call me 'Miss' or 'Ma'am'" etc., etc., and it goes in one ear and out the other. But in future situations with different groups of LL's, it's something to try.

When I've been antagonized so many times by the same group of people, it's hard to approach them respectfully. You just want to yell at them and curse them out. But like always, I'm open to different approaches. If anyone has the courage to test this tactic out, please e-mail me and let me know how it works. Thanks Greg for your submission.

Saturday, December 1, 2007

Answers to Harassment FAQ

In a discussion via e-mail about dealing with the "Loitering Losers," Kelly sent me her tactics on handling the harassment FAQ (she has given me permission to post the following):

I have set responses for FAQs. My answer to "Can I ask you a question?" is "No." My answer to "Have I seen you before?" is "I'm sure you have." Very deadpan. When I get asked on a date, I hold up my left hand, point to my wedding ring, and say "sorry, 18 years." Or I say "no," and it might take four or five of those no's to stop. When I get complimented in a disrespectful way on my waist-length hair, I say "Thank you" as if it were a sincere compliment.

I'll admit that it seems hard to "respond in kind" to the LL's, but it is a tactic I'm willing to try in the future. Anything's better than yelling and cursing and getting riled up. Thank you for the idea!

First Meeting Today---a success!

Our first DBS meeting was held today, and I am grateful for the outcome. Three members came, and we met together and discussed issues and ways to get the ball rolling in taking action offline and in the flesh when it comes to street harassment. This information will be available to the Yahoo! Group members within the next few days. (We love for more people to get involved, so please join!)

The meeting made me feel much better. With the brutality of the harassment I faced Thursday (in the previous post, "Intraracial Tension," something I struggled long and hard about whether or not to post it) and other personal stress I'd been dealing with, I'd been feeling sad and hurt and lost my joie de vivre for a moment. But when positive things happen and you realize that there are others that feel angry about the way things are going on in DC, hope returns.

Once again, I'm proud of the ideas thrown out there from this first group meeting, and am looking forward to seeing more faces get involved in the future.

Intraracial Tension

I was originally going to publish this Thursday (the day of the incidents), but I typed it, deleted it, typed it, deleted it---but now I have the courage to put it out there.

Forgive me for going beyond the scope of street harassment today. I have typed and deleted the following quite a few times. I have wanted to be politically correct about it, but for once, I cannot. Everyone expects me to always do the right thing and to be infallible. They ask me questions about harassment and I tell them that I'm no expert and am in the same boat as they are. I am not perfect, I don't always make the right decisions. I may lose readers and supporters, but I must get my feelings off my chest. So here goes:

As a Black female, I am angry, hurt, disgusted, and frustrated with the way I've been treated by Black men in the District. As many decent Black men as there are, they get overshadowed by the ones who act like harassing assholes. The vitriol is simply disgusting. I deal with nonsense from harassers of all races, but I feel Black men aim for the jugular with me because we're the same race. I feel as if I'm hated by the men of my own race, simply for demanding them to treat me with respect.

I had a long, rough day at work today. I left feeling worn out and burned out, and was going to get some takeout from this Chinese restaurant in Dupont I've been going to lately to uplift my mood. I'm a fast walker, and when I catch up to people on the street I need to get around them so I can keep on going. I was attempting to get around a group of five guys, but this one guy would not stop walking on a diagonal and into my path.

"Hey!" I said. "Behind you!"
The guy turns around and try as I might to get around him we collide.
"Why didn't you walk to the side to get around?" he said, copping attitude with me.
"I was trying to!" I snapped back. Hard to do so when you're taking up a chunk of the path by walking on a diagonal.
"Why you gettin' like that?" he said.

I wanted to get away from these men, but they started clowning on me and thought the whole ordeal was funny.
"She mad 'cuz she alone! She wouldn't be so mad if she had a man!" the one yelled. Laughter ensued. "If I had a beard I'd shave it off and give it to you so you can have some real hair!" (???)
"You're a bunch of no-class, no manner-having, tacky, ghetto, ignorant Negroes!" I yelled. It'd been said and can't be undone.

In turn I was called a "self-hater."

"Why you got dreads?" the one who collided with me said.
"I know where I came from and don't need to act like a tacky Negro," I said.
"You may hate Black people but we love you!" they started saying in a taunting, sing-songy tone.
"I can't stand you...leave me alone!"
"You're sexy, we still love you, you're sexy..."

The one who collided into me kept yelling things at me. They kept walking towards me. I wanted to hit him so badly, but I had to restrain myself. My safety is jeopardized already, I cannot make it worse, and I'm not trying to go to jail for these sorry people.
"Why you keep comin' up on me?" he said.
"Keep on walking!" I yelled. "Go away! If you don't go away I'll call the police."

The one guy in the group who looked like a bum kept trying to approach me. I kept backing up.

"Sorry, my friend ain't mean nothin' by it," he said. I didn't believe him because they were all still laughing and giving me shit.
"Go away or I will call the police," I said.

These men kept walking, but they stayed in the vicinity. The one I collided with had the nerve to get indignant after all that was said and done. Because they weren't going anywhere, I turned back and took a different path to get to the restaurant, looking over my shoulder to make sure they weren't following me.

I got my food and was on a train home. I didn't want to have anymore run-ins. I normally take my headphones off after getting off the train in the evening, but I was tense and music was the only thing to calm me. I did keep the volume low enough so I could hear the street noise and was on guard.

I thought it was going to be a safe walk home, until I got close to where the "Loitering Losers" usually hang out. There were about 10 men hanging out in front of a liquor store across the street, and three on my side. Shit, I'm outnumbered.

A man coming near me tried to go "Hey, girl, whaddup?" and I tried to use the fact that I was wearing headphones to ignore him.
"Why you ain't talkin? Oh, you listenin' to headphones!"


The Thompson Twins song I was listening to couldn't tune out the sounds of ten screaming drunk-ass men.

"Shut the hell up and leave me alone! Do something with your sorry asses!"

"SHORTAAAAAAAAAAAAAY!" turned into "Fuck yourself, ugly bitch. You ain't shit anyway."

I snapped. "You sorry-ass, no-good, ain't doin' shit with yourselves drunk-ass losers! You are the sorriest people! Nothin' going on with your lives except standing on a street corner getting drunk and yelling like idiots! You're tacky, uneducated, not going to be anything except passed out dead on the street because you're getting drunk!"

They thought this was funny. Steam was rising through my ears. And in all this I noticed a little kid out there with them and a female. Those punks were teaching him how to disrespect women, and this chick standing there with them apparently has no respect for herself either. I'm sure if clowns were heckling her she'd get loud like I did too. But seeing that little boy---dear. I hate cursing around kids. I should've been upright so he'd have some positive example to see, but the damage had been done.

The men on my side of the street were just as bad. Laughing at the whole ordeal then having the nerve to try to talk to me. I didn't want to be bothered.

"Don't talk to me either!" I said. "I am tired of you sorry-ass people!"
"Girl, we ain't mean nothin' by it," one of them, with gold teeth in his mouth, said. "We always tryin' to talk to you when you walk by---"
"I don't want to talk to you! I don't want to get to know you! I am not trying to talk to you when I walk by...I'm trying to get home!"

The light finally changed and I walked swiftly to cross the street. These men were still trying to talk to me.

"Talk to someone who cares because I'm not trying to listen anymore!" I said.
"Have a nice day, sistah!"
"Go to the library and take out some books and educate yourselves," I yelled. "Leave women alone."

I barely made it home in one piece. My legs were like Jello and I nearly collapsed when I got inside. I felt lightheaded and nauseous. I lost my appetite for the Chinese food I'd been craving all day.

Self-hater. As I said earlier, I've had run-ins with stupid men of all races, but when it happens with Black men they attack where it hurts the most. I'm tired of being accused of being a self-hating racist because I don't tolerate stupid behavior. I'm tired of being questioned as to why I have dreads (dammit, it's hair! Why does it have to be about Black pride?), I'm tired of being made fun of for how I speak, I'm tired of this intraracial bullshit. People who know me know I'm proud to be Black and the first one to defend my race. But today I'm worn out, beaten and defeated. I just want to crawl into a hole and die.

Too many of these misguided men think acting like a "triflin' Negro" is what it means to be a Black man. Acting like a common, harassing thug is not being a stand-up Black man. A real Black man doesn't degrade Black women, won't intimidate them, won't refer to them as "shorty" and "bitch." There is a lot of racial tension and intraracial tension in DC and I'm feeling the brunt of it.

There is no happy cookie-cutter answer to this. Do I wish I acted differently today? Of course, but all I can do is learn from it and move on. I wish I had a thicker skin so I could ignore the taunts instead of stooping to these punks' levels, but the hurtful comments I continue to receive from these scrubs on the streets eat through me like a caustic acid.

I know I have to put my safety first. I can't walk home anymore because it's getting too dangerous. I'm going to have to wait lord knows how long for a bus at the train station (though walking is quicker than waiting). Your "fearless" leader is now fearful. I've taken too much abuse and I can't take anymore. I'm tired of worrying about the "Loitering Losers" and now the "Liquoring Losers."

I'm going to rest now, and hopefully it's a new day not only literally, but figuratively. It's gotta get day.

Tuesday, November 27, 2007

Harassing-Ass Men---Leave Me Alone!

This was just one of those days when the men on the street (and in vehicles) would not leave me alone.

On my walk to the train station to get to work, two men honked at me, and one yelled "yo, schweeheart!" out of his car.

I got a (much needed) reprieve from harassment at work.

Leaving work and heading to the drugstore I had so many other things running through my mind, harassment not one of them. I passed one man who was unloading some truck.
"Go-jiss!" he yelled at me. (If you're going to "holla" at me, at least pronounce it right.)

I walked past a guy who was hanging with what looked like his girlfriend, and he looked me up and down. I gave him the most scathing look ever.

I then walked past a group of moving men (and one woman) who were slacking on the job. "Howya doin', baby?" he asked.
"Do not call me 'baby,'" I said, seething.

I make it to the drugstore, and this guy was too close behind me in line, so I moved up a tidge. He then proceeds to move up on me again. I turned around and gave him a nasty look and he quit.

Leaving the drugstore, I walked past a middle-aged and well-dressed man on his cell.
"Hello, beautiful," he said.
"You're too old to be hitting on me like that and I don't know you," I said. "Leave me alone."
This man had a look of shock on his face.

Further along my journey, I walked past a man who said "Well, hey-lo!" to me in that creepy tone. I looked behind me and he started to follow me. I gave him a nasty look and he stopped.

I got on the train, and got another reprieve from the attentions of creepy guys. Having my headphones on at that moment helped me.

I proceeded on my walk home, and the "Loitering Losers" were once again absent---good. However, I wasn't harassment-free yet.

Right around the corner from my apartment, right before I was going to turn, this van pulls up to me. It is pitch-black, the driver's face is semi-obscured (except this annoying-ass grin) and I didn't even wait to find out what he wanted.

"I do not know you---keep driving!" I yelled. He continued to sit there. I refused to proceed until he left. I didn't want to give him a hint as to where I lived.
"KEEP DRIVING!" I yelled.
The guy finally pulls off and I notice he has Maryland license plates (unfortunately I didn't get the plate number). I make sure he's good and gone until I turn towards home. I make sure to look over my shoulder to make sure he or no one else try to pull up on me. Can someone tell me where it's considered normal for a strange man in a van to pull up aside a woman walking alone in pitch-black evening (7:30, but still dark)? I'm grateful I have some sense of street smarts, for this man could've kidnapped me.

So that, my readers, is a day in the life of a harassment recipient. Whether it's "benign" like a "hey, go-jiss" or creepy like a random man pulling up in a van, it's a pain in the ass to go through on a regular basis.

More on the intersection of race, class, gender and harassment

Another write-up on the race/class/gender intersection of harassment at The writer is a gay minority, and questions where the power really lies.

Woman Assaulted on Green Line

I just heard about this story on WJLA. The woman was trying to travel from Waterfront to L'Enfant Plaza, and this fool sits next to her and starts squishing against her. When she tried to move, he got violent and started attacking her. I commend the teenage girl who acted on behalf of the woman and helped her out. However, I'm greatly disappointed with the indifferent attitude the woman received from Metro authorities, and that once again no one stepped in to help. Metro doesn't seem to care when it comes to this stuff going on.

I cannot count the number of times I've reported incidents (being catcalled at by Metro employees, flagging Metro police down about rowdy kids trying to attack me) just to be dismissed. Not only does Metro NOT CARE about getting a better-running transit service, but they don't give a damn about passenger safety either.

This sounds extremely like the story I posted the other day, "Silent Witnesses." How the hell can you sit there when someone's calling for help and being attacked right in front of your face? This is the video of the Green Line assault story, and this girl had every reason to be terrified. With WJLA on the case, Metro won't get away with this that easily.

With all the stories of women being attacked and crying out for help and not receiving said help, I hope people start to see the light and make changes for the better. If you were in that predicament, you'd want help too.

Editor's note: is following this as well.

Monday, November 26, 2007

"Loitering Losers" Technicolor!

Thanks to Peggy Sue for sending me a clearer copy of the shot I recently took of the "Loitering Losers."

I took that same route home as I normally do, and they were nowhere to be found today, thank god. I refuse to change my route and let those uncouth men cow me.

Friday, November 23, 2007

Silent Witnesses

The following is from an anonymous contributor in Missouri:

I had never heard of the term "Street harassment" but that is exactly what I would call what I have been experiencing here in St. Louis, MO.

I have had a lot of horrible things happen when I am not in a car or cab.

I was on the bus and this man sitting toward the front kept staring at me. It was very annoying not to mention uncomfortable. When he rung the bell for his stop, he walked up to me and tried to whisper something in my ear, I took my purse and slapped him with it. Then he punched me in my face. I am a 5'5'' female, this man was a 6 foot around 200-something pound male. The bus driver was actually going to let this man off the bus. I told the driver when I call the police that I would report him if he let this man get away. The bus driver let the man off of the bus and I saw him take off running.

When the police got there no body on the bus would say anything. It wasn't because they were afraid, afraid of what, the man was long gone by now and nowhere to be found. I still cannot believe that was allowed to happen, that no one including the bus driver would speak up about what happened. This has caused me to hate the way society is. If I had a chance to repeat the same situation over again, the only thing that I would have changed is I would have used mace to blind him first, tried to break his nose, and then I would have gotten off the bus not the other way around.

I am truly, truly sorry for what happened. That man shouldn't have touched you let alone come near you. In the same token, I applaud you for keeping brave and attempting to report this fool.

The reason why this ignorant behavior is allowed to perpetuate is because people keep silent. No one realizes that the voices of the many outweigh the solitary voice of one. A busload of witnesses yet no one spoke up? Genovese syndrome indeed. If more had taken initiative---the bus driver, the passengers, and so forth---that thug would be sitting in jail right now for assault. All we can hope for is that a good description was given and that someone recognizes him and turns him in. We need less of these people walking free and more of them in jail.

Anonymous, I once again commend you for having the courage to face that asshole. I pray that you can find ways of staying safe in Missouri.

A lot of people comment on why we don't want attention from these men. "You're too hard, you don't give them a chance," you'll say. We don't want attention from these men because they aren't "real men." Real men don't go from calling a woman "beautiful queen" to "ugly bitch" in 0 to 60. Real men don't go around putting their hands on women a fraction of their size. Real men don't make threats of violence. Real men work towards making women feel safe, not scared. Real men need to stand up and do right in the community.

Wednesday, November 21, 2007

Happy Thanksgiving To You Too, "Loitering Losers"

Note: I have no problem accepting stories without photos. Your safety is much more important than getting a photo. Don't do what I did in this story. I normally don't put my safety on the line like this, but I've dealt with these men on numerous occasions and am fed up.

I left the house today to grab more ingredients for the pies I was baking for tomorrow. On my way to the store I walked past my "friends," the "Loitering Losers," who have been featured on numerous occasions on DBS. Through my peripheral vision I spotted about four or five of them. They were big, bad, and nothing but trouble. I tried to stare straight ahead and act like they weren't there, but their annoying voices pierced through that brick wall I'd put up:

"Hey, pretty girl. Where's your smile?"
"You on Hell Date?"
"You said she on Hell Date! HAHAHAHAHA!"
"Happy Thanksgiving to you, pretty sistah."

No Happy Thanksgiving wishes could take away the humiliation I feel any time I face these men. They are always hanging out at that park/bus stop, hitting on me, calling out to me and annoying the hell out of me.

The creepiest part that happened was that one of them got up and started following me. I was the fast walking "damsel in distress" (I hate that term) and he was the slow walking zombie. I got into the store as fast as I could.

On the way back, I didn't walk past them but took that street that intersects near the park. They were still trying to call to me.

"Girl, when you gonna be on Hell Date?" (I've seen Hell Date a few times but don't know what the hell [no pun intended] they were getting at with that comment. 'Nothing comes from talkers but sound' as Tevin Campbell's "Round and Round" goes.)

They were calling to me, cajoling me, and making me irate. I head home, put my groceries up, threw on my sneakers and grabbed my Nikon and head back out the door.

I walked back towards that park/bus stop. Two had already fled and a third one was dashing away when I pulled out my camera. I stood across the street first, but I was too far away to get a good zoom on them. I had no choice but to get closer. I was terrified but determined to get this shot.

These idiots burst into laughter like what I was doing was the funniest thing at first, but when the camera's flash went off they knew I meant business.

"You need to go after the dude who just left!" one yelled. "He was the one startin' stuff...not us!"
"Bitch, I'mma snatch that camera out yo hands!" the other yelled.

I got my shot, and that's all that mattered. I doubt they were going to lay their hands on me. I did remember seeing a police car not too far from there, and not even these idiots are dumb enough to beat a woman up in front of the police. Also, though it was dark it was only 6 in the evening and people were still out and about.

But as I said, I got the shot. "Thank you!" I said in the most cheesy and saccharine tone.
"Girl, you don't go around takin' photos of people," Thug 1 said. "Dat's not cool."
Neither is bugging women who walk by you.

I walked away casually. I refused to let them see fear. I heard what sounded like running and turned around. "I'mma chase after you!" Thug 2 said, but all he did was jog in place.

"Whatever," I said, dismissing them with a flip of the hand. As I walked back home feeling good to get a closer (albeit dark) shot of the "Loitering Losers," they were complaining out loud and acting like petulant kids. If they'd stop humiliating women that walked by, it wouldn't have had to come down to that.

I walked past a father and son on my way home, and the father told his son in babytalk to "Say hi to the nice lady!" I smiled and waved back. It's good to know that some men are taking responsibility and raising their sons to be upright men, and that I once again took a step towards putting the light on DC's street harassment problem.

I hope we get stuff accomplished in next week's meeting. Have a safe, happy and hopefully harassment-free Thanksgiving, all of you.

Edit 11/22/07: I just noticed that Thug 1 is flipping the bird in the photo (it is a dark photo, but it's easier to see when it's enlarged---click the photo to enlarge it). Real class act, that one.

Monday, November 19, 2007

First DBS Meeting Postponed---12/1/07

Because of the holiday this week, the group decided it would make more sense to move the meeting to the following week, December 1st. Please sign up to join the group (links in the sidebar and at the bottom of the page) to keep updated.

Saturday, November 17, 2007


For the past week and some change I've been trying to act treat the men on the streets like the non-entities they are to me. I'm sick of having screaming matches with these losers and stooping to their level. I started this new tactic the last day I was in NYC.

After heading back to my hotel from leaving the Papaya Dog on 42nd & 9th (it's okay, but not the genuine NYC hot dog taste I was looking for) and walking up 8th Ave. to get back, I walked past what looked like a sleazy lingerie shop. I rolled my eyes and some man who was standing in the doorway of it said "You're too sexy for that stuff!" It took all in my power to act like he didn't exist.

Back in DC, it's been a chore as well. I've found some dead days where the harassment didn't happen which is a sigh of relief to me, but when it Most of these instances were benign, but it's aggravating to not be able to leave the house and go from point A to point B undisturbed. Men, talking to a woman on the street is not a right you have -- it's a privilege, if that.

I was walking to the train station to head to work on Wednesday, and the man in the passenger side of a garbage truck stuck his head out and waved at me (why do these clowns always try to "holla" from the passenger side of the car?!). As usual, he was old enough to be my father. I ended up reacting.

"No...No...NO!!!!!" I yelled. Maybe if they did their jobs instead of trying to flirt with women half their age, then there wouldn't be a rat infestation from the piling-up garbage!

I went back to ignore mode on Thursday. I was waiting at Farragut North Station to go home and this man comes up behind me and says "Hey, pretty girl" to my back. I know it was addressed to me since there were no other females in that vicinity. It was easy to ignore him because I never respond to those who don't have the courtesy to address me face to face. I walked to another section of the platform, and noticed that once again this was a man old enough to be my father. It leaves a sick feeling in my stomach that these old men think it's appropriate to talk to younger women. Who's encouraging them to do so? I guess I look forward to getting older because these men will finally leave me alone, but they'll find a new crop of 20-somethings to mess with. Gross.

Coming home from tae kwon do yesterday, I descended one escalator and spot this guy. He was bugged-eyed, buck-toothed and I knew he was going to try to talk to me. We learn about "telegraphing moves" in tae kwon do sparring class, and that's exactly what this guy was doing. Instead of going up the other escalator, he stays at the bottom of it and watches me come down it. I felt like I was under a was uncomfortable.

When I reach the bottom of the escalator, he says "You are so purty." I am tired of getting unsolicited compliments from these pitiful men. I'd really just rather be left alone. And the staring at me like I was an object really unnerved me. No wonder good guys are afraid to approach women...creeps like this ruin it for them.

The last straw was walking home from the train station. A dark car pulls up to me and the driver says "Girl, d'you need help? Need a ride?" It took all in my power to act like he wasn't there...that creeped the mess out of me. It was 8 in the evening -- not late, but rather dark.

The guy finally got the hint that I didn't want to be bothered with him and drove off. But I kept looking behind my shoulder to make sure he didn't try to follow me home.

So today's been harassment-free, but that's because I didn't leave the house. I don't plan on leaving the house at all this weekend. It has nothing to do with being afraid to leave the house, but because after a long, busy week at work, tae kwon do and other things I just need rest. But when I leave back out again this week, I really for once just want these men to leave me alone.

Friday, November 9, 2007

Back from NYC

I just got back from my trip to the Big Apple and just like my last trip there, the men just have no shame when it comes to harassing women. Some of my instances were benign, but others made me cringe.

The main thing that bothers me is that these men feel they have the right to talk to me or any other woman the way they do -- or period. Right when I was trying to exit Penn Station, some guy starts walking along with me and talking as if we were "down" or something. It made me uncomfortable that some guy I don't know just came out of the blue and was trying to walk with me. No "hi" or anything like that. It was an invasion of personal space. I moved away from him and he got the hint.

These men also feel the need to let me know how attractive they find me. I hate, hate, HATE these half-assed and empty compliments. They're cheap. I'd rather get a compliment from someone I've known for a while that comes from a place of the heart, and not from a random stranger.

I had a harasser who was acting inappropriately while on the clock. On Wednesday I went to FIT to check out their gown exhibits, and while most of the security guards were professional and stonefaced, this one kid in the basement exhibit acted like an idiot. He kept making goofy noises, and as I left the exhibit he says, "Girl, you workin' it with that red and black [in regards to my outfit], aren't you?" I looked at him with a look that read "Boy, you aren't even worth a verbal response" and kept going.

The worst was the clown above. I grabbed something to eat after seeing a show last night and was walking down Broadway to head back to my hotel. He was getting too close to women while trying to hand out copies of "The Onion." The number of men on the streets trying to sell stuff or hand out flyers while getting too close was an annoyance. I told him to back the hell up off me, and he gets closer.

"I wanna be close to you, baby," he says, with a lecherous smirk.

Ugh! This man was some homeless bum in need of a shower and he looked old enough to be my grandfather. I had my camera on me then, so I pulled it out and took a shot. He covered up his face, unfortunately.

"So you're brave enough to harass women but a big old coward when it comes to getting your picture taken?" I said. "Pathetic."

As soon as my camera went down he got bold again and started blowing kisses at me.

"Nasty-ass coward," I said. "You need to take a shower." If you want a description of his face, just imagine a crusty, dried-up raisin and there you go.

I met up with an old schoolmate while I was in the city, and she commented on reading DBS. She told me that women who walk with a purpose tend to get bothered less.

"But I look straight ahead, usually wear my sunglasses in daytime, and am always walking with a purpose," I said. "So why are these raggedy men always targeting me?"

I don't think I'll ever find the true answer as to what makes me a target for these men. The caliber of men who do this bothers me as well. I came from a Broadway concert (yes, a concert on Broadway and not a play) yesterday and was wearing a tailored peacoat, matching scarf and gloves, and black palazzos with black leather heels. I was looking chic and the men who were trying to talk to me looked like bums -- baggy pants, dingy sweatshirts, hair that needed grooming -- why do they think I'd even want to talk to them? One of the DBS readers (I cannot recall who at the moment) had said something similar -- classy women don't want to be bothered with bums and losers! Pretty much.

I'm missing the fun and color of NYC, but am glad to be back in DC. I'd be even more glad if harassment stopped in DC, but until then, let's keep fighting to get it to end.

*And I'd like to extend a thanks to those who have joined the DBS group so far, and am looking forward to seeing many more sign up.*

Tuesday, November 6, 2007

Away for a few days

I will be going out of town for a few days and will moderate whatever comments/submissions I receive as soon as I get back later this week.

I hope your time is harassment-free, and I hope for a harassment-free trip as well.

Stay safe, all.

Saturday, November 3, 2007

Your behavior and your played-out clothes are out of style

I had harassment encounters with the EXACT SAME MAN (pictured above) two days in a row.

Around 6pm as I was heading home Thursday, this man was standing at the bus stop near Barnes & Noble on M Street. He was wearing the most played-out maroon track suit and yapping on the phone with someone. He stops his conversation to look me up and down.

" Mmm...beautiful," he mumbles under his breath, but loud enough for me to hear.

"'re too old and gross," I said.

"I wasn't talking to you, I was talking on the phone," he claimed.

Yeah, right.

Yesterday, I left around the same time and whaddya know? The same guy -- now wearing a powder blue track suit -- is walking towards me on Wisconsin. The only things on my mind were the errands I needed to run in the short time before my martial arts class and the dinner I was going to after class with my classmates. But this fool had to invade my personal space again.

He's on the phone again, and he walks up close to me and mumbles "I need to go to the bank" in this sexual tone. I could feel his stank breath on me. And he starts looking me up and down again.

"You're too close, dude," I said. "Back off."

I go to my bank (not the same one he went to) and do what I need to do, and when I leave I see this clown again! He does the same mess he did on Thursday -- the "" shit.

"I am tired of this!" I yelled. "You are disgusting, creepy, and you make my stomach turn!" People started staring at him when I yelled, but it didn't faze him one bit.

"If you don't leave me alone I'll--"
"You'll do what?" he said, nonchalantly.
"I swear I'll kick your ass." This man has degraded me, made me uncomfortable, and he is vile. I'd long since had enough.

He stands there on his phone, and I'm in a frazzled mess. I pulled out my cell phone and took the above shot of him, but he turned his head.

"You're going on 'Don't Be Silent,'" I said, "because you don't know how to leave women alone."

(Readers, if you see this tacky-looking loser hanging about the streets of Georgetown, watch your backs. I'm determined to put an end to his tasteless ways.)

I was harriedly trying to put my phone back in my bag and zip it up, but I just wanted to get far away from that creep and ended up walking and struggling to close my bag. All these men kept trying to talk to me -- "Shawty" this, "Hey baby" that -- I just wanted to scream. The only thing I wanted was to run my errands, attend my class, and have a fun dinner with friends afterwards. I didn't need all these punk-ass men bothering me!

The above man was one of the men who tried to "Hey baby" me as he was coming out of some establishment (near Five Guys, I believe). He got snapped.

"Why did you take my picture?" he said.
"Because you don't know how to leave women alone!" I feel like a broken record.

I rode the bus and was irate. I normally fall asleep from exhaustion on bus rides but I was just miserable from my experiences with those men -- mostly "Tacky Track Suit Man." The way he got close to me and made me uncomfortable made me feel sick to my stomach.

I go to my martial arts class, and am grateful that I did go. I got a chance to let my anger out through punching, kicking and yelling. And had I not gone to that dinner after class with my friends, I would've been in a sour mood all evening. No, it's not cool that harassment happens, but for once I got an opportunity to have fun and not worry about idiots. Sometimes laughter (with friends) is the best medicine.

Thursday, November 1, 2007

Reactions to Street Harassment

Cristina at Eckington DC Living did a write-up on how she handles street harassment. She also left a response on a previous post which sums up as to don't let it affect you and don't give the harassers power. As much as I agree that we shouldn't let the actions of boorish men affect us, it is really hard not to.

When you've got boorish, tacky, uneducated, tactless, ghetto, disgusting men standing on street corners or making comments from their cars, such as (all these have been said to me):

"Shorty, can I talk to you?" (Shorty is obviously not my name.)
"Boo-Boo, whaddup?" (You're a grown man, learn to use your words.)
"Fuck you, bitch, you ugly anyway." (Sorry I didn't give you the response you wanted.)
"Bitch, you betta watch it or I'mma smack da shit out you."
"I'mma say whatever I want to you! Fuck dat 'miss or ma'am' shit."
"Yo, Redbone! Yo, Snowflake!" (I may be a light-skinned Black woman, but damned if I'll let men talk to me that way because of such.)
"You a dyke, you don't like men." (Because I don't want to take a ride from a man I don't know who's old enough to be my father? Come on, now.)

...simply for leaving the house, then no, it is not easy to ignore or to not let get to me. Because I leave my house, because I am a single female, this is the treatment I get from these raggedy assholes. I've learned to, for lack of a better term, to expect it. People tell me that I should be "flattered" to get male attention. I'll be flattered when I get respectful attention from respectful men. Being called "sexy" by men old enough to be my grandfather leaves a sick feeling in my stomach.

This guy may not have been that old (he may have been a few years older than me) but his comment to me made me want to vomit:

"Girl, you look 17---and you look good."

Obviously, I'm not 17. But the fact that he thought I looked it and found me attractive frightened me. What if he pulled this mess on a real 17-year-old? I should become a decoy for Perverted Justice and have Chris Hansen from Dateline step in.

I feel myself going off on a tangent, but long story short as long as harassers run the streets, there will be recipients of harassment. And as long as there are recipients of harassment, they will respond in whatever way they feel is right. If screaming and cursing helps, good. If crying at home helps, cry away. If hitting a punching bag helps to release the aggression, go to it. People are going to react to harassment whatever way they can, and no one can change that.

Wednesday, October 31, 2007

Oh, Yeah. Last Night...

On my way home from work last night, this fool was yelling at me from across the way.

"Scush me, miss...scush me, miss..."

What was so important that he had to yell at me from across the street? It may have been only 7, but it was dark out and this made me uncomfortable.

"I-DO-NOT-WANT-TO-SPEAK-TO-YOU...LEAVE-ME-ALONE!" I yelled, distinctly and clearly.

He stopped, though I looked behind my shoulder a few times to make sure he didn't try to follow me.

Here's a map so you'll get a perspective of where he was to me when he was yelling like a fool to get my attention:

Tuesday, October 30, 2007

First DBS Meeting---Saturday, 11/24 Meeting Postponed to 12/1/07

Edited: This meeting is postponed to 12/1/07.

I would love to schedule our first meeting for Saturday, November 24th around mid-to-late afternoon (2:30 or 3:00, for instance). Please sign up for the Yahoo! group (links to do so are in the sidebar and the bottom of the page) if you want to get involved and want more information.

Edited 11/1/07: I see a lot of people coming by to take a look at this message, yet only one person signed up for the group (she was an invite). I know we're not the only ones who want to see an end to street harassment. I once again urge those who want to get involved to sign up for the group.

Times When I Wish I'd Said Something

Bold as I can be, there are times when I wish I would've spoken up. I'm not always slick with a comeback or a way to shut fools up or let them know when their behavior is inappropriate. Here's one of my experiences when I "sat there and took it." It's not "street harassment," per se, but inappropriate behavior nonetheless.

I sometimes act, and last year around this time I was trying to find photographers that did affordable headshots. Places around here are either too expensive or unreliable (one guy I found cancelled on me twice---not worth my time or money). My sister suggested this guy who took shots of her, and I used him. Big mistake.

I get to his house/studio, and I knew it was off to a rough start. "I forgot you were coming!" he said. Not cool.

I sit and wait for him to set up, and he goes on and on about some video vixen that he took shots of recently, talking about how "built" she was. He tries to show me photos of her but I am disinterested.

Five minutes in, this guy is asking me out on a date. Mind you he's about 15-16 years older than me. He hadn't even started taking photos yet! At this moment I should've upped and left but I needed headshots badly.

"Sir," I said (emphasis on "sir"). "You're my photographer. I don't feel comfortable with that." That was timid and weak of me. If I could go back in time I'd pull myself out of that situation.

Instead of realizing how inappropriate he was, he starts to complain. "All y'all sistahs complain about wantin' a 'good brotha,' but all y'all really want are the thugs," he whines. Huh?! This man doesn't know a damn thing about me, doesn't know my name (he either called me by the wrong name or totally blanked on it throughout the day), but asked me out on a date and makes these invalid assumptions about me---BULLSHIT!

Other things he asked that were inappropriate were if I had a boyfriend and had kids. My response was "Why do Black men always think that Black women have kids? Why even ask that?" His lame response was that since my sister does (I have two sisters, and he mixed them up as well) he thought I did. Oh, the shame.

So finally he starts taking my photos but the phone rings and he starts to talk inappropriately to someone about the video vixens and Paris Hilton-types at a party he took photos of the previous night. N-word this, bitch that. I walked away---not out the door, but away. Two strikes for me. He got the hint ("I have a client here so I'll talk to you later") and continued taking my photos.

In the room I changed in there were clown wigs, Rasta dread wigs, and video vixen photos. Ugh.

The ordeal was close to over but he made me take more photos (my heart wasn't in it anymore---it never was), and some woman closer to his age came to work on his website. I sat and waited for him to airbrush my shots, but two was enough for me.

"That's it, I only want those two," I said.
"Just two? I can do them all," he replied.
"Two's fine," I said.

He prints out two off-color shots (I was wearing a green shirt in one, but it printed out teal), I take them and the master CD and prepare to leave.

"Next time, we'll do black and white shots," he says.
"Yeah," I said.
"And let my make-up artist work on you next time," he says. "She can hook your make-up and hair up!"
"Yeah," I said.

I left out of there so fast. There was going to be no "next time." Being asked out on a date and assumed of liking "thugs" and having kids was rude, unprofessional and inappropriate. So was his going on and on about video vixens and their behaviors and bodies. It hurt to, as usual, not get support from family. When I was needing more shots months later, my mother said I should consider going to him again. I had to keep my cool there.

So there's a lesson I've learned. Being respected is more important than a damn headshot. That behavior was not worth my time or money. I will never let some horndog creep ever intimidate me again---and I haven't since.

I still don't have new headshots, but fine by me. At least I got my voice back.

Saturday, October 27, 2007

War Zone

In 1998, Maggie Hadleigh-West took a video camera to aim at her harassers and created the film War Zone. I am glad to have these pitful losers know what it feels like to have the spotlight on them for once.

In the same token, it is nearly impossible to catch these men completely in the act with a visible camera (a few men did get caught making kissing noises, whistling, and one was even jacking off). Some are going to show off for the cameras (with the lame idea that they're getting fifteen minutes of fame) or will try to save face. The only way to truly catch them in the act is with a hidden camera, but that's not gonna happen because the harassers would call that a violation of their rights.

Anyway, watch a bunch of harassers get embarrassed.

Edited to add:

Here's another clip from War Zone, with different men involved (the second guy tries to explain why he harasses, but digs himself into a bigger hole), and Hadleigh-West's boyfriend is shown at the end, who gives her hope that there are good men out there who care about women's safety and rights.

New DBS Yahoo! Group Started

I just created a new group on Yahoo! It'll make it easier to communicate with one another and get the ball rolling. There are links to join the group in the sidebar and on the bottom of the page.

Thanks to all who join the group.

Just Another Day...of Street Harassment

I can't leave my house to run a few errands without being harassed by annoying men!

Barely a block away from my house, a Rasta-looking fool said "Hey babe!" from the passenger side of a parked van.

"'Hey babe'?" I said in disgust. "How about 'Hey miss' or 'ma'am'?"

All that fool did was give me a shit-eating grin.

Walking past Get'n'Gear Motors on the corner of 12th NE and Otis NE (which ironically is where the middle-aged men tried to "holla" at me in this previous story), I hear "there's your buddy!" and laughter.

I tried to ignore it, but they repeated it. It's hard to fight human instinct, and I turned my head towards it. There was a man with yet that same shit-eating grin, another guy who was wearing a dingy undershirt with a large tear in it, another man, and worst of all, an older woman who was maybe in her 60s, with her wig looking polished and looking like she should've been in church. They all broke into laughter.

"Your buddy's lookin' at you!" the guy continued to yell. More laughter.

"Fool, please!" I yelled. I am tired of this mess! "If you want to get my attention you say 'Excuse me miss' or 'ma'am'! I am not 'your buddy'! I don't know you!" I tried to walk away, but they wanted to continue with the joke.

"Excuse me miss or ma'am," the ringleader said. More laughter.

Hell no. I marched back up there. "Do you see me smiling?" I said. "I don't find this funny!"

The laughter stopped. The smirks faded.

"You have no respect for women," I said.
"I'm sorry, ma'am," he said. "Let me start over, my name is---"
"I don't want to get to know you!" I said. "You missed your chance. Let this be a learning experience for you. The next time a woman walks by, don't make fun of her. Just say 'Excuse me miss.' Let this be a lesson for you."

Finally I walked off, and not one of them tried to sass me back or break into laughter. I highly doubt any of this would ruin Get'n'Gear Motors' business (it's one of those neighborhood rinky-dink auto shops), but at least they had their lesson for the day of how not to treat people.

It is not about me "not having a sense of humor." I do. I just know when and where to use it. Had I known these people already and they said that, I would've laughed and said, "How are you, Mr. ___________?" and gone from there. But these people got too personal too quickly without getting to know me. Not cool at all.

And on my way back, the "loitering losers" were once again trying to call to me. Ignoring them wouldn't work, because even though I was halfway down the street, they kept calling to me.

"If I wanted to respond to you, I would've done so the first or second time!" I yelled. "Quit calling to me!"

They shut up.

So I'm back home and a frazzled mess. I'm tired of being harassed while WWF---walking while female. None of my family or acquaintances understand the magnitude of this. Many think I ask to be harassed.

My mother will relay the same story to me about how she was harassed when she was younger, and how now she'll smile if a man asks her to or respond even if they say "hey, baby" just to avoid inciting them. I tried to explain to her that it's not right but she refuses to see eye to eye. It's a generational difference, I guess.

When relaying my stories, some people ask "what are you wearing?" or "how do you carry yourself?" as if any of that matters. I'm sick of that "blame the victim" idealism.

What I would love to achieve is to be able to run errands, take a walk, check my mail, hang out with friends, go out dancing, etc., without being harassed. I don't think it's too much to ask for.

Friday, October 26, 2007

Feeling Drowsy and Down

I was in one of those down moods yesterday (maybe it's the weather). I had little reaction to the stuff that normally annoys me because I just didn't have the energy. However, I always have the energy to speak up against street harassment.

When leaving the train station on the way home, some clown was like "mmmmmmmmm" at me. I responded back with "ugh!"

I walked past that bus stop/park on my way home, and loitering losers (who have been featured numerous times on DBS) were out there hanging out. I know they weren't waiting for the bus because four of them were off-schedule and came bunched together. Those clowns are so pathetic, loitering out there in the rain.

The street I walk on is diagonally next to the park, so I'm walking away from them at an angle.

"Whoo-oo-hoo!" I hear. I try to ignore it, but it's impossible.
"Whoo-oo-hoo!" I hear again. Okay, I gotta say something.

"That is not the way you get a woman's attention," I said. "You say 'Excuse me miss' or 'ma'am.' Learn some respect."

And wouldn't you know it? They were stunned into silence.

I wish there were a way I could get those men to stop hanging out around there. I'm sure if I tried to bring this up to the police they'd say "it may be a bus stop but it's a park as well, and they have the right to be there." People have the right to use the park, but not as a hangout to harass women.

I hope this weather clears up, as well as the problem with street harassment. Ridiculous.

Wednesday, October 24, 2007

Short But Never Sweet (10/24/07)

I haven't had too many instances of harassment lately, but the few I did annoyed me.

Monday after tae kwon do, a group of Metro workers (clad in fluorescent vests) came onto the train platform. One of them, a short troll of a man with pitted and weathered skin, approached me. I've been using my headphones a lot lately, and it's deterred many of these losers from trying to approach me or talk to me. Unfortunately I didn't pull them out of my bag in time, and...

"Would you like to work for Metro?" he asked me, then snickered. His buddies thought this was so funny. I knew he wasn't sincerely asking me to work for Metro because 1) it was 8 at night and 2) this fool couldn't think of any other reason to approach me sincerely.

"Hell no!" I said, not trying to hide my annoyance.
This got a rise out of his group.
"Why not? You'll get to ride for free!" More snickering.
"I don't care!" I yelled. "Look, you picked the wrong person to start a conversation with because I'm not in the mood to be bothered with anybody."
I finally found my headphones, put them on, and Troll Man walked away, but not without a gross smirk. On the job, people...on the job! These men have no shame.

And yesterday afternoon, at the corner of N and 31st, I stopped to wait for this dreadlocked fool in a white car to turn right. He acted like he was turning right, but instead did a left and did a circle in the intersection. I shook my head in disbelief. This fool thought my shaking my head at him was a signal for him to talk to me.

"'Ey, boo! Boo, can I talk to you?" I cannot stand being called "boo," "boo-boo," or any other made-up word by some man who needs to get Hooked on Phonics. I ignored him and headed towards my destination. I turned around to make sure he wasn't trying to follow me, and the fool was halfway down the street---he didn't even wait for a response.

It reminds me of walking down U towards Adams Morgan a year or so ago. Some teenaged boy was coming towards me.

"Girl, can I talk to you?" he asked...but kept walking. Stuff like that and the car story make me think that these men are conditioned to act like idiots. They don't care about the response just as long as "can I talk to you?" comes out of their mouths. (rolls eyes)

Thursday, October 18, 2007

Street Harassment Survey

A GWU grad student did a survey on street harassment for her Master's thesis. Here are the survey's results.

I've read through it and found some of the answers, like education being the key factor to stopping harassment before it starts awesome ideas, but other answers are so callous, ignorant and sarcastic. The same person made hateful comments such as [paraphrases] "have better-looking guys harass them so they'll like it more," "stop calling everything 'harassment," "I threatened to report them to an ugly professor," and that only "racist White women who hate Blacks tell their stories." Horrible. That person was bored online and instigating. Not cool.

Someone also stated that they felt DBS was a useless site...I'm sorry that person feels that way. My question to you is this:

How can I improve this site to make it better?

Stunned Into Silence

This just in from an anonymous contributor:

Hi, Please make this post anonymous due to protect the company's identity and myself. It has nothing to do with the company, but I was on the job while it happened.

Today I was running an errand for the office. I had to go to the Sprint store to get some supplies for our boss. Coming back from the store, I walked down K Street. I know K Street has been known for its horrible political corruption, but this is something new. Standing at a stop light waiting for it to say go, I heard a group of men walk up to the corner and started chatting. As the light hit go and pedestrians made it across the street before the light hits red, I heard the men behind me begin to say the crudest things.

Man 1: Oh look at that.
Man 2: At what?
Man 1: The girl in the black I wish I could tap that.
Man 2: Yea I bet you she's good in bed.

I wasn't dressed in any way that would provoke these men to say ANYTHING, good or bad. Just dressed in jeans, heels and a black tee shirt. I was infuriated. Speechless to say the least. I didn't know how to approach the situation because these were educated grown men. They should know better. But they don't. Walking on the street by myself I didn't want to engage with a group of disgusting men. In retrospect, I wish I had not become so infuriated, embarrassed, and stormed off. I really wish I had the courage to voice up and say that this is not okay. It really is not okay on any level.

What gives these men the right to speak their dirty thoughts out in the open like that? Some things are better left unsaid---hell, those thoughts shouldn't even come up, period. The contributor was just trying to do her job and she didn't need punk-ass clowns degrading her like that. I wish a group of women would flip the switch on those men, like I did on Labor Day with that loser who got too close and rambled about how sexy I was. I flipped the switch and told him how "ugly" he was which humiliated him as much as he humiliated me when he objectified me.

A lot of contributors wish they would've had the right words to handle the situation, but there are no wrong or right ways of handling it. You can only act according to how you feel at the moment. When it comes to dealing with irrational and unpredictable idiot men, sometimes silence is the best answer.

Thursday, October 11, 2007

Articulating Her Thoughts

An anonymous contributor wanted to share her story:

I have been hooked on your website for months now, and have been thinking for weeks how to organize my thoughts and experiences into some kind of coherent form to share with you and the other readers. My boyfriend has become an avid reader of your site too and needless to say, has been disgusted by the stories and angry about what he sees me (and women like me) go through on the streets of DC. (I had to keep him, a respectable and articulate guy, out of a fight this summer on my behalf.) I too want to do something, more than just vent - I mean, I want to organize a coalition, talk to Mayor Fenty - anything. You are right - it is too much for one woman, but we all need to get together and let these creeps know the street is public property, and we should not be targets of their "interest" by virtue of the fact that we have places to go. Word.

Since moving to DC from California a year ago I have been stunned by the effect the street harassment has had on my everyday life. I too procrastinate running errands, and sometimes even leaving the comfort of my apartment, because of the constant, scary harassment from men. You have this everywhere in the world to some extent, but in this country I have never experienced anything like DC harassment and men calling attention to me, invading my space, and being nasty while I am minding my own business. I see these loitering punks on Irving Street NW by the Columbia Heights Metro on the way to work every morning and every night when I return home. I see them in the park at the triangle intersection of 16th/Mt. Pleasant/Columbia NW. They pop out when I'm shopping, or walking in Adams Morgan, grabbing at me, trying to get my attention, staring, shouting questions. I am a well-dressed, well-educated person - do they think I am going to walk over and say hi when they act like that?? Dream on. Men don't have to be totally deferential or keep their eyes down in the street, but there is a difference between expressing interest in a woman and making her fear for her personal space and safety!!

I just bought a digital camera today - don't be surprised if you get some shots of the aforementioned punks sooner than later. I commend you for what you're doing. You're not alone - don't be discouraged on the days that you don't get positive feedback. And I'm on board to take the next step and get elected officials involved, if possible, because the right place for street harassment is nowhere, least of all in our nation's capital. Keep on keepin' on, and assert yourself when you judge that it won't jeopardize you further...

Contributor, thank you so much for your message. Each time I feel down about street harassment, someone speaks out and makes me realize that I'm not alone. And feel free to send those photos of these losers to DBS. Those punks need to be put out there and embarrassed. I'm also glad that you're another ally in the fight against street harassment.

I'd like to arrange to have a meeting some time next month...I'll keep everyone posted. Enough is enough when it comes to dealing with this mess on the streets.

Tuesday, October 9, 2007

A big F*** YOU to harassers in the DC area.

Dear Harassers,

I'd love to thank you for making my life miserable. Because of you I dread leaving the house, am always tense and am ready to snap at any given moment. Because of you, I refuse to talk to any men, regardless of whether their intentions are good. Because of you, I have to re-route my journey home to avoid you. Because of you, I feel self-conscious, aggravated, miserable and a nervous wreck. So a huge FUCK YOU to all of you. FUCK YOU for making me feel lower than shit. FUCK YOU for thinking that women's rights are a joke. FUCK YOU for making real men who respect women look bad. FUCK YOU for getting away with your bullshit.

I'm sure you'll never see this message because you're too busy hanging out on street corners or driving around in your cars harassing women like me, but man did it feel good to let that anger out.

A woman who doesn't take your shit

Today was not my day (when is it ever with street harassment?). I wore my "Don't Call Me Baby" shirt, a shirt I've worn many times before. Reactions are hit or miss. Today was nothing but misses.

A crazy homeless guy stood next to me laughing like a nut. I walked away from him to leave him to his devices.

I went to Popeye's for dinner today, and this group of punk-ass kids were coming out of it. I was not only outnumbered (four to one) but these were big kids. The boys were about 6'3'' each and built like football players, and the girl was 5'9'' and really husky. (None of them looked like they should've been eating Popeye's, but I digress.)
"Yo, sex-ay!" one of the boys yelled at me. I felt disgusted. Getting hit on by boys a decade younger than me revolts me.
"Ugly!" I yelled back.
"Her shirt say 'Don't Call Me Baby,'" the same boy said. "Bay-bay!"
These kids then started laughing and making non-sequitur cracks like a bunch of lunatics.
"Take your crazy asses back home to your mothers," I said, while entering the restaurant. Losers.

At the grocery store not too far from Popeye's, the idiot ringing my groceries up read my shirt. "'Don't Call Me Baby'...okay, baby!" he said with a laugh.
"Not funny," I said. "Finish doing your job so I can get out of here."

And going down the escalator in the train station, some dork wouldn't stop staring at me.
"Stop staring," I said. "It's not cool." At least he followed directions.

At least my idiot co-worker didn't make that dorky joke he tends to make when I wear the shirt: "What if your mother or grandmother calls you 'baby'?" he says with a guffaw. I give him a dirty look and he'll stop.

I think with my shirt, idiots are only going to see the front and not the message on the back: "Fight Street Harassment." They're only going to see what they want to see and make commentary from that. It's like my brief experiment with the porno cards: idiots will only look at the front ("Hey...wanna get laid?") and not the back ("Then stop harassing women!!!"). Dummies want validation to be dumb and they'll completely miss the lesson.

I realize that I'll get more attention than normal when I wear the "Don't Call Me Baby" shirt, but I refuse to stop wearing it. More and more fools who harass women will see the full message and start to get the point. And if you want a shirt similar to mine, you can have one custom made at sites like Zazzle.

The walk home was annoying as usual. Men found it appropriate to yell at me from their cars, honk their horns, etc. But one instance will have a "happy ending."

Some clown in the passenger side of a van was yelling junk at me. Out of reaction I yelled "damn, fool."
Guy in the passenger side gets mad. "What you say? Huh? What you say?"
These punks were so stupid. As I continued to walk (yeah, I was really going to stand around and let them try to grab me or something [rolling eyes]) I noticed that 1) it was another Comcast van and 2) this time I could see the license plate. I started reciting the license plate out loud, and as soon as I was safe from the punks I wrote it down. Since I couldn't get in touch with someone via phone or e-mail at Comcast, I will have to make a trip down there myself. These punk men have to learn that this behavior is not acceptable---on duty or off!

Even on days when I'm not wearing the "Don't Call Me Baby" shirt, I still feel like I'm being singled out by harassers. What is it about ME personally that makes me a target of this bullshit? I'll get depressed because I see young women who are happy. They walk with confidence and demand respect. They get positive male attention and have boyfriends. People tell me that if I do the same then I'll get positive attention from guys as well. But it's a catch-22 and it's hard to feel strong and confident 100% when the worst of DC are the only ones paying me attention. Another thing I notice is that confident and happy women are rarely solo. 99% of the time I'm on my own. I don't really have a lot of friends and confidantes in this city, but I am not one to "sit around and wait for it" to come my way. It really is a catch-22---more good people would gravitate to me if I felt good about myself, but it's hard to feel good about myself when I'm being harassed.

I'm hurt, frustrated, and am in a rut with this nonsense. 'Til tomorrow.

Ooh child, things are gonna get easier...ooh child, things will get brighter...

Friday, October 5, 2007

Don't Touch Me!

There were no BéBé's or other obnoxious people on my train ride home from dance last night and it was a relaxing ride home. Regardless, I sensed something would happen.

As I walked up the steps to exit the station, some teenage kid was coming down the stairs. I thought he'd pass me and keep on going, but no. He thought it'd be cute to pinch me in the crook of my left arm with his two knuckles and go "'Ey ma, whaddup."

You don't go around touching women you don't know in that intimate way...hell no! He got cursed out.

"I don't fucking know you," I said. "You don't touch me like that. You don't fucking know me! What gives you the right to touch me like that?!"

This kid seemed shocked that I was angry. I hope it eventually gets through his head that you need to get to know a person first, then decide if it's okay to get physically intimate. He definitely crossed a personal boundary with me.

Thursday, October 4, 2007

I need to brush up on Spanish...and other stories

...because the number of non-English/broken English speaking men who harassed me this past Saturday was ridiculous.

After this past Saturday, I will never set foot in Wheaton again. Not only is it the headquarters for all the loud, obnoxious and poorly-behaved BéBé's Kids to hang out at, this is also the hub for all the street harassers.

As I walked the couple of blocks to the thrift store, I walked past a guy who was hanging with his "homies." He came too close to me with his arms open as if he wanted to embrace me.

"Hey bebby [sic]," he said with a thick accent. "Come and talk to me." His friends thought it was so funny.
"You're too close, loser," I said.
"Aw...come on!" he pleaded.
"Get your ugly ass away from me!" I yelled. I don't know how I got away from that one.

Heading towards the train station after I finished thrift shopping, I walked past another guy who acted like he was going to proceed past me, but also came too close and said "hey ma...what up?" in broken English.

"Back the hell up off me!" I yelled.
"Fuck you, bitch," he said. Yes, I'm sure he gets a lot of women with his coming too close then insulting them when they tell him to back off.

I went to the Giant in Brentwood after, and this flock of Latino laborers were hanging out in the parking lot. This time, more Spanish was involved.

"Mi amor, mi amor, mi amor!" the one guy said, once again coming too goddamn close and doing overdramatic romantic gestures. His amigos thought it was hilarante...I thought it was disgusto.

Going through my head trying to remember the Spanish 101 and 102 I learned in college, I could only think of one thing:

"Feo, feo, feo!" I yelled, pointing at him. ("Ugly, ugly, ugly!")
"Mi, feo?" he asked.
"Si," I said.
This made him start speaking in English and insulting me.
"Fuck you, you're ugly," he said.
"So I go from being 'your love' to the ugliest woman you've spoken to?" I scoffed. "Man, you are stupid. Estupido!"

I walked away while he kept screaming "bitch!" and other insults at my back.

None of my reactions to the idiocy of these men worked. It just agitated them and made it riskier for me. I feel more confident when speaking up against English-speaking harassers, but totally lose it when dealing with Spanish-speaking ones. So I'm opening this post up for suggestions. If you know any ways of putting Spanish-speaking harassers in their place, please send those ideas this way!


I guess I should've been "grateful" (insert eyeroll here) that the rest of my harassers spoke English that day. I got off the train and two teenage boys were rapping then crowding around me (a common theme around these punk-ass men and boys!). The one rapped "Yo ma, I don't got your numba so I can sto' it in my phone." I looked at him with disgust and said "leave me the hell alone, man." A group of college kids on their porch witnessed his getting dismissed and laughed.

And ten minutes from my house, a group of middle-aged men were hanging out in a truck parked outside an auto shop across the street from me. They kept yelling to get my attention and wouldn't let up. After a long day of being harassed by loser men I snapped:

"SHUT THE FUCK UP! If I wanted to talk to you I would've responded by now! I don't want to talk to old-ass men yelling at me from across the street!"

That stunned them into silence...good.

Where are these men learning that this nonsense and behavior works? Crowding around a woman they don't know from Eve to physically intimidate her, insulting her and yelling from across the street DO NOT WORK! Men, if you are sincerely trying to find a woman, for the love of god find better tactics of doing such. But if you're just doing this stuff to show your masculinity and show off for your friends, then you seriously need to get a life.

I came home furious that day. I hit my inflatable punching bag a few times, but nothing released the anger I felt. If I could hit those men I'd feel better, but then I'd be the one getting in trouble and I don't want to give them that satisfaction. I tell you, these men must feel low as dirt if they need to intimidate and mistreat women the way they do.

There are times when I question why I have this blog. I sometimes feel that I've taken on too much. I just want to go about my day-to-day life, I didn't want to become a martyr. But when my day-to-day life involves being harassed by asshole men, then it's really hard to ignore. So for the time being, this blog will go on.

And I still want to have a meeting in the future. I have not forgotten that.

Sunday, September 23, 2007


I found this on YouTube. It's a short film described as "a surreal interpretation of a woman's walk down a city street." It was filmed in Brooklyn in 1995.

Times sadly haven't changed. In four and a half minutes, one can feel what this girl's going through. This is what a recipient of street harassment feels like on a regular basis---attacked, angry, scared, fed up.

Friday, September 21, 2007

I want to choke Comcast...

No, it has nothing to do with their cable has to do with their technicians not knowing how to think with their brains and not their dicks and to do their damn jobs. It's probably the reason why cable service is never on time---they're too busy hitting on women walking down the street.

I was walking home not too long ago, happy that the weekend was finally here. Less than ten minutes from my house I hear "whoo-hoo" and kissing noises. I look up to see a crusty, fat fool in the passenger seat of a van with this shit-eating grin on his face. When I noticed the "Comcast" logo on the van, I became furious.

"Leave me alone, fool!" I said, the shit-eating grin still in place.
A clown driving in the opposite direction yelled "why you act so mean?" He got dismissed too.

When I head home, I have the right to do so without being holla'd at and harassed by these punk-ass losers. Why do they feel they can yell at me, make kissing noises at me, and treat me like an object? Do these clowns have mothers and sisters? How would they feel if their female relatives were treaten as less than human? Apparently they don't care!

I couldn't get close enough to get the license plate---I even tried running to catch up to the van while it was at a light but couldn't make it. I was mad at myself---yes myself---for letting that van get away.

I thought "what can I do? I can't report them without a license plate!" but thought I'd call Comcast anyway, since I had the time of the incident, location and description of the perpetrator. Unfortunately I got bounced around, had to press this number or that number, and when I finally got a human voice she transfered me to another number that was the same thing.

I also tried to report this via e-mail, but their system only works for existing customers/potential customers. I don't want Comcast service...I just want to file a report!

Unfortunately, Comcast won the fight, but they have not won the battle.

And to the idiots that visit this site thinking we "hate men" and "want them to lose their jobs," no we don't. I speak for myself when I say I don't want anyone to lose their job, but I want them to know that treating women like that---on the clock or off---is not cool at all.

Tuesday, September 18, 2007

Hateful Loser of the Month

I don't mind comments that disagree with my views or anyone else's views on this blog, as long as you do so with tact and class. This, however, I don't like:

In response to a post from a few months ago called "Fed Ex Delivers Hollas," a blogger named Royalemonte left this message (not edited for spelling or grammar):

sounds like you had it coming. you sound like a real bitch. if thedriver had known he probably would have killed himself as opposed totalk to you. way to probably get him fired, whilest you were probablydressed like a whore anyway if he 'holla'ed at you

And Royalemonte, you sound like a real asshole. Take your hateful and illegible comments somewhere else. You my dear, like Michael before, are this month's "Loser Response of the Month."

Royalemonte came here with a Google search of "where the fuck is the fed ex guy?" (don't ask, people) and I have his IP address logged. If he comes back here for more trouble, he'll be reported to his Net provider.

Why do these people even bother? All they're asking for is to be ridiculed here.

Friday, September 14, 2007

Smoothly Putting A Loser In His Place

Blogger Smart Tart did a write-up on how she calmly put a harasser in his place.

It is not easy for me to say "stop harassing women" in a cool way. The men I encounter are loud, foul and obnoxious, and I find I have to get loud back. A lot of people say because I'm smaller the men won't take me seriously, and the only way they'll hear me is by getting loud.

There's no easy way or right or wrong answer in terms of handling harassment. The calm approach sometimes works, the loud approach sometimes works. Sometimes neither do. If I knew the panacea to this harassment problem, then I could close this blog. But until the time comes when this behavior is no longer acceptable or okay in our society, then it'll stay open and I'll keep searching for answers.

Punished For Defending Themselves

Click here for article.

Seven women are being punished because they dared to defend themselves against a misogynistic creep. Just because they said they were lesbians and rejecting his advances does not give him the right to call them names and choke one of them. It does not give him the right to get off scot-free while they serve jail time. All this because they were defending their selves and defending their rights.

I hope justice comes for the Lesbian 7, and I hope Dwayne Buckle and that horrid judge who sentenced them get the punishment they deserve.

Nubian Nuisance

No, it's not horribly harassing, and it's not as bad as being called "bitch" or followed home, but it's annoying as hell.

On my walk to the train station, a man politely smiled and said "Good morning." Very simple, no frills attached, a friendly salutation. I replied in kind.

When descending the steps to the train station, a guy clad in Afrocentric gear walking up the steps said, "Good morning, my beautiful Nubian sistah." I'm not one of those Black people who's a fan of the oversaturated "Nubian Sistah Queen Girlfriend" crap. I think it's pretentious, phony, showy, and not genuine at all. Cloying and annoying is what I find it.

"Good morning, guy I don't want to deal with," I responded. Too early in the morning.
"What---?!" he said, offended. "All I said was 'good morning.'"
"No you didn't just say 'good morning,'" I said.

The guy starts ranting like a lunatic how I need to "cut that shit off yo' head!" That was his way of implying that I wasn't "Black enough" for him and not worthy of having dreads.

I started arguing with him, but realized how ridiculous he sounded and said, "Man, you sound like a lunatic...have a nice day!" He was still screaming even when I was in the station.

I know I'm going to get a lot of negative responses to this, but I don't care. Yes, I love compliments and appreciate them. But I appreciate compliments that come from a true and genuine place, not some hackneyed crap that I'm sure would be spewed at the next girl to walk by.

Also, a person's reaction to rejection tells you if that's a person who was worth dealing with anyway. I've had experiences where I'd try to get to know a person and start a conversation and they'd blow me off. No skin off my hide. These men instead of taking rejection in stride start ranting and raving like idiots...that's someone you don't want to be bothered with.

So get to me at the comments...let me know how so "wrong" you all think I am. Not all women think alike and react alike. To some, being called "Nubian Sistah Queen" is flattering, but to me it's eyeroll-inducing.