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.

Saturday, March 31, 2007

Disturbance at Dupont

I still deal with this crap too often to count.

After I finished volunteering at a homeless shelter for the day, I walked over to Dupont Circle. The weather was nice and I felt energetic. I wanted to practice some of my tae kwon do moves. I am at least a month away from getting my next belt, and I struggle with some of my moves.

During my 100 front punch workout, I start to hear "put more energy into it baby!" and mess like that. I ignore them and finish my punches. These fools wouldn't stop running their mouths. I am not havin' it, so I walk over to confront them.

"Ooh, you made her mad!" one of the men said. "She's comin' over!"

"Look," I said. "I'm trying to practice because I'm trying to get my next belt next month. I don't need y'all screaming and yelling at me...let me workout in peace!"
"We ain't mean nothin' by it, baby," dreadlocked dude said. Then the oldest-looking one in the group tried to explain---
"I've said my piece," I said. "Have a great day."
I went to walk back over to work out, but the oldest one wouldn't let up.
"Excuse me," he said.
"What?" I said.
"We ain't mean nothin' by it---"
"I deal with this shit every single day!" I was heated. "It's 'hey baby' or 'yo sexy'---"
"Did any one of us say that?" he said.
"Your screaming is pretty much the same damn thing!"
"You ain't need to curse. I try to come here like a gentleman, and you need to act like a lady."
"Act like a lady---ha! If I want to curse and yell because I deal with this crap everyday, then that's what I'm gonna do!"
"Look, I can treat you like a lady...or treat you like an asshole."

That comment sent me over the edge.

"I wanna tell you that if you want to practice your karate moves---"
"Tae kwon do, idiot."
"Excuse me! Tae kwon do...whatever. I was gonna tell you that if you don't want people yellin' at you then you need to go to the studio!"
That caused his friends to laugh. Ha. Ha. Whatever.

"I go to the studio three times a week! I want---and have the right---to be outside in nice weather practicing my moves! You need to leave women like me alone!"
"I'm 60 years old and I'm married!"
"Well ya need to go home to your wife!"

More laughter from the Dupont audience.

"And I was gonna tell you that you need to work on your form...and have a better thrust! And you have a good day!"

I was tired from yelling, and of yelling. That got me nowhere. Zero points for me.

I was angry and seething that I can't do squat without dealing with dirty old men. I probably would've been in a nasty mood all day if this girl who witnessed the whole thing didn't make this comment:

"That was brave. I'm glad you confronted them. I don't think I could've done that."

I tell her about this blog and she tells me that she tries to practice yoga in Dupont and idiots like that ruin it.

And while she pulled out a pen and paper (mine were in my other bag at home) for me to write down this blog's address, the men were still running their mouths:

"Oh, she scared! She gonna call the poooooooo-lice!" And more laughter.

"She's so calling the police...whatever. They don't have anything better to do," the girl said.
"Exactly," I said.

As aggravating as it is to deal with street harassment, support from peers is a really good thing to experience.


DC LifeCoach said...

They have just as much a right to yell at you for looking silly practcing your moves as you do to practice them. I would have laughed at you, too. It sounds like you went over the edge...especially when he tried to come over and apologize.

Golden Silence said...

They have just as much a right to yell at you for looking silly practcing your moves as you do to practice them.

No, they did not need to yell like that. "Put some power into it, baby!" Whatever.

I could've cared less about snickering and laughter...I'm low-ranked and still have a long way to go and going outside was a way for me to get used to the fact that I would have an audience and I need to stop caring about "looking silly." But their yelling, hooting, and hollering was uncalled for.

And I probably would've laughed at you for calling yourself a "life coach." More like "life quack."

Barb said...

I think you were brave indeed. I've done my best to confront harassers and have backed down before. KUDOS! DC life coach is an idiot who has obviously never experience sexual harassment and have most likely been a perpetrator on more than one occasion.

Let's hope next time the other women won't wait for you to back down. I bet you'd really make a statement if you confronted them together.

Tips, never yell -- it just incites them. Calmly say, "Stop harassing women. I don't like it. No one does. Show some respect." If you want to talk to them -- explain why you don't like it. If they are unteachable -- just repeat, "SHOW SOME RESPECT"

Golden Silence said...

Barb, thanks for your comments!

Your positive feedback trumps DC Lifecoach's idiocy.