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.

Sunday, March 25, 2007


My handle, ironically, is "Golden Silence," but that has nothing to do with handling street harassment. I came up with that handle a year ago when I started my personal blog with that same title. It has to do with my being a writer. Trust me folks, "Golden Silence" does not remain silent when it comes to dealing with street harassment.

When I lived in my hometown of Buffalo, NY, men catcalled and made comments on the streets. It was annoying, but never as bad as what I've dealt with since moving to DC. It seems that my simply being a female was an "invitation" for these men to say whatever they want.

I've been harassed in all sorts of ways by these men. I've been called a "bitch," "gay," "ugly," and have been threatened with physical violence, simply because I refused to give these men the satisfaction they wanted. Sorry, but I don't respond to "shorty," "baby," "sexy," and colorist comments such as "Redbone" and "Snowflake." I only respond to "Miss" and "Ma'am."

HollaBack DC had a great website, but it seems to have become defunct. I'm stepping in where they left off to give the women of DC a place to speak up about their ordeals with street harassment.

It happens to young women, it happens to older women, and even worse, it's happening to little girls. The harassers range in age as well...from the dirty old men to little boys who don't have positive male role models in their lives and who think telling a woman "I'mma hit dat!" is the way to get her attention.

We need support against this in any way we can. I really don't have much of that from family. Some of the female members in my family like the male attention, and one female member, instead of understanding how pissed I was at being reduced to "Redbone" by some idiot on the street, said "You are a redbone!" Others think the best thing to do is ignore it. "Men will be men," they'll say. But I refuse to accept this as normal male behavior towards women!

In time, I want to make the next step towards getting off the Net and fighting street harassment. I'm sick and tired of the loser men on the streets feeling like they can get away with this shit. It's up to all of us to make a stand. Not only women can fight back, but men, you can stand up for us whenever you see this happening to us. Let those raggedy men know that that's not the way a real man acts.

So here's a place for people to speak up about their street harassment issues. Whether it happened in a rough area like Rhode Island Avenue NE, or a ritzy area like Georgetown, speak up! Don't Be Silent!!!


IMGoph said...

alright, i'm proving my lack of knowledge of slang, but what does redbone mean?

Golden Silence said...

It's a derogatory term used towards light-skinned Black people.

A Black guy was calling me that while I was on my way to a local cafe last week. He thought that by calling me that it would "turn me on" and make me want to come hither to him. Nope...made me sick and made me want to slap him upside the head. That and "Snowflake" (also used on me by Black men...but I normally hear that used towards White women, not Black women) are the most ridiculous things I've heard coming from the mouths of these losers.

IMGoph said...

well, i suppose i have to be thankful that i don't have to deal with that kind of treatment, and i'm sorry to hear that it's so prevalent here in dc.

what i usually have to deal with is kids who like to feign toughness. when i'm biking home up rhode island avenue, i run into gangs of kids who like to jump in front of me and throw punches, trying to knock me off my bike. you try to be friendly, or at least just stay out of their way, but they'll come after you. i realize it's posturing among teens (i remember some dumb stuff i did as a kid), but it can be kind of scary sometimes.

of course, i haven't had to deal with bricks being thrown at my head like some people have biking through columbia heights.

Sara said...

I live close to U st. and I have so many stories of harassment. Thank you so much for putting up this blog. You've inspired me to open up about my run-ins.

this black girl said...

actually "redbone" is not always a derogatory term toward light-skinned black people; "redbone" simply denotes someone who is light-skinned with red undertones. it can be a compliment, an insult or simply an observation, depending on who utters the word.

Golden Silence said...

Still, you don't go screaming "Redbone! Redbone!" or anything similar to get my attention. That is low-class and tactless. Respect me as a black woman---as a human being---and refer to me as "Miss" or "Ma'am."