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, June 30, 2007

I'm losing the battle against street harassment

I'm tired. The street harassment has gotten so bad that I need to be coerced to leave my house. As bored as I get being cooped up in this small apartment, I dread having to leave the house. I get a shaky and nervous feeling that runs from my head to my legs. My mentality's gone from "let me be prepared in case street harassment happens" to "let me be prepared because street harassment will happen." I guess it's in vain to ask for the Lord to give me strength when I don't go to church on Sundays.

My brother's birthday's in a few days and I had to get him something. I garnered the energy to head to Pentagon City to get him a few things. I had to transfer from the Red Line to Yellow Line, and as I walked along the Yellow Line platform I heard the middle of some man's conversation then:

"Ooh-wee! Well, hello!"

I hate that perverted tone these men get in their voices. And I hate that he did this overdramatic double-take when I walked by. I turned around and gave him a nasty look.

"Yes, I said 'hello'," he said.
"Don't talk to me like that," I said and continued on.

As I got off at Pentagon City, I noticed my reflection in the doors' windows. Haggard, tired, sad.

I rushed and got all I needed, then headed back to the train station. I walk by two teenage boys, and one of them said, "girl, you need to sit next to me," and pointed at the seat next to him. His friend laughed.

"Excuse me," I said. "Did you say 'girl, sit next to me'?"
"Yeah," the kid said.
"Don't tell me what the hell to do! I'll sit where I goddamn please! You learn how to respect women and go about your business!" I said what I had to say and walked away. To my back there was a lot of snickering, giggling, and "she[sic] ugly anyway."

I got back to my neighborhood and went to the drugstore and market to get some things I needed. I proceeded on home and waited at a light (near the spot where the men always hang out). Some creepy older man was starting to cross coming towards me, and he said "hey, baby!" to a car he passed. Oh, shit.

I was just not in the mood. He "hey, baby'd" me and I was silent. I just wanted to get home...boy, did I just want to get home.

"You're allowed to talk," he said.
Here we go trying to tell me how to govern my actions.
"I don't feel like talking," I said.
"That's why I said 'you're allowed to talk'," he said.
"Don't tell me what to do---leave me the hell alone! I'm tired, trying to get home and I'm sick of men on the street bothering me EVERY! SINGLE! DAY! I am sick---"
"I'm trying to help you get a husband---I'm trying to help you get a husband---"
Everyone who was nearby stopped in their tracks...well, almost everybody.

"You won't get a husband like that," the man continued on.
I took the time to gather some semblance of calm and continue home. Five minutes away...only five minutes away...

"Boo," I heard. "Boo---boo! Boo-boo---" Two men (at least one was a man, I couldn't tell with the other) sitting on that same damn bench were trying to talk to me. Ignoring them seemed to have no effect, since they wouldn't let up. I approached them.

"Look," I said. "I am trying to get home. I don't want to talk to some raggedy, uneducated fools loitering at a bus stop---LEAVE ME ALONE!!!!!"
They got quiet. A middle-aged couple had seen this across the street and spoke to each other. I couldn't hear what they said, but I knew they said something about the incident.

I felt a tightness in my shoulders. My body shook as I breathed in and out, trying to keep my calm until I got into the safety of my apartment. I made it home and broke down. (If my eyes weren't so daggone sensitive from wearing contacts I probably would've cried more.) I'm losing this battle, and I'm feeling like putting up that white flag.

I had no intention of living in DC forever, and I am about ready to move out of this area. I looked up the cost of living adjustment and pretty much every place I looked up has a lower COLA than DC. This city is leaving a horrid taste in my mouth. I am bored, lonely, friendless in this area, and am sick of leaving the house to face abuse on the streets. I don't do anything to deserve being treated like an object to drool over or a human punching bag for these men to put their insecurities on. It's time to move out and move on.

Until that day comes, I won't stop trying to make the streets safer for women in DC. I hope more people can support me in that battle.

Woman vs. Machine

It's hard enough dealing with men on the street harassing us, but even worse than that is when a man tries to harass a female pedestrian from his car. It's infuriating, intimidating, and flat-out dismissal of women's rights to walk the streets as they choose.

Harassers in their cars do all sorts of things to bother harassees---beep their horns loudly to get their attention, scream stupid things from their cars, making kissing noises and sounds from their cars, and use their cars to stalk their victims. It's hard to handle harassment from cars because they can drive fast and make it hard to miss the driver and license plate number, and you never know where it'll come from.

My recent experience with car harassers had me furious. I was walking home from the train station two days ago and I noticed a maroon SUV drive by. I proceed towards the main street and I hear "psst...psst! Excuse me!"

I made the mistake of turning around. It was the same maroon SUV I'd seen drive by, with two middle-aged men in it. These idiots turned around and tried to drive back towards me---the nerve!

"NOOOOOO!" I yelled. With car harassers, you've gotta be louder and be heard.
These fools thought my screaming in anger was funny, so they started laughing.
"This isn't fucking funny," I yelled. "Go away and leave me the hell FUCKING STALKERS!"

Those fools knew they were wrong and drove off. Why is my autonomy threatened so much by these men? It was 6 in the evening and still sunny outside, and I wanted to enjoy it while I could. I'm sick and tired of these men threatening my right to walk home!

When these men are using their cars as a method to stalk women, it unnerves me. When I lived in Buffalo, some guy kept circling the block as I tried to get home, and he kept doing "the lean" when he saw me---arm wrapped around the steering wheel, leaning his body close, and glaring too hard. I noticed this, and opted not to go straight home. I walked in a circuitous and crazy path to throw him off, and eventually he backed off and drove off.

I've had men slow their cars down to match my pace and that pisses me off. Back in Buffalo, some men tried to talk to me from their beat-up car, and even when I said "go the hell away" they wouldn't. And when I lived in Alexandria, a man blocked traffic on a moderately busy street in his rusty blue pickup to talk to me. Even though horns were blaring and drivers were pissed, he refused to move. I wanted to head into a public place. There was a strip mall plaza on that street, but the only way to get to it was to walk by his truck, and that was something I was not willing to do. The man continued to hit on me and eventually taunt me, so I took note of his license plate and called the police.

"Go ahead and call your boyfriend," he said, in a whiny, taunting tone. "You ain't callin' no police!"

The guy eventually drove off, and the police said they'd try to track him down. Bullshit. I knew they weren't going to do anything. I was extremely furious after that incident. I was heading towards the library and then to volunteer, and that incident ruined my mood. I lashed out at any man who tried to talk to me, even if they were trying to be friendly. Thank you car harasser, you won that battle.

I also hate it when some clown in the passenger side tries to "holla." The hell?! When they do that, I have to let them know how much of a fool they looked and sounded like.

I think this form of harassment needs to be made illegal. Your car is supposed to be a method of getting from Point A to Point B, not as a weapon for harassment. People should be free to walk the streets without worrying about someone in a car threatening their livelihood.

I hope and pray that no more car harassment incidents end this tragically..

Thursday, June 28, 2007

Statement From Kimberly Klinger

Kimberly Klinger had written two pieces which were published in last week's edition of the Washington City Paper. A lot of mixed reaction came in response to them, so she had written a statement clarifying herself, and asked if she could use DBS as the medium to do so.

Here is her statement:

In the wake of my articles' publication in the
Washington CityPaper, I've come to learn so much more
about harassment and the converging views on it. With
each blog post and reader comment I find a new way to
look at the problem. I've also found that my original
intentions have been a bit misrepresented, so I'd like
to clear some things up - and also, to make a call to

I’ll start by reinforcing my opinions about the
intersection of race and harassment. My article was
simply meant to explore the ugly feelings I've found
myself having after being the victim of street
harassment. Because in my daily life in Washington my
harassers are usually Latino or Black, I now have
knee-jerk reactions of fear and anger when I pass men
of those races on the street. I called it racism
because that's what it felt like: an illogical,
negative sentiment towards people of a race different
than mine. I don't feel like that all the time,
towards every Latino or Black man, and I do know in
both my heart and my head that not all Latino and
Black men are guilty of harassment or worthy of fear
and anger. What I'm truly mad about is street
harassment, plain and simple. It can and does come
from men of any color at any time, and my experiences
are just that: my experiences.

However, there are some who worry that speaking
honestly about these experiences amounts to racism -
that I am giving the real racists out there another
reason to hate Latino and Black men. Floating around
in society is the idea that Latino and Black men are
apt to harass, and harass more than white men or men
of any other race, because it is a part of their
culture. This is neither true nor fair, and my essay
was not meant to perpetrate this. I also realize that
my essay does not even begin to scratch the surface of
the larger discussion on race, class, and harassment.
It was simply meant to show that my anger from being
harassed would occasionally take me to a place where I
had to remind myself of something I know and know
deeply: that just because a nasty, false stereotype is
played out in front of me from time to time does not
make it true.

The majority of the time, my anger with harassment
stays strictly that: I am truly outraged that so many
women deal with harassment on a daily basis. I'm glad
to hear their voices ringing out loud and clear
(metaphorically) all over the Internet, but that's
really the only positive thing I can cop to. It's
disheartening to hear so many women say "yep, me too"
- and know that there are so many more who are not
speaking up for any number of reasons.

But we should keep it up, because it seems like the
only thing we can do is speak up. As it is with rape
and other forms of sexual violence and discrimination
the onus of fighting harassment seems to be falling to
women. It's not fair, of course, and the fight can be
futile at times, as evidenced by the women who attempt
to confront their harassers only to find themselves
being insulted and threatened. I leave it up to each
individual woman to decide whether or not she wants to
fight in that way. But I do believe women should fight
in some way - whether it's on the street, in a bar, in
the classroom, or on a blog - because if it is up to
us to stop harassment, then we better get a move on. I
commend every woman who has shared her story here or
found another creative way to fight harassment.

And I propose this: If the prime way for us to fight
this is to talk (or "talk" via the Internet) about it,
then prepare to be absolutely overwhelmed with women
talking about harassment.

Because the more we talk, the more people realize that
this problem is not to be taken lightly. The more we
talk, the more people will join in the fight. The more
we talk, the more we realize there is a community of
women who support each other and share a common
experience. The more we talk, the more men will feel
compelled to join in - to check their own behavior and
the behavior of their fellow men, and to add their
voices to the ringing chorus of people who want women
to be able to walk down the street peacefully.

So keep talking. Don't stop until the harassment
stops. Don't "suck it up" because it's just "part of
being a woman". It's high time "part of being a woman"
did not include putting up with blatant
discrimination, hate-mongering, objectification and
threats. Harassers should be scared. Women have been
facing discrimination for centuries, but we haven't
been beaten yet. And we sure as hell won't be now.

Kimberly Klinger
Washington DC
June 28, 2007

Catcalling on the Radio

Liz sent me the link to a call-in radio show, Kane at Hot 99.5. They did one on street harassment.

Click on this link, then scroll down to 6/26---Meow, Hey Mami (yeah, I know the title's extremely lame) to listen to it.

ETA: Listening to it doesn't seem like the people on the show seem to get it or care. Street harassment to them is a laughing matter to them---trust me, it is not funny at all.

Double Troubles

Amy from Baltimore, MD had two incidents to tell about:

I was at a Walgreens a few years ago picking up some things I needed, and these two creepy men that looked like they came out of a rundown shack in the backwoods of WV were lurking around the store, checking out the women without shame.. I kept my distance from them as best I could, but then they came down the shampoo aisle where I was and the one guy came up by me and called to his friend, "Hey look at this one, she has big tits!!" His friend came up and started to check me out like I was on display at the fricken zoo! They were not even three feet away from me. I felt so disgusted that I just left the store and didn't even bother finish my shopping there. What's worse is that they were like 50+ years old and I was just a teenager at the time!! Assholes. I wish I could go back in time and get them in trouble. Thanks for letting me vent.

Ugh. I could never understand why old men feel the need to "pursue" young women...or in this case, harass and creep them out. Nasty!

Here's her second story:

I just made one submission, but I got to thinking about another incident that upset me and want to get it out.

My friends and I used to hang out at the dead end of my street. There's only one house down there set back a ways, and the owners didn't mind us teenagers hanging out down there if we didn't carry on too badly. I was suppose to meet one of my friends down there to hang out but she was running late, so I just sat down on the pavement and waited for her. There was this neighborhood boy that used to make advances on me, but I always refused him and kept away He'd say things like, "If you were my girl, I'd fuck your brains out." and would stalk around my house when I was sitting on the porch, calling my name or singing rap songs to me with sexually explicit lyrics. He was a real charmer, let me tell you. Well, I had to pass by his house to get to the end of the street, and he saw me go by when I did, so he came out and followed me after a few minutes. I was uneasy when I saw him coming, but I kept my cool and brought up my guard just in case he tried anything. I was comforted by the fact my friend would be there any minute. He kept his distance at first and just made some small talk, but then he came forward suddenly and grabbed my shoulders and tried to force me to lay back on the ground. It all happened so fast, but I freaked out and started to attack him by punching, kicking, screaming. He let go and stumbled back yelling, "Yo, yo! That hurt!! You hurt me!!" I screamed, "It was suppose to, you fucking moron. Don't ever touch me! Get the hell away from me! Don't touch me! Get away!!" He ran up the street. My friend came running down not even a minute later and asked me what happened because she saw the guy run past her crying, talking about how I hit him. He seriously had some mental problems or something, we even called him Crazy Mike.

My guy friends found out about what happened and paid a visit to him to warn him to never bother me or any of the other girls in the neighborhood. After that incident he never caused me any problems again.

Though the first story didn't have a positive ending, I'm glad there was a better outcome for the second one. Mental problems or not, if someone is persistently bothering you, then that person is a harasser!

Speaking of rap, I wish someone would make a rap or song about street harassment. Sure, TLC had "No Scrubs," but that song is more about the men who do this than about actual street harassment. I wish there were a song about street harassment so any time some fool tried to pull this mess, we could either sing it really loudly or blast it out of our radios! Hey, it's a thought!

"Holla" By Bike

Here is CC's story of some fool bothering her:

I was walking to the Braddock Road metro this morning when some old dude with white hair on a bike comes rolling up on the sidewalk. (Side note: bikers on the sidewalk are ANOTHER of my pet peeves, but that's not the point of this story.) I am the only person walking on the sidewalk.

"Hello there," he said, and I watch his eyes lower to my breasts. His face breaks out in a huge grin.

"FUCK YOU!" I shouted at him. It seemed to surprise him, because in his haste to get the hell away from me, he stumbled a bit on his bike.

Stupid asshole.

Thanks for your blog and your contribution to the fight to end street harassment,

You're welcome, CC!

He wouldn't have stumbled had he kept his eyes on the road and not on some innocent woman's chest. That fool deserved to be embarrassed.

Female Harasser

A lot of these stories portray men as harassers and women as the receivers of harassment, but that's definitely not always the case. Ramone tells the story of a woman who harassed him:

Hi Golden Silence,

I love the blog and wanted to share my own story with you, I'm a guy, but I think most stories of harassment are similar, regardless of gender. I was at a local dance club, just out with some friends, trying to have a good time and unwind from the week. I wasn't looking for a girlfriend, as I'm pretty much staying away from relationships right now (I've been hurt too much recently).

So I'm out dancing and a girl asks me if she can buy me a drink. I politely decine and continue to dance. Ten minutes later, the same girl comes up to me and begins grinding against me, shoving her ass right into my crotch area. I walk away from her but she zooms around to the other side of me and starts rubbing her front against me, saying "you know you want it daddy." I just screamed at her, "Bitch, you aren't my daddy! Get away from me." She called me a faggot and threw a drink in my face. After that, they threw me out of the club.

I was really creeped out by this whole incident, not too mention humiliated by this girl and then assualted by the bouncer. I had to get this off my chest, I've had it with these over aggressive women.

The thing that bothers me is that even though the girl was the one doing the aggressive acts, Ramone was the one kicked out of the club. Once again, we need to realize that men aren't always the perpetrators and that women aren't always the victims. The roles do switch.

Wednesday, June 27, 2007

Tuesday, June 26, 2007

Shout It To The World

I have been sick these past few days, under the weather, dealing with job stress, and the only thing I wanted to do after work was get home, throw on my pajamas and the air conditioning and go to sleep.

The last thing I wanted to deal with was a group of corny fools hanging out on the streets.

I choose to walk home from the train station as opposed to catching a bus because I would love to avoid crowds as much as possible, it saves me money, the weather's nice and I get my exercise. The same group of men that I have featured not once, but twice on this blog were using that bus stop as their hangout, as usual. They hang out there every time I walk near there. It seems as if that's their only occupation---to harass women on the street. They were out there when I went to the market Saturday to buy things. They were out there yesterday morning as I walked to the train station to get to work. And they are out there as I speak, doing nothing but causing trouble. They don't change their clothes, they don't change their demeanor, they don't do SHIT to contribute to society!

So about fifteen minutes ago, I passed by there on my way home and I heard "miss, miss...yo, yo...psst...psst."

If I wanted to talk to any of these clowns, I would've done so the first time I encountered them. If I didn't respond to you the first time or the SECOND time, what makes you think I'll respond the THIRD damn time?!

I thought I could get away without having to say anything but one of them runs over to talk to me.

"Yo...yo!" he says. Yo...yo?! Does it look like I have the brand name Duncan stamped to my forehead?!

I responded back. You're supposed to match intensity with the harasser, but dealing with these clowns multiple times, not feeling well, and dealing with street harassment for a decade brought a lot of anger out of me.

"LEAVE ME THE FUCK ALONE!!!!" I yelled. "I want to get HOME!!!! I don't want to deal with some sorry losers hanging out at a GODDAMN bus stop every time I try to get home! Leave ME AND EVERY OTHER WOMAN who walks past this area ALONE!!!"

The dude backs off and goes back to his group. No backtalk, no ignorant comments, no threats---the dude backs off and leaves me alone. I was lucky...this time. When I spoke up the first time these clowns didn't get the hint to leave people alone...what guarantee do I have that today's instance will be the last?

There is no guarantee. I know that I want those men to find some place else to hang out. That is a public bus stop, not a private hangout, and people who want to use that spot the way it was intended should be able to feel free to do so without loitering losers congregating there. I'm going to have to get the neighborhood involved in this one. It is such a quiet, friendly, tight-knit community, and fools like these men ruin that peaceful environment we want to maintain. I will keep you posted as development on "Operation: Fools Be Gone!" continues.

Monday, June 25, 2007

Pricks and Porno Cards

Someone on Feministing brought up the "Porno Cards," which says "Hey, wanna get laid?" on the front (with a silhouette of a woman on the front) and lists ways for men to stop harassing women. I printed a few of these out at work and was going to hand these out if fools tried to talk to me on the streets.

Heading towards Dupont Circle Station some clunky-looking clown in a wifebeater was unloading a truck in front of CVS.

"Hey, baby...c'meer, c'meer," dude says, while trying to grab for me. Dude, I don't know you! I put my hand up to gesture "don't touch me."

"Oh, my bad," he says. I pull one of the porno cards out of my purse and hand it to him. He only sees the side that says "Wanna get laid?"

"Ooh, thank you, thank you!" he says, flattered.
"Dude, turn it around," I said. "You are a street harasser! Good day."

Unfortunately he was fixated on the front of the card. Damn. I guess that method doesn't work because these street harassing idiots are too single-minded.

Foulmouthed at Friday's

Here's one from the inbox:

I just finished reading the City Paper article and all I can say is you go girl! I've had bottles thrown at me, been chased, called an untold amount of dirty names and just been verbally and physically harassed in the streets of DC since I was 13 years old.

I was at the TGI Friday's on Penn Ave last year sitting at the bar chatting with my friend who was working as a bartender there at the time. These two guys came in and sat next to me. Now, I usually say hello to anyone that sits next to me, but they were loud and cursing bitch this and bitch that, so I turned away from them and made it a point to never turn back. One of them gets up and walks all the way around the bar and sits on the other side of me. At the time I didn't realize it was one of them because I made a point to not look at them and give them any idea of speaking to me. He sits next to me and says hello, just like a sane person. I responded with hello. Within 1 minute, the conversation took a nosedive into "when was the last time someone ate your pussy?" I made eye contact with the security guard, a female, and she walked over and told him if he couldn't respect the patrons, he would have to leave. Of course, she and I got called every kind of bitch in the book and I thought for a minute she would have to call back-up, but his friend came over and pulled him away from us and they left.

I think many men don't understand that we're not against them speaking, as long as they are courteous and back off when we clearly want them to. I've met some great guys that have just walked up to me and said hi. If a man is courteous, he will get a courteous response from me. I'm not interested in a relationship. No, I'm not married, I don't have a boy/girlfriend, I'm not bitter and I shouldn't have to explain why I'm not interested to any man. I should just have to make it known that I'm not interested and that should be enough for any reasonable man to accept.

I don't think I'm better than anyone out there, I'm not waiting for Richie Rich or Studly Stud, I just want to be able to go about my life and be left alone sometimes. Don't take it personal when I don't respond to you. Don't assume that you are important to me at all. You aren't. When I'm stand-offish, I want to be left alone and it most likely has absolutely nothing to do with you.

That said, sadly, women that have hit one me are sometimes just as bad as the guys are.

Keep up the great work! I'll be a regular reader from now on. I used to have a blog on blogspot, but like so many things in my life, it fell by the wayside.

Sign me,
Female enduring depressing upsetting propositions

Thanks for the story FED UP! Not only am I glad someone stepped in to intervene in her story, but that it was a woman at that. We are told to have each others' backs as sisters, but oftentimes women turn the other cheek to other women. We have to support each other and be strong in the face of harassment. And also, I am glad that the guy's friend realize that talking to a woman like that is not cool and got his friend out of there. Well done.

Catcall Management Strategies---another City Paper write-up

Is anyone capable of taking street harassment seriously? "The Anti-Ernest's" comment makes me cringe.

Friday, June 22, 2007

Feministing Critique on Recent City Paper Write-Up

Here. A lot of comments worth reading are posted on it as well.

A Take on the City Paper's Cover Story

This is from Noel:

Maybe its because we(average dudes) don't all own(or lease like most of the douch bags these woman are used to dealing with) a 6 series and listen to The White Stripes.

[Rudy] Contreras is right on both claims. "Its tough in D.C." It really is. I moved back here from New York and I could tell straight away what the differences were. Its almost like Boston out here with the unfriendly/standoff-ish attitudes that frequent the sidewalks of this town. Even when dressed nicely She shrugged of a guy who approches her with "Excuse me young lady?"? Did she want him to bring a credit report perhaps a pay stub to show he's not hittin on someone who's out of his tax bracket?

This is the argument that street harassers ruin it for all good men. Women who are subjected to this mess on a daily basis become hardened to any man that tries to approach her---I can relate to that. We'd rather be safe than sorry. I'm sure you have good intentions, but in the same token realize where these women are coming from. Maybe some day you'll find someone who'll reciprocate.

Harassment at Work

I just got this in my inbox from Mari:

This isn't street harassment, but maybe you could include this on your site to raise some support. I am being sexually harassed by the President of the non-profit I work for, and the organization is just trying to cover it
up. The whole story is at

If you can include the web site on your site somehow,
maybe someone will notice and help.

Good luck in your case, Mari. The workplace should be a safe haven for everyone who works there, not a place of unwanted sexual harassment.

I was originally NOT going to allow this comment...

I saw this comment awaiting moderation from Michael in response to my post on the harassment I dealt with in NYC. I originally was not going to publish it because I thought it was ignorant, tacky and hateful, but I thought here's the opportunity for a new feature:

you just sound like an angry-ass bee-atch. I hope you get harassed until youz too ug-lay.

Thanks, Michael. I kept your illiterate and illegible comment intact. Thanks for showing how much of a cowardly loser you are. From this point on, any comments that have no thought or no intelligence put into them will be featured as "Hateful Loser of the Month." Once again, thanks Michael for your inspiration!


Thursday, June 21, 2007

City Paper Street Harassment Video

The City Paper also did a video chronicling street harassment. The harasser is in obvious denial of his ability to pick up women by trying to "holla" at them. A receiver of street harassment is interviewed as well, and you can tell she's the type who's not gonna be havin' it!


Si has an update to her previous submission:

Congrats! [regarding mention in Washington City Paper]

Oh oh this is tooo funny (and gross).

Okay...a couple days ago I was walking up 19th by Dupont sipping my coffee, zoning out to NPR. I glance over to a parked car (black BMW) because the occupant was a very large beefy man in a white tank top that really contrasted with his very dark skin. As I walked by I did a double-take because he was splayed out in the front seat, windows all open, staring me down & er...pleasuring himself slowly. Showing it all. My reaction was a combination of EW!, WTF??!!, and a lot of chuckling as I kept walking. I bumped into my father-in-law across the street and warned him to look away.

P.S. The "Jugs of Joy" group are now polite when I go by!

While I'm sorry you had to look at that mess on a nice walk, I'm glad the men from your previous story are leaving you alone. It just shows that speaking up and taking action does wonders.

Washington City Paper Mention

I was interviewed by the City Paper about "Don't Be Silent," and the online article can be found here. There were also other write-ups on street harassment, which can be found here and here.

Wednesday, June 20, 2007

Response to my last DBS entry

I know that by having blogs, I open myself to judgment and criticism. I got a letter in my inbox that I needed to respond to. The letter is from a male reader named Rick:

Hi, I've been reading your blog (which is great) and there are some things I wanted to share with you. You really shouldn't be traveling alone, locally or to other cities. It's not safe, especially if you continue to verbally provoke every man on the street who looks at you.

I might as well stay home with an apron on baking cookies and giving my husband his pipe and slippers. I felt that statement of "you shouldn't travel alone" was a little harsh. I realize it's not a woman's world, but I'm not one to stay home because I lack travel companions. And your comment of "if you continue to verbally provoke every man on the street who looks at you" was a strong judgment. I only respond to those who try to hit on me, get too close, or make inappropriate comments. As I walk down a street, lots of people look at me...I only respond to the ones who don't know how to respect a woman's space.

Also, after reading your latest post it felt like you were inviting trouble. You went to a concert alone and actively looked for a band member after the show. It also didn't help your cause that you were so angry when you found out that the band member was no longer there. Anger is not a logical response to that situation.

Once again, do I, as a woman, not have the right to travel solo? I would like you to pick up A Woman Alone: Travel Tales From Around The Globe from your local library or Barnes & Noble. Feel free to tell those women they shouldn't travel alone. And as for "being angry"? I feel I have every right to have whatever emotion I please. It was more of an annoyance and frustration than rage.

Finally, some writing advice. "Hell hath no fury on a Duranie scorned" is inaccurate. The quote you were looking for is "Hell hath no fury like a woman scorned". The way you wrote it doesn't really make any sense.

Well, forgive me for my grammatical error of using "on" instead of "like." But please understand what it means to play with words...substituting "Duranie" for "woman."

I hope you can take this criticism constructively. If I wanted to flame you in public I would have done it on the blog comments. After reading your blog I worry about you because of your tendency to put yourself in dangerous situations and to lash out at strangers on the street. I'm not condoning harassment but one woman's actions will not change the way men behave and will only endanger you. Writing the blog is a great way to get guys to think about their actions on the street.

I took the constructive criticism and destructed it, analyzed it, and put it back together again. I know I'm going to have many critics and naysayers in the up-and-coming months, so I better develop a thicker skin.

Monday, June 18, 2007

NYC Street Harassment---on my supposed vacation!

I spent the weekend in NYC so I could attend a Duran Duran concert. Dealing with street harassment on my home turf is bad enough...but why does it have to happen on my vacation?

On Saturday, as I left Penn Station and walked up Seventh Avenue to go to my hotel, some dorky White kid was practicing his lame lines on women that walked by.

"Hey girl, I wanna get wit' you!" he said, checking out some girl's butt.
"No you didn't!" I yelled.
"I wanna get wit' you too!" loser said to me.
"Loser, get a life," I said, and continued to my hotel.

When I left back out to check out the area, I got hit on by so many daggone men. They get too close, invade personal space, and use a sense of unsettling intimacy that you just don't use with a stranger on the street. I found myself yelling, cursing, and telling these men to "leave me the hell alone!" most of the time.

Sunday was no better. Some man on W 42nd Street (near Port Authority) was like "hey sweetness, can I talk to you?" and I said "no!" That got me called a "stuck-up bitch."

I bought some flowers (one of which I stupidly thought I could throw to a certain member of the band) and walked back to my hotel. Some guy said, "hey baby...are those for me?" to which I replied "no...leave me alone." He goes from saying "that's cool" to "cold, psycho bitch."

I got dressed for the concert in a turquoise tunic with purple lettering from H&M, black leggings, tan boots, and a silver chain around my waist. I didn't think the outfit was revealing at all. I left my hotel around 7ish---still daylight---to walk to the Hammerstein. Two thuggish-looking clowns slowed their roll, got too close and tried to talk to me. All I wanted to do was get to that concert in one piece.

"Hey sexy mama!" one said.
"Can we talk to you?" the other said.
These fools were leaning so close and I wanted to get away.
"Ugh...ugly loser guys," I said.
"So you don't like a lesbian?" they said.
"I don't like ugly, loser, ghetto, tacky guys who bother women on the streets," I said. "LEAVE ME ALONE!"

I got in the (long) line to the concert irate. Why do these men feel they can say whatever they want to women, make them physically uncomfortable, and make our lives hell? Can't we walk down the street in peace? I found myself feeling vulnerable. I normally feel tough, walk tough, and stand up to these guys. But I wasn't on home turf (regardless of visiting NYC a few times) and didn't feel at ease. Though the Hammerstein was a short trip to my hotel, I thought about spending money on a cab because I didn't feel safe.

After the concert ended I went to the diner and met nice people. I then left, first with the intention of going to the hotel. Some strange guy who looked like a fat Mr. Clean offered me a ride. "NO...I don't know you!!!" I yelled. He in turn calls me a "stupid bitch."

I ended up going to the back exit area of the Hammerstein, thinking I could see that particular band member. Someone told me he had exited, signed autographs and left, so I, feeling sad and angry, walked to the hotel in defeat. That fear I felt was gone. I was not going to let these clowns on the street cow me. I don't get scared in why would I get scared in NYC? If any fool tried to fuck with me, I would use every technique in martial arts I've learned to strike his raggedy ass.

I made it to the hotel safely...and am now back in DC safely. Hell hath no fury on a Duranie scorned.

As angry as I am that these clowns subject verbal abuse on me and other women on a daily basis, I was happy to see that "Don't Be Silent" got a mention on DC Blogs. I'm glad to know that more people are reading, contributing, and taking this site more seriously.

Friday, June 15, 2007

Away from the desk

I'll be away from the computer for the weekend, so any submissions/moderated posts in my inbox from that time period won't be put on the site until Tuesday at the latest.

Let's hope I don't have out-of-town "hollas" to report!

Be strong and stay safe!

The proper way to talk to a woman

I was hardened to the catcalls, horn beeps and hollas out of cars on my walk home that I had nearly forgotten what it means to be respected on the streets.

A minute into my journey, a well-dressed kid in his late teens-early 20s gave me a pleasant smile and a "how are you doing, ma'am?" I smiled and responded back.

Closer to my home, a middle-aged man with a yappy little Yorkie also said "hello." Once again, I responded in kind.

With all the losers out there, it's easy to forget that there are good men out there with good intentions. If you have positive stories of street interaction, feel free to share them as well! No act of kindness is minute!

Thursday, June 14, 2007

More Harassment on Metro

This came into my inbox from a contributor who would like to remain anonymous.

This is my last week living in DC before I migrate out to Western Maryland, so the fact that my last Metro ride as a local should involve being harassed by a jerk...I don't know if it is par for the course or just disappointing.

I was meeting a friend who was in town from Alabama in Union Station and we were together on the Red Line heading out to Dupont Circle for some lunch and catching up. It was standing room only and us being two young, more-or-less able-bodied people, we took the bar and kept chatting. As people came off and on, a tall, young man kept playing music clips loudly on his cell phone and slowly but steadily made his way up to me and my friend. I--foolishly? bravely? impulsively?--put myself between my friend and him, just in case, and I was rewarded with this young man deciding to rub bodily up against me like a cat expecting to be petted, albeit crotch-first, singing unintelligibly in my ear.

It happened so quick, I didn't have a chance to shove him off. The train stopped, off he went, and I was standing there, feeling like I reeked of cheap cologne and like I'd just been violated. I don't think my friend noticed too much; if she did, we certainly didn't speak of it.

I should have shoved him off and yelled at him, but I froze up. This has happened to be every time I've gotten harassed on the street in DC, from getting fondled by a homeless man outside my work in Silver Spring to being shoved into a corner and rubbed up against by a schlub in a business suit the first time I took the Metro into the city alone. I've wanted to love DC, but the harassment has coloured my perception of the city, and now, despite how much fun I've had in town, I'm quite ready to flee for less populated portions of Maryland thanks to these schmucks.

Keep up the good work. I wish I'd known about your blog and the other HollaBacks when I first moved to the city.

Hearing about this stuff breaks my heart. I get so angry hearing about these men who think that women are theirs to do whatever they want with. In the same token, I've heard too many stories of women not fighting back. Please, please, PLEASE do whatever you can to stop him! You may not be physically strong enough to tackle him, but push him off, knee him in the groin, yell "get off me!"---anything to let these fools know that you won't be having it! Don't worry about the's more important to defend yourself and get out safely than worry about what others would think. Until the day comes when men learn to keep their hands---and their members---to themselves, we've gotta be strong and defend ourselves.

Monday, June 11, 2007

Harassment on Metro

Dealing with buses that don't run on time, stalling trains, tourists blocking the escalators and other issues are things that a commuter using the Metro system has to deal with on a regular basis. Dealing with men bothering women on public transportation is something we should not have to deal with. Here are some examples of what these men do to make women feel uncomfortable.

1) Spreaders---These men sit next to women and spread their legs open so wide that they're taking up half of the woman's seat as well as their own. It is his way of "marking his territory." Speak up and tell the man to close his legs. On a bold day, I spread my legs when some clown did this and nudged him hard. He immediately closed his legs again. On another day I mocked some guy sitting across from me doing this, and he immediately closed his. Men, I know that on average you tend to be bigger than us women, but you're not that big...close it up.

2) Getting too close---Sometimes we have to be cheek to cheek on a crowded bus or train, but it's easy to tell when some man is taking advantage of this. If some man uses this opportunity to grab you or rub himself against you, push him off and get away from him as much as you can. Also yell to direct attection to his disgusting actions.

3) Exposing themselves and/or masturbating----No. Just no. That is the most heinous thing to do on a train or bus. Do what you can to draw attention to his perverted behavior, get away from him immediately, and call security.

4) Trying to talk to you when you're not interested---The hardest part is that you're "stuck" on the train or bus with these fools with little space to go. On a (thankfully short) ride home from the train station, some man tried to talk to me. He said "hi" and I said "hi." He then tried to tell me about some PGC party which I told him I had no interest in, so he proceeds to berate me and call me "little girl" and other horrid names. I tried to tell the bus driver to get this man to leave me alone, but...

5) When Metro employees are part of the problem---the bus driver did not do a daggone thing when I told him to get this man to leave me alone. I know English wasn't this guy's first language, but he should've been able to tell that something was going on. I felt that it was a lose/lose battle. Thank god that man got off...albeit a stop before mine.

There are times when Metro employees tend to, ahem, forget that they're in uniform and on the job. In one of the street harassment list servs I used to be on, there was one story of a Metro worker who saw a pregnant woman and said, "Pregnant pussy is the best pussy." Record disgusting and degrading. I truly hope that clown was reported.

Another instance of inappropriate behavior by a Metro employee is being chronicled by Liz at An OC girl living in an extraordinary world. This bus driver seems to be using his route as a chance to pick up women. He needs to worry about keeping on scheduled time than spending time with the female passengers.

And lastly, my recent story, which Liz chronicled---getting the runaround by Metro. Last month I was exiting my train station to walk home, when two Metro employees were sitting at the top of the staircase. One of them was talking about looking for to hook up with, and he pointed at me and said, "I wanna get wit' dat." I immediately walked over to take a look at his nameplate, and his friend says "peekaboo." Unfortunately I didn't get the co-worker/friend's name because I wanted to get away from those clowns. As soon as I got home I sent a complaint via their online system. I got a phone call that Monday from some woman, and by the time I got around to calling her back a man calls and says that the first woman was out sick. I play phone tag with this guy then finally get in touch and tell him my story. A week later, a third person (woman) calls and tells me to get in touch. I didn't want to answer the same questions so I didn't call her. Then a fourth person calls a week later (male) asking the same things and I got fed up.

I called this man back and left a message that I felt I was getting the runaround. He calls back and apologizes 50 times. He said that the reason why I was getting so many calls was that both Metrobus and Metrorail were trying to find out who this employee was. This man has a common last name and the nameplate only has the first initial. Regardless, the time, date and location couldn't narrow him down? Frustrating.

A lot of us cannot afford our own transportation so we rely on Metrobus and Rail to get around. While we can easily put these space-invading male passengers in their place, who's going to put Metro employees in theirs?

ETA: Here is a sixth---

6) Old men trying to talk to younger women (even teenage girls) on Metro---Foilwoman chronicled an instance of an older man (middle-aged) trying to talk to a girl who was still in her teens and still in high school. The girl did the right things...she let the man know she was too young for him (by mentioning taking PSATs), moved away from him, and called a friend to meet her when she got off the train. I don't know why these older men think they have a chance with younger women...they need to stick with women their own age and use less creepy tactics when it comes to approaching a woman. Yuck!

"This is a man's world"...and women need to reclaim their part of it!

I was impressed by this post at A Cat and Twenty. When will we women stop apologizing and feeling like we don't matter in this world and when will we be treated as equals?

Friday, June 8, 2007

Racist Welcome to the USA

I am reaching out to non-DC readers as well, and here is a submission from Amy about dealing with some racist fool on the street:

Hey, I just found your blog, and I must say I LOVE it! My friends and I are thinking of starting a group blog, and if we do, you'll definitely be on our
blogroll, if that's okay with you! (I'll let you know before we actually do

Now, I don't live in DC, but I thought I'd share with you an experience some of
my friends and I had in case you want to post it on your blog.

This particular incident happened about two months ago, when a friend of mine
from South Korea was in town. Me, her and two other friends had just left a club
and were on our way home when some drunk-ass white guy came up to me and my
Korean friend and leered disgustingly at her (which happened all too often to
her while she was here). He then blocked our path and said, "Japanese, eh?" I
put my arm around her and snapped rather uselessly, "She's not Japanese," and
tried to walk around him. As we walked by, Asshole said "I've never had an Asian
before." Suddenly, from behind us, my friend Katie (not her real name) yelled,
"And with that attitude, you never will!!!" Well, Asshole of the Month then
turned around and looked at Katie, who could be best described as short, cute
and plump, and snapped something about her being "pregnant with swollen ankles,"
and started walking away, but Katie screamed at his back, "YES, yes I AM
pregnant, and thank GOD you're not the father!!!" He pretended not to hear, although he was clearly still within hearing range.

Here's hoping that he hasn't been able to get it up since that little exchange!
(That is, if he ever could...)

I am glad that Amy and her friends stood up to this loser. His method was obviously not the proper way to welcome a foreign visitor to the States. And then to stoop low to insult another one of the friends...these men never cease to amaze me with their loser ways. I never understood why these men feel that being insulting is the way to get a woman's attention. It does get our attention---negative attention.

And Amy, feel free to add "Don't Be Silent" to your blogroll! I appreciate any method of getting the word out!

Saturday, June 2, 2007


A lot of the stories featured here seem to be coming from me lately, but that's not the way I intended for this site to work. I want this to be an open forum for victims of street and public space harassment to tell their stories, give their insights, and let people know that they're not alone in dealing with this ridiculousness.

Please continue to submit your stories to the site. While I have a rule against anonymous posting (too many people abuse that privilege under anonymity and tend to leave hateful and uninsightful comments), submissions can remain anonymous. Do not worry about length or language (feel free to curse---this is a place to let your emotions out)---I keep that intact. The only things I edit are grammar, punctuation, and spelling.

Also, you can name the neighborhood the harassment happened in or the intersection it happened at, but DO NOT give specific work or home addresses! One submission contained the intersection the contributor lived at, and we have to take precaution to insure our safety.

Though I want to keep this focused on DC and its metro areas, I will accept stories from other areas as well. And if you hear about anything newsworthy in terms of street harassment and countering it, please let me know.

Once again thank you for your support!

Friday, June 1, 2007

"I'm gonna go about my business and have a nice day."

I enjoy walking, and prefer to do such rather than wait for a bus for a measly five-minute ride from the station. The weather's nice, I got the natural hair products I wanted, and the work week was over! Not without a bout of street harassment, however.

As I walked past the Ellis Island Restaurant, this tall gangly man in a flimsy wifebeater was trying to talk to me.

"Look at shawty," he said. "Sure she hears that all the time."
I was trying to walk past him and his friend when he tried to block my path.
"Yo, shawty!" he says, in my face.
"My name is not 'shawty,' 'baby,' or whatever other name you have for me," I said.
"I'm 6'4'' [and I'm supposed to care because...] and tall," the dude said. "You short. I'mma call you 'shawty' if I want to!"
"No, you're going to respect me and call me 'miss or ma'am,'" I said.
This guy was being a prick. "She said 'miss or damn'...MISS OR DAMN!"
I had better things to do than deal with a child. "You wanna be an ignorant negro?" I said. If a Black man doesn't respect me as a Black woman, then I don't respect him. "Be an ignorant negro. I'm gonna go about my business and have a nice day."

And that I did...continuing onward while he stood there ranting and cursing.

It's not just blatant disrespect by Black men towards Black's the aspect of blatant disrespect of men towards women, period. If these men want a woman to respond to them in kind, then they need to show that woman respect.