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.

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.


K said...

As a native New Yorker, I can empathize with your experience. However, I would argue that the worst thing that you can do in a situation like that is respond verbally. Most men do not disrespect women who are walking down the street. But the kind who do are often not the type who will react kindly to "Loser get a life" or "I don't like ugly, loser, ghetto, tacky guys who bother women on the streets."
Why risk it? What if the situation escalates beyond your control?

These lads are not targeting "you" specifically, they are targeting any female that walks by. I live in Petworth now and the cats across the way do it all the time. It means nothing. My girlfriend comes by often, and chooses to ignore these gentlemen or simply give a friendly "hello."

Now, you may not care but on a personal note, that I have dealt with street abuse in both the suburbs and the cities.I am a bespectacled black who dress in a typical "post-punk" style (tight jeans, dress shirts w/the sleeves rolled). Even worse, I speak English with a mild transatlantic/High British accent. I've been called everything from "faggot", to "you're not black" and even been subjected to physical confrontation. Considering the former, I'd argue that it's pretty degrading to be denied your cultural identity simply because of you don't fit the standards of how other people in this country dress or talk. I should probably add that this is all the more hurtful because I'm 100% Ugandan, which, last I checked, is as black as you can get.

I dunno....I feel that this website has less to do with reacting with how women are treated on the street and more with how some tend to overreact to certain aspects of city living. Yes, a lot of this stuff is uncalled for, but some of it you have to grin and bear it.

But the fact that you've taken the time to write this out ad address the gentlemen as ""I don't like ugly, loser, ghetto, tacky guys who bother women on the streets" hints at the profile of an uptight suburban white woman speaking with a mildly racist tone.

Golden Silence said...

"'I don't like ugly, loser, ghetto, tacky guys who bother women on the streets' hints at the profile of an uptight suburban white woman speaking with a mildly racist tone."

I am a fed-up Black female living in DC, not the 'burbs. Your judgment was very wrong on that count.

Hugh said...

Hey there,
Seeing it from a womans point of view gives it a different perspective. From a mans point of view, alot of this is 'being clever' and trying to 'go after what we want' . Things that have been taught to us as men since we were little, that women would value. I can also see the reaction after being rejected as a sign of Macho, and immaturity. I know your blog has caused me to 'slow my roll'. Not that that is my 'style', but I can see how it can be annoying, and hurtful. Keep up the good work. I only hope that you have a plan of some sort in case things get confrontational. Some guys will get physically violent once rejected and confronted. Good luck to you and your blog.