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

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..

No comments: