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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.

Wednesday, July 4, 2007

Too Close For Anyone's Comfort

J. from LeDroit Park sent me this story:

This is my first submission, but I'm not sure why. Since it got warm, I've had to alter my travel routes, severely limiting walking in my neighborhood at all costs. Four to five incidents of harassment minimum in my less than a mile walk from the Metro is enough to have me willingly add 30 minutes to my commute so I can take a bus.

Anyway, today's incident really showed me that I've really gotten to a boiling point with this stupid-ass harassment. I put off going to grab some lunch as long as I could (didn't have the mental energy to deal with harassers on 14th Street today), but eventually ran out of the office to walk the 2 blocks to McDonald's on U Street for a quick bite. I get there with no problems and think maybe this won't be so bad today. Of course, that jinxed it or something, because some fool in a bright tie-dyed shirt who was trying to move past me thought that instead of taking the obvious and open route I gave him to walk in front of me, he decided to squeeze between me and the table to my right, getting WAY up in my personal space and saying "how YOU doin' today" right in my ear. I told him to fuck off. He moved behind me and continued to stare at me in disbelief for a few moments. The guy in front of me in line noticed what was going on and turned around to talk to me. Even though this guy was obviously just trying to be nice and make me feel safe, I was so pissed off and freaked out that I was completely rude to him because it seems like any interaction I have with men I don't know seems to be negative lately. The first guy continued to move around the restaurant looking for women to harass and apparently didn't find anyone. I told the cashier what he was doing and she said she'd be on the lookout for him.

Of course, some guy decided to try to block my path while looking me up and down and licking his lips on the way back. I yelled at him that he needs to get the fuck over himself.

It makes me extremely angry that I now walk down the street suspicious and cautious of every single man I pass (yes, women do it to, but I don't often feel physically threatened by them). I don't want to go through life this hostile. I just spent the past two weekends in Brooklyn and was catcalled a total of 2 times, and both of the men apologized when I informed them that I didn't appreciate it. I don't know what the hell is the problem here. I'd love to call DC home for a long time, but this harassment really has me wanting to leave town in a hurry.

I wish the switch could be flipped: how would they feel if some random woman got too close, got too sexual, and tried this mess with them? These clowns need a taste of their own medicine. The problem is that most men are bigger than us women, so if a woman harassed them on the street, on average they wouldn't feel a physical intimdation. I'm sorry that J. has to alter her commute because idiots don't know when to keep their distance and leave well enough alone.

And I believe she was talking about the McDonald's on U & 14th. I've heard things about that one---that it should be avoided as much as possible, even in the daytime. When I lived in NW, I took a bus that passed by there and would see the creepiest people hanging out around there. U Street may be gentrified, and Columbia Heights on its way, but creepy fools will still be hanging out so be careful, alert, and stay safe!


CHIC NOIR said...

"These clowns need a taste of their own medicine. The problem is that most men are bigger than us women, so if a woman harassed them on the street, on average they wouldn't feel a physical intimdation"
I agree 100%. The closest that an average man may get is the unwanted attention from a gay male.
My friend and her boyfriend where in an area where gays make up the majority. Two gay men walked by and gave her boyfriend the hard eye. He remarked that he felt dirty and she told him now you know how we(women) feel.

Golden Silence said...

I think an over-aggressive gay male pursuing a straight guy would creep the recipient out, but it wouldn't terrify him the way these men on the street terrify women.