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.

Friday, August 31, 2007

Fishin' to Holla

This clown's post is in front of the Whole Foods on P Street. He sits in front of it holding a long rod with a plastic Starbucks cup tied to it begging for money. With most passers-by he simply shakes the cup begging for money. But when I walk by he "hollas" at me. "Hey, sexy," "hey, beautiful." Yuck. I don't need to be hit on by some man old enough to be my father who's bumming on the street.

When I went to Whole Foods last week it was my first (and second, since I had to walk past him when exiting the store) encounter with him. I told him "man, stop hitting on me when I walk by you!" Since I had to go back to return some nasty juice, he was there again and did not seem to get the hint from last week.

I snapped his photo and told him that his face would be all over the 'Net because he doesn't know how to leave women alone. He just doesn't seem to get it or care.

"You have a nice weekend, too!" he said, cutting me off when I told him he needed to quit his nonsense. I guess it will be since more people will know how much of a clown he is.

Sunday, August 26, 2007

Update from Kimberly Klinger

Kimberly Klinger, who wrote a feature for the Washington City Paper on dealing with street harassment, sent a message to my inbox:

Just wanted to drop a quick line. I've honestly had a
very calm end of summer! But I do have a few

I went to LA for a week and I got one measly kissy
noise made out of a car. It was so peaceful. However,
the day after I got back to DC, I was sitting at my
neighborhood bus stop and a car all but stopped
driving past, the guy staring at me so hard I could
feel it even though I was reading. I looked up, and he
kept staring lewdly. I was early-morning cranky, so I
gave him the finger. He looked cross, gave it back -
but then sped off. Then, on the way home from work
that same day, some (older, nasty) guy felt it
necessary to lean in and tell me "damn, you sure do
look good" as I was getting a CityPaper. I didn't do
anything, just slammed the case and went on my way.

I read your post about changing your clothes/routes to
avoid harassment
, and I do that all the time. If I
wear a short skirt out in the winter, I put yoga pants
or similar underneath it for my trek to the car/cab.
In the summer, I wear sneakers instead of heels with
my shorts/skirts - again, just for the commute. Of
course neither one of them work totally but it
definitely helps. And I always walk up 16th instead
of Mt Pleasant St. - WAY less harassment.

While she seemed to almost get away from harassment during her trip to LA, it seems that she can't get a vacation from it in DC. I just don't get why these men act like clowns in this area. They need to learn how to show respect to women. It sucks that she has to reroute her walk to avoid idiots.

Thanks Kimberly for submitting your update, and glad you're keeping strong regardless of the losers on the street.

Friday, August 17, 2007

Big Trouble

BeautyInBaltimore sent me this YouTube video.

It looks like the guy is making cracks at the woman for being heavyset, and she gets back in his face yelling back. Then her friend joins in, and it looks like the first woman gives the first hit. They attack the man and a third woman runs in.

I hope that if you get harassed on the street that it never escalates to this level. And from someone who's taking martial arts, only attack to defend yourself---don't make the first blow. You're only putting yourself in a more sketchy situation if you strike first. You want the perpetrator to be the one getting punished---not you.

Thursday, August 16, 2007

Flirtation or Harassment?

Baltimore Sun Copy Editor Maryann James did a write-up on her take on a previous DBS submission, "Flirtation vs. Harassment."

Check it out.

Be Aware Of Your Surroundings

Matt sent two stories to my inbox:

First, I just wanted to congratulate you on the blog - it truly is a much needed forum for this issue. Coming from Boston, I never experienced this type of front-stoop dwelling/loitering type of harassment. I would like to offer a couple of quick stories so that other people can be aware of potential harassment. As a young male, I feel as if I can defend myself (I would rely purely on my running skills) but I want to make sure people are aware of the areas they travel to prior to going.

Story #1 - As I was leaving the Wheaton Mall on a late weeknight around closing time, I noticed a group of three young teenagers waiting outside the doors. As girls walked by, they would follow them and say "Yo, let me rap at you." First off, what does that even mean? Secondly, they would not quit. I felt so bad for these girls, I followed at a distance just to make sure nothing happened to them on their way to their cars. It's disgusting to watch - the way they speak, the way they walk, their mindsets. Anyways, I see it often when I go up there, so just be aware.

I've been to Wheaton quite a few times and tend to notice the throngs of thuggish-looking guys hanging about the Metro Station and the bridge that leads to the Wheaton Mall with nothing better to do than hit on any woman or girl that walks by. I agree that you need to be cautious when heading to that area---especially in that bridge because it tends to be desolate there.

Story #2 - I take the Red Line home from work. Every once in a while I see this same guy. He is a nerdy guy with glasses in his 40's that looks like he works as a computer programmer. Anyways, he sits across from me and this other kid and I catch him staring us up and down from head to toe. The other kid didn't see it as he was reading his book. I just would stare back, and then he would proceed to stare at the other kid. When I looked back down, and then up, I would find him staring at me again. This guy had such a pure pedophile look to him. Anyways, with my luck he gets off at my metro stop and I proceed to walk behind him. He turns around about eight times and stares me up and down. I finally took another route home.

If I were in this scenario, I would've let him know that I didn't appreciate being stared at, and if possible try to move somewhere else. Why do these clowns think that this behavior is normal? No one needs to be leered at while trying to commute!

Thanks for your stories. It shows that anyone can be a creep, regardless of what s/he looks like, and that we do need to be cautious of our surroundings. Make mental notes (location, time of day, the people you pass by) and be prepared.

Wednesday, August 15, 2007

A Day---of Harassment---in Columbia Heights

Blogger Capitulate Now did a write-up on her blog about her street harassment ordeal one day.

It is almost two months old, but definitely still worth mentioning. Some of her encounters are benign, but others are high on the "creep-o-meter."

The Stupid Things Boys Do

Liz at An OC Girl Living In An Extraordinary World did a write-up with the above title about the loser guys she's been dealing with...even with her boyfriend around.

Like I said in previous posts, these harassing men just don't care.

Tuesday, August 14, 2007

Do You Change Habits to Prevent Clowns From Harassing You?

After reading BeautyInBaltimore's post that I linked here (see previous blog post), it saddens me that the men are so bad that she has to wear a fake wedding ring to get them to leave her alone, but that it has no effect on them whatsoever.

I thought about the things I've done to get men to leave me alone. I cannot remember the last time I've worn a short skirt or shorts...maybe five years ago. I tend to wear pants---palazzos, capris, gauchos---and when I wear a skirt it's knee-length or longer.

I went out a few weekends ago to an 80s night. I wore a strappy yellow tunic with leggings and a gold sash. I was worried that I was going to get unwanted attention on my way there from men on the streets, so in hot weather (I believe it was in the 90s then), I wore a jacket. I was burning up hot but desperate to not get unwanted attention from these men. That did me no were still honking their horns at me on my walk to the train station. Only when I met up with my friend and got to the venue did I have the courage to take my jacket off.

There's also the tactic of lying about having a boyfriend or other significant other, but that will not deter these men. They'll still push and persist, because they have no tact and could care less about you. If they react with a comment such as, "that's cool...what's your man gotta do with me?" or something like that, then it shows the lack of respect they have for you as a an invididual. And if you answer "Gotta man?" with "No...but I'm not interested" and they still push you, they've got problems. Men, just because a woman is single it doesn't mean she'll jump right in your arms...especially if "Gotta man?" is your approach. You need to have common interests, have attraction to one another, and be interested in dating for it to work.

Bold as I thought I was, there were times when I've had to reroute my way home because I got tired of the harassment on my way home. The detour was lengthy, on a hilly street, and a pain in my behind.

Looking back, I shouldn't have to be the one to change what I do to get through my day. These clowns on the street should! It doesn't matter if I'm dressed for a night out or wearing sweats, these men will act like fools regardless.

So readers, don't try to change what you do or who you are to placate these men. Nothing you can do will cause them to change their pitiful ways, because it's not about you, it's about THEM. All you can do is continue to carry yourself with class and stand up for yourself if you become the next target of some harassing idiot.

Sunday, August 12, 2007

Idiots in Baltimore

Blogger BeautyInBaltimore mentions a couple of losers she dealt with while in her neck of the woods.

These men have no tact, no class, and don't seem to take "no" for an answer.

Monday, August 6, 2007

Don't these clowns ever stop to take a breath?

I guess not. As thrilled as I was that harassment seemed to be dwindling down, I found out that these idiots are still up to their old tricks. An anonymous contributor sent me two instances of being harassed:

(1) My friends and I were going down the escalator at Eastern Market on our way home from work. One one annoying kid who was waiting for the bus tried to get my attention: "psst...psst. hey sexy! HEY SEXY!" I was just going to ignore him, but then I couldn't even CONCENTRATE on what my friend was saying. So then I turn to him (I'm still going down the escalator slowly) and tell him "Excuse me, you do NOT talk to me like that!" He gives a little shocked look and then says "Guurl, you WHITE! Baby, be black, be black!" This only makes me more mad that a man hears me defend myself and I speak proper English (God forbid). I proceed to yell at him as he laughs (clearly just trying to dismiss his rejection) how he needs to get some self-respect and thinking that speaking proper English equates being "white." I quickly realize the futility of the argument and proceed to flip him off before I step off the bottom of the stairs.

(2) A group of men were waiting for the bus near Eastern Market and I was walking with a bunch of other interns to a restaurant after work. I was in the middle of the group and one man proceeds to reach out his hand towards me. I hear a sultry "Hi friend, come here." I look up at him in horror as he TOUCHES me and I jerk away my hand. I say "Don't touch me; I'm not your fucking friend." His friends laugh and the rejected mimics me (poorly) "Don't touch me!" Oh, yes, that REALLY hurt *my* feelings. I was with a number of people (guys and girls) and I point the men out to my friends as we walk away. I loudly complained about them and made sure everyone turned out to stare. I noticed the men were pretty uncomfortable and were a bit worried about some consequences, so that made me feel a little bit better.

I just have to say that I love your blog. It's so good to know I'm not alone and the trends I've noticed aren't just with me. I am spending the summer in DC as an intern and I cannot WAIT to leave. I go to school in Boston and the harassment is no where near as bad as it is down here. I've actually limited my solo outings because I just can't deal with the degradation sometimes. Thank you so much for the site! It'll help me ''keep on keeping on'' for the remainder of my last week here.

I hope your last days in DC are harassment-free. I'm sorry that this is the behavior you had to deal with in the District.

I can relate to being made fun of by men like the ones featured in that same manner with the "you think you[sic] White!" and the obnoxious mocking. You're right...these clowns know they're not worth SHIT and by stooping to that level that's their way of making themselves feel good. They know good and well that a second ago you were their greatest fantasy, and since it didn't come true you became their biggest nightmare and an object of their disdain.

The behavior of losers like these does not (I repeat, DOES NOT) reflect on you in any way. Good for you for pointing out publicly how much these men sucked, so others could see it as well. They needed to be embarrassed.

Thursday, August 2, 2007

Not many stories to report...

...which I see as a good thing. I'm hoping it means that these clowns that bother people on the District's streets are starting to get word that their actions are being reported to DBS.

In the meantime, Liz sent me the link to a research study about harassment on NYC trains. Also, Mari at In Shaw did a write up on how annoying it is to deal with men who consider a simple "hello" and other forms of common courtesy a foreign language.

As thrilled as I am that street harassment is currently at a standstill, I'm always available to accept stories and your feedback.

Stay strong, stay safe...and be happy that street harassment in DC has come to a pause (at least for now).