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.

Thursday, August 16, 2007

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.

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