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, October 4, 2007

I need to brush up on Spanish...and other stories

...because the number of non-English/broken English speaking men who harassed me this past Saturday was ridiculous.

After this past Saturday, I will never set foot in Wheaton again. Not only is it the headquarters for all the loud, obnoxious and poorly-behaved BéBé's Kids to hang out at, this is also the hub for all the street harassers.

As I walked the couple of blocks to the thrift store, I walked past a guy who was hanging with his "homies." He came too close to me with his arms open as if he wanted to embrace me.

"Hey bebby [sic]," he said with a thick accent. "Come and talk to me." His friends thought it was so funny.
"You're too close, loser," I said.
"Aw...come on!" he pleaded.
"Get your ugly ass away from me!" I yelled. I don't know how I got away from that one.

Heading towards the train station after I finished thrift shopping, I walked past another guy who acted like he was going to proceed past me, but also came too close and said "hey ma...what up?" in broken English.

"Back the hell up off me!" I yelled.
"Fuck you, bitch," he said. Yes, I'm sure he gets a lot of women with his coming too close then insulting them when they tell him to back off.

I went to the Giant in Brentwood after, and this flock of Latino laborers were hanging out in the parking lot. This time, more Spanish was involved.

"Mi amor, mi amor, mi amor!" the one guy said, once again coming too goddamn close and doing overdramatic romantic gestures. His amigos thought it was hilarante...I thought it was disgusto.

Going through my head trying to remember the Spanish 101 and 102 I learned in college, I could only think of one thing:

"Feo, feo, feo!" I yelled, pointing at him. ("Ugly, ugly, ugly!")
"Mi, feo?" he asked.
"Si," I said.
This made him start speaking in English and insulting me.
"Fuck you, you're ugly," he said.
"So I go from being 'your love' to the ugliest woman you've spoken to?" I scoffed. "Man, you are stupid. Estupido!"

I walked away while he kept screaming "bitch!" and other insults at my back.

None of my reactions to the idiocy of these men worked. It just agitated them and made it riskier for me. I feel more confident when speaking up against English-speaking harassers, but totally lose it when dealing with Spanish-speaking ones. So I'm opening this post up for suggestions. If you know any ways of putting Spanish-speaking harassers in their place, please send those ideas this way!


I guess I should've been "grateful" (insert eyeroll here) that the rest of my harassers spoke English that day. I got off the train and two teenage boys were rapping then crowding around me (a common theme around these punk-ass men and boys!). The one rapped "Yo ma, I don't got your numba so I can sto' it in my phone." I looked at him with disgust and said "leave me the hell alone, man." A group of college kids on their porch witnessed his getting dismissed and laughed.

And ten minutes from my house, a group of middle-aged men were hanging out in a truck parked outside an auto shop across the street from me. They kept yelling to get my attention and wouldn't let up. After a long day of being harassed by loser men I snapped:

"SHUT THE FUCK UP! If I wanted to talk to you I would've responded by now! I don't want to talk to old-ass men yelling at me from across the street!"

That stunned them into silence...good.

Where are these men learning that this nonsense and behavior works? Crowding around a woman they don't know from Eve to physically intimidate her, insulting her and yelling from across the street DO NOT WORK! Men, if you are sincerely trying to find a woman, for the love of god find better tactics of doing such. But if you're just doing this stuff to show your masculinity and show off for your friends, then you seriously need to get a life.

I came home furious that day. I hit my inflatable punching bag a few times, but nothing released the anger I felt. If I could hit those men I'd feel better, but then I'd be the one getting in trouble and I don't want to give them that satisfaction. I tell you, these men must feel low as dirt if they need to intimidate and mistreat women the way they do.

There are times when I question why I have this blog. I sometimes feel that I've taken on too much. I just want to go about my day-to-day life, I didn't want to become a martyr. But when my day-to-day life involves being harassed by asshole men, then it's really hard to ignore. So for the time being, this blog will go on.

And I still want to have a meeting in the future. I have not forgotten that.

No comments: