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 18, 2007

Stunned Into Silence

This just in from an anonymous contributor:

Hi, Please make this post anonymous due to protect the company's identity and myself. It has nothing to do with the company, but I was on the job while it happened.

Today I was running an errand for the office. I had to go to the Sprint store to get some supplies for our boss. Coming back from the store, I walked down K Street. I know K Street has been known for its horrible political corruption, but this is something new. Standing at a stop light waiting for it to say go, I heard a group of men walk up to the corner and started chatting. As the light hit go and pedestrians made it across the street before the light hits red, I heard the men behind me begin to say the crudest things.

Man 1: Oh look at that.
Man 2: At what?
Man 1: The girl in the black I wish I could tap that.
Man 2: Yea I bet you she's good in bed.

I wasn't dressed in any way that would provoke these men to say ANYTHING, good or bad. Just dressed in jeans, heels and a black tee shirt. I was infuriated. Speechless to say the least. I didn't know how to approach the situation because these were educated grown men. They should know better. But they don't. Walking on the street by myself I didn't want to engage with a group of disgusting men. In retrospect, I wish I had not become so infuriated, embarrassed, and stormed off. I really wish I had the courage to voice up and say that this is not okay. It really is not okay on any level.

What gives these men the right to speak their dirty thoughts out in the open like that? Some things are better left unsaid---hell, those thoughts shouldn't even come up, period. The contributor was just trying to do her job and she didn't need punk-ass clowns degrading her like that. I wish a group of women would flip the switch on those men, like I did on Labor Day with that loser who got too close and rambled about how sexy I was. I flipped the switch and told him how "ugly" he was which humiliated him as much as he humiliated me when he objectified me.

A lot of contributors wish they would've had the right words to handle the situation, but there are no wrong or right ways of handling it. You can only act according to how you feel at the moment. When it comes to dealing with irrational and unpredictable idiot men, sometimes silence is the best answer.


Emily said...

Just so it's said -- she should never have to excuse her clothing. There is no clothing that warrants that kind of commentary that people wear in public. Period.

Girl On the Hill said...

Actually, it is almost always true that you should speak up when someone says something. I know that I find it difficult to say something sometimes, especially when the remark is really crude.

But by not saying soemthing, it is like we are admitting that the jerk has the right to do that to us. I recommend the all-purpose response of "Stop harassing women. Show some respect." It usually gets them to shut up, but if they don't, follow it up with "You heard me, show some respect."

If everyone did that, including our guy friends who care, the harassers wouldn't get their kicks out of making us jump anymore, and wouldn't know what to do with themselves. Try it works.

Afrodite said...

Wow! Is street harassment a big thing in DC? Not so much in California probably because we have the look of irritation stamped on our face 24-7.

Golden Silence said...

"Wow! Is street harassment a big thing in DC?"

Afrodite, it's horrible here. Certain men think they can do and say whatever they want to women. They get a kick out of it. It's a combination of sexual comments, inappropriate physical contact, and sometimes gets to the point of violence and aggression.

I don't plan on staying in DC forever, but as long as I'm here I want to try to do something about street harassment. This blog is a start, but I've still got a long way to go in terms of taking real action.