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, November 9, 2007

Back from NYC

I just got back from my trip to the Big Apple and just like my last trip there, the men just have no shame when it comes to harassing women. Some of my instances were benign, but others made me cringe.

The main thing that bothers me is that these men feel they have the right to talk to me or any other woman the way they do -- or period. Right when I was trying to exit Penn Station, some guy starts walking along with me and talking as if we were "down" or something. It made me uncomfortable that some guy I don't know just came out of the blue and was trying to walk with me. No "hi" or anything like that. It was an invasion of personal space. I moved away from him and he got the hint.

These men also feel the need to let me know how attractive they find me. I hate, hate, HATE these half-assed and empty compliments. They're cheap. I'd rather get a compliment from someone I've known for a while that comes from a place of the heart, and not from a random stranger.

I had a harasser who was acting inappropriately while on the clock. On Wednesday I went to FIT to check out their gown exhibits, and while most of the security guards were professional and stonefaced, this one kid in the basement exhibit acted like an idiot. He kept making goofy noises, and as I left the exhibit he says, "Girl, you workin' it with that red and black [in regards to my outfit], aren't you?" I looked at him with a look that read "Boy, you aren't even worth a verbal response" and kept going.

The worst was the clown above. I grabbed something to eat after seeing a show last night and was walking down Broadway to head back to my hotel. He was getting too close to women while trying to hand out copies of "The Onion." The number of men on the streets trying to sell stuff or hand out flyers while getting too close was an annoyance. I told him to back the hell up off me, and he gets closer.

"I wanna be close to you, baby," he says, with a lecherous smirk.

Ugh! This man was some homeless bum in need of a shower and he looked old enough to be my grandfather. I had my camera on me then, so I pulled it out and took a shot. He covered up his face, unfortunately.

"So you're brave enough to harass women but a big old coward when it comes to getting your picture taken?" I said. "Pathetic."

As soon as my camera went down he got bold again and started blowing kisses at me.

"Nasty-ass coward," I said. "You need to take a shower." If you want a description of his face, just imagine a crusty, dried-up raisin and there you go.

I met up with an old schoolmate while I was in the city, and she commented on reading DBS. She told me that women who walk with a purpose tend to get bothered less.

"But I look straight ahead, usually wear my sunglasses in daytime, and am always walking with a purpose," I said. "So why are these raggedy men always targeting me?"

I don't think I'll ever find the true answer as to what makes me a target for these men. The caliber of men who do this bothers me as well. I came from a Broadway concert (yes, a concert on Broadway and not a play) yesterday and was wearing a tailored peacoat, matching scarf and gloves, and black palazzos with black leather heels. I was looking chic and the men who were trying to talk to me looked like bums -- baggy pants, dingy sweatshirts, hair that needed grooming -- why do they think I'd even want to talk to them? One of the DBS readers (I cannot recall who at the moment) had said something similar -- classy women don't want to be bothered with bums and losers! Pretty much.

I'm missing the fun and color of NYC, but am glad to be back in DC. I'd be even more glad if harassment stopped in DC, but until then, let's keep fighting to get it to end.

*And I'd like to extend a thanks to those who have joined the DBS group so far, and am looking forward to seeing many more sign up.*


terpman said...

Good evening, Golden Silence. This is Terpman. Glad to hear you got back safely from NYC. It's unfortunate that you had to put up with someone harrassing you. You had every right to tell that guy selling "The Onion" to back up off you. He didn't need to be that close to sell or pass out papers. Take care!
P.S. Is that meeting on the 24th for women only? If not, I'd like to sign up on the group list and attend. Maybe I can shed some light on harassment from a man's point of view. Please let me know.

Don't Be Silent DC said...

"P.S. Is that meeting on the 24th for women only?"

No it's not. In fact, one person who's joined the group is a male. The group is open to everyone...just click the link on the main page and go from there!

jennifer said...

FWIW, the Onion is free in New York; Cracky should have been reported to their local office. Someone tried to pull the same with me 15 years ago with the local free LGBTQ paper within the King center in Atlanta, claiming it was to raise money for Alzheimers--although he was more polite.

Don't Be Silent DC said...

I know Onion's free...we get it here in DC as well. That dope wasn't trying to sell was just a reader's misinterpretation on their part. But the fact of the matter is that "Cracky" (funny!) was just getting too close trying to hand out those damn papers, and took it too far with his comments and blowing kisses.