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.

Wednesday, November 21, 2007

Happy Thanksgiving To You Too, "Loitering Losers"

Note: I have no problem accepting stories without photos. Your safety is much more important than getting a photo. Don't do what I did in this story. I normally don't put my safety on the line like this, but I've dealt with these men on numerous occasions and am fed up.

I left the house today to grab more ingredients for the pies I was baking for tomorrow. On my way to the store I walked past my "friends," the "Loitering Losers," who have been featured on numerous occasions on DBS. Through my peripheral vision I spotted about four or five of them. They were big, bad, and nothing but trouble. I tried to stare straight ahead and act like they weren't there, but their annoying voices pierced through that brick wall I'd put up:

"Hey, pretty girl. Where's your smile?"
"You on Hell Date?"
"You said she on Hell Date! HAHAHAHAHA!"
"Happy Thanksgiving to you, pretty sistah."

No Happy Thanksgiving wishes could take away the humiliation I feel any time I face these men. They are always hanging out at that park/bus stop, hitting on me, calling out to me and annoying the hell out of me.

The creepiest part that happened was that one of them got up and started following me. I was the fast walking "damsel in distress" (I hate that term) and he was the slow walking zombie. I got into the store as fast as I could.

On the way back, I didn't walk past them but took that street that intersects near the park. They were still trying to call to me.

"Girl, when you gonna be on Hell Date?" (I've seen Hell Date a few times but don't know what the hell [no pun intended] they were getting at with that comment. 'Nothing comes from talkers but sound' as Tevin Campbell's "Round and Round" goes.)

They were calling to me, cajoling me, and making me irate. I head home, put my groceries up, threw on my sneakers and grabbed my Nikon and head back out the door.

I walked back towards that park/bus stop. Two had already fled and a third one was dashing away when I pulled out my camera. I stood across the street first, but I was too far away to get a good zoom on them. I had no choice but to get closer. I was terrified but determined to get this shot.

These idiots burst into laughter like what I was doing was the funniest thing at first, but when the camera's flash went off they knew I meant business.

"You need to go after the dude who just left!" one yelled. "He was the one startin' stuff...not us!"
"Bitch, I'mma snatch that camera out yo hands!" the other yelled.

I got my shot, and that's all that mattered. I doubt they were going to lay their hands on me. I did remember seeing a police car not too far from there, and not even these idiots are dumb enough to beat a woman up in front of the police. Also, though it was dark it was only 6 in the evening and people were still out and about.

But as I said, I got the shot. "Thank you!" I said in the most cheesy and saccharine tone.
"Girl, you don't go around takin' photos of people," Thug 1 said. "Dat's not cool."
Neither is bugging women who walk by you.

I walked away casually. I refused to let them see fear. I heard what sounded like running and turned around. "I'mma chase after you!" Thug 2 said, but all he did was jog in place.

"Whatever," I said, dismissing them with a flip of the hand. As I walked back home feeling good to get a closer (albeit dark) shot of the "Loitering Losers," they were complaining out loud and acting like petulant kids. If they'd stop humiliating women that walked by, it wouldn't have had to come down to that.

I walked past a father and son on my way home, and the father told his son in babytalk to "Say hi to the nice lady!" I smiled and waved back. It's good to know that some men are taking responsibility and raising their sons to be upright men, and that I once again took a step towards putting the light on DC's street harassment problem.

I hope we get stuff accomplished in next week's meeting. Have a safe, happy and hopefully harassment-free Thanksgiving, all of you.

Edit 11/22/07: I just noticed that Thug 1 is flipping the bird in the photo (it is a dark photo, but it's easier to see when it's enlarged---click the photo to enlarge it). Real class act, that one.


lizzie said...

oooh...please be careful when you're taking their pics. i understand why you felt the need to do so but who knows what they're capable of, you know?

Don't Be Silent DC said...

I know...but these men are always hanging out there and I'm tired of it!

I've tried re-routing my path home, but all it's done was made my trip longer, and the side streets aren't lit that well.

Unless the bus runs on time and more frequently, there's no way to avoid those "loitering losers"! They're out there when I leave for work and they're still out there when I'm coming home.

I really hope my group can work towards getting them (and others like them) off the streets.