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, November 1, 2007

Reactions to Street Harassment

Cristina at Eckington DC Living did a write-up on how she handles street harassment. She also left a response on a previous post which sums up as to don't let it affect you and don't give the harassers power. As much as I agree that we shouldn't let the actions of boorish men affect us, it is really hard not to.

When you've got boorish, tacky, uneducated, tactless, ghetto, disgusting men standing on street corners or making comments from their cars, such as (all these have been said to me):

"Shorty, can I talk to you?" (Shorty is obviously not my name.)
"Boo-Boo, whaddup?" (You're a grown man, learn to use your words.)
"Fuck you, bitch, you ugly anyway." (Sorry I didn't give you the response you wanted.)
"Bitch, you betta watch it or I'mma smack da shit out you."
"I'mma say whatever I want to you! Fuck dat 'miss or ma'am' shit."
"Yo, Redbone! Yo, Snowflake!" (I may be a light-skinned Black woman, but damned if I'll let men talk to me that way because of such.)
"You a dyke, you don't like men." (Because I don't want to take a ride from a man I don't know who's old enough to be my father? Come on, now.)

...simply for leaving the house, then no, it is not easy to ignore or to not let get to me. Because I leave my house, because I am a single female, this is the treatment I get from these raggedy assholes. I've learned to, for lack of a better term, to expect it. People tell me that I should be "flattered" to get male attention. I'll be flattered when I get respectful attention from respectful men. Being called "sexy" by men old enough to be my grandfather leaves a sick feeling in my stomach.

This guy may not have been that old (he may have been a few years older than me) but his comment to me made me want to vomit:

"Girl, you look 17---and you look good."

Obviously, I'm not 17. But the fact that he thought I looked it and found me attractive frightened me. What if he pulled this mess on a real 17-year-old? I should become a decoy for Perverted Justice and have Chris Hansen from Dateline step in.

I feel myself going off on a tangent, but long story short as long as harassers run the streets, there will be recipients of harassment. And as long as there are recipients of harassment, they will respond in whatever way they feel is right. If screaming and cursing helps, good. If crying at home helps, cry away. If hitting a punching bag helps to release the aggression, go to it. People are going to react to harassment whatever way they can, and no one can change that.

1 comment:

Kandy said...

I agree that the victim has the right to respond to harassment whatever way she feels like responding. That's her right as victim.

Some men (and you know what type I am talking about) are so violent and disrespectful when you refuse to put up with their shit.

The older men are at times worse than the younger ones. But yet, they all sit around saying, "I don't know wuz wrong wit deez young folks".

You truly cannot bring some guys anywhere. They belong in a zoo not integrated into a civilized society.