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 23, 2007

Silent Witnesses

The following is from an anonymous contributor in Missouri:

I had never heard of the term "Street harassment" but that is exactly what I would call what I have been experiencing here in St. Louis, MO.

I have had a lot of horrible things happen when I am not in a car or cab.

I was on the bus and this man sitting toward the front kept staring at me. It was very annoying not to mention uncomfortable. When he rung the bell for his stop, he walked up to me and tried to whisper something in my ear, I took my purse and slapped him with it. Then he punched me in my face. I am a 5'5'' female, this man was a 6 foot around 200-something pound male. The bus driver was actually going to let this man off the bus. I told the driver when I call the police that I would report him if he let this man get away. The bus driver let the man off of the bus and I saw him take off running.

When the police got there no body on the bus would say anything. It wasn't because they were afraid, afraid of what, the man was long gone by now and nowhere to be found. I still cannot believe that was allowed to happen, that no one including the bus driver would speak up about what happened. This has caused me to hate the way society is. If I had a chance to repeat the same situation over again, the only thing that I would have changed is I would have used mace to blind him first, tried to break his nose, and then I would have gotten off the bus not the other way around.

I am truly, truly sorry for what happened. That man shouldn't have touched you let alone come near you. In the same token, I applaud you for keeping brave and attempting to report this fool.

The reason why this ignorant behavior is allowed to perpetuate is because people keep silent. No one realizes that the voices of the many outweigh the solitary voice of one. A busload of witnesses yet no one spoke up? Genovese syndrome indeed. If more had taken initiative---the bus driver, the passengers, and so forth---that thug would be sitting in jail right now for assault. All we can hope for is that a good description was given and that someone recognizes him and turns him in. We need less of these people walking free and more of them in jail.

Anonymous, I once again commend you for having the courage to face that asshole. I pray that you can find ways of staying safe in Missouri.

A lot of people comment on why we don't want attention from these men. "You're too hard, you don't give them a chance," you'll say. We don't want attention from these men because they aren't "real men." Real men don't go from calling a woman "beautiful queen" to "ugly bitch" in 0 to 60. Real men don't go around putting their hands on women a fraction of their size. Real men don't make threats of violence. Real men work towards making women feel safe, not scared. Real men need to stand up and do right in the community.

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