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.

Tuesday, December 11, 2007

DBS Shorts

For the most part, I haven't had any major harassment issues since the blow-ups I documented in "Intraracial Tension." Not to say that it hasn't been going on...

Since I depend on public transportation, I have to deal with the freaks, wackos, and idiots that ride it. I took a bus home from Friendship Heights a couple of Fridays ago, and the most nasty, foul, vulgar and unkempt men were on it. One of them had dreads so nasty that they looked more like "Matlocks" than dreadlocks. For the most part I tuned them out with my headphones and stared out a window. I was fine until one of them started gesturing to me and saying "That's your girlfriend over there, lookin' out the window!" As soon as the bus had a mass exodus at a Metro station, I moved to the front as far away from these men.


This past Thursday all I wanted to do was wait for my bus to take me to tae kwon do and be left alone. I got approached by a dork who thought I looked like Alicia Keys ("I look like myself," I responded in annoyance), a canvasser, and a foreign student who wanted to know if she was at the right bus stop. None of this was street harassment, but the following was. As glad as I am to not be the recipient of harassment, I can't stand watching it go on. A young woman with long hair and skinny jeans walked by; her daughter in a school uniform in tow. This bum started ogling her.

"Mm-hmm, that's what I'm talking about!" he said. "You a diamond in the rough, God's gift to man! Mm-hmm!"

The woman was long gone (I could see her inside the store behind the bus stop neglecting her daughter while shopping, but I digress) but I had to speak.

"That's nasty," I said. "Ogling that woman like she's a piece of meat. Show some class."
"You a hater," the man responded.
"And you're ghetto and low-class," I said. "Have a nice holiday."
He walked down the street mumbling crap, but I maintained my composure. Since the big blow-ups two Thursdays ago, I've been keeping my cool much better.

The bus finally came, thank god.


This past Friday I was waiting for my bus home from Farragut Square. I hadn't eaten since lunch so I grabbed food from McDonald's and snacked on the fries as I waited. A Circulator pulled up to the stop and people get off, but the door stays open longer. I thought someone was rushing to catch it, but no one was around.

The doors close and I thought it was going to drive off, but the doors open again. The bus driver was checking me out...ugh!

"Girl, gimme some of those fries," he says, ogling me. A wave of disgust came over me, but I once again kept my cool.
"Stop harassing me," I said. "Your behavior is tacky and unprofessional."
He smirked at me grossly and finally drove off.
As soon as I got home I sent a complaint report on him via WMATA. Months ago I had an incident with bus drivers catcalling me while hanging out at the Metro station. I reported it, but got the runaround (the one guy's name which I got---first initial and last name from his name badge---was too common to track down) and the complaint ended up being dropped on their part. Since I got the number of the bus he was driving will they take it seriously this time? We'll see. I don't want this man to be fired from his job---of course not---I just want him to know that you don't go catcalling women, especially not on duty.

For a moment I worried if I ever saw him on a Circulator in the future, since I do use those. But then I thought I'll maintain my ground and composure. I'm not going to let that worry me.


More bus weirdos. Earlier today there was this creepy drunken fool trying to talk to me and a teenaged girl on the bus. The girl, a boy of about ten and I played musical chairs to get away from him. He kept mumbling nonsense and saying "Baby girl!" Even though it was a five-minute ride to the train station, it felt longer because of that whackjob. I am glad the kids were smart enough to move away from him as well.


Lastly, I have not had a run-in with the "Loitering Losers" in almost two weeks this Thursday. I've been thankful to be able to catch a bus home so I don't have to walk past them. In the rare moments when the bus ends up not coming, I ended up taking a detour. I always talk about how I'm not going to let harassing men change my agenda, but I'd rather be safe than sorry.

All in all, I'm grateful to still be around, and not let these men steal my glory.

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