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, May 31, 2007

The further I am away from you, the less interested I am in you losers.

The same group of loitering losers that I featured in a recent submission were back to their old tricks.

I was coming home from my martial arts class, walking home from the train station, when that group of men (plus a few more) who like to loiter around a bus stop (they are not waiting for the bus...I've seen a bus pass them once, and that's the only bus that services that stop) were trying to catcall me.

I heard "hey, baby!" too many times for my taste. Instead of responding to these idiots, I took another tact---I ignored them.

"Hey, baby!" turned into "psst-psst," kissing noises, and other sorts of noise. And the further I walked past these clowns, the louder they got.


Clowns, please note. Making noise and calling a woman "baby" and "sexy" is not going to get her's going to make her less interested.

I hummed to myself to tune them out...and the pleasant surprise of a truck blasting Anita Baker's "Sweet Love" "Same Ole Love" (I'm a horrible Anita Baker fan...I should've known better!) made my day. It was the perfect ending to dealing with street harassing fools...a much needed diversion.

Those men hang out there too frequently, and I want to put up signs or something to attract attention to that. A woman should be able to walk home without dealing with losers. This neighborhood is too nice for buffoons like them to ruin it.

You have gotta be kidding me.

In Milwaukee, this clown robs a U-Haul store then sticks around trying to ask the woman he robbed out.

What the hell is wrong with these fools?! Robbing and "romancing"?!

He fled, but I hope his dumb ass is caught.

Wednesday, May 30, 2007

Does race play a factor in street harassment?

In a recent Don't Be Silent submission, I made a comment that the race of the harasser shouldn't matter. After today, I really am starting to wonder.

I came home Saturday feeling hurt, frustrated and just plain angry at the mess I deal with on the streets. I went to the neighborhood I used to live in, Petworth, to check out Domku and Flip It (the former is a sleek restaurant and the latter a sweet bakery...check them out). I had my path blocked by these men, was followed, had men stopping in the middle of the road trying to talk to me, beeping their horns so loudly that I jumped, had men coming too daggone close on the sidewalk, and calling me names such as "shorty," "baby," and other stupid nonsense. The thing that bothers me the most about Saturday's ordeal with the men on the streets is that all of my harassers were black. It upsets me, makes no sense, and had me getting on the Internet to try to find answers. Why do so many Black men do this mess to me, a Black female, on the streets?

In my search for answers, I found this article from 1999 called "Too Sexy For My Shirt," which was written by Black feminist writer Debra Dickerson. She talks about dealing with harassment in DC. In regard to the way harassers who happen to be Black harass Black women:

Does it matter that this [the "compliments" from the harassers] is most often pointed out to me (in graphic detail) by black men? Courtland Milloy, in one of those three 1990 Washington Post pieces, lamented the "black men who [make] the District a living hell for their sisters." Many of the female letter-writers made the same claim. Julianne Malveaux as well has written about her own abuse from black males and the "contempt" some of them exhibit for black women. "We are at the low end of the food chain for them," she writes. So, yes, it matters if only because 95 percent of the harassment I receive comes from them. If that's group loyalty, I can live without it.

To dig deeper, I found this thesis written by Hawley Fogg-Davis, called "A Black Feminist Critique of Same-Race Street Harassment." The article is 41 pages long and I am still reading it...I'll come back with my take on it in a future issue.

I don't know what I can do to change the way these specific Black men disrespect Black women, but it must stop. I (and the many other Black females who are victim of this) are not "video hos," "chickenheads," or any other hideous stereotype of Black females that floats through these men's heads.

I encourage you to read both articles and to come back with your insight on all this. And I know good and damned well that not all Black men behave so hideously, but the ones who do act like that really have me feeling down.

Friday, May 25, 2007

Can't I enjoy the weather and my smoothie in peace?

I got out of work early to get a start on the three-day weekend and took the time to enjoy the weather. When I got closer to home I grabbed a smoothie and enjoyed the cool refreshment. My peace was ruined when some fool started making kissing noises out of his car at me. For all the times I've been harassed by men on the street armed only with my crappy camera phone, I was glad that I had my real camera on me (I was using it to take photos of sights earlier). I pull it out.

"Wanna take a picture of me baby?" he asks.
I normally curse these fools out, but I opted for a different tact.
"Sure!" I said, in the most hokey and sarcastically saccharine tone.

The guy poses, I zoom in, get the shot and success.

"Be careful with that camera baby!" he says. The light changes and he drives off.

Naw,'re the one who needs to be more careful when it comes to who you try to "holla" at.

Another clown was trying to "holla" at me from his van ("Yo, shorty!") but I didn't have the time or energy to get a shot of him. His vehicle was still in motion anyway. I just wanted to enjoy my smoothie and go home.

Racial Slurs On The Road

Reader Jenn sent this story:

Just wanted to say I love your blog, I think it's a much-needed outlet...

While I am harassed frequently, this was one of the more outrageous (and upsetting) incidents that has happened to me...

Last week, I was on my way to lunch and stopped at a red light at the intersection of Connecticut Ave and East-West Highway. As you may know, this is a REALLY long light - there are multiple turning lanes, as well as traffic from four directions.

It was a gorgeous day, and I had my car windows down and was listening to music. I noticed a red truck with two black blue-collar workers in it to my left, and a white truck with one Hispanic blue-collar worker to my right.

The men closest to me in both trucks lean out of their windows and close to my car to "say hello," as they do. The following is what ensued with the black man to my left:

"Hey - hey! HEY! [I glance over, give a half-smile, then look away]. Haayyyyyy! Girl whatchu up to? Where you headed? You wanna get some lunch with us?! [Other such random questions... I ignore, looking straight ahead, somewhat pretending to be deaf]. Hey! I don't want to talk to you... could you help me with some directions? Bitch, I just need directions! I don't want to talk to you anyway - I don't want no white girl! You know why?! Because I don't want no white babies! It's too hard to keep their asses clean, them white babies! Fuck white babies! [Laughter between dude and the other guy driving the truck, talk about "white bitches" and more "fuck white babies" talk.] Ahhh. Yeah. White babies and their dirty asses. Hell no!"

The light was red for what felt like an eternity. Driving with your windows down seems to open the door for ridiculous stoplight "conversation." Harassment of this nature has happened to me at least a few times a week since the weather has been nicer. The guy in the truck to my right was also talking to me, but stopped when he saw the verbal rod-e-o goin' down on the left side. How considerate of him.

Sorry for the length!

Normally I try not to include race in stories (because the race of the harasser shouldn't matter), but unfortunately race came into play here. Not only was this man using "male dominance" as a form of oppression, he stooped to making racist comments as well. Their mindset is "if I can't get that woman's attention in a positive way then I'll get it in a negative way."

The next time something like that happens roll up your windows. I've done that many a time when I used to drive and some man would try to "holla" at me. In nice weather like this it would be nice to have the windows down to let the breeze in, but your safety is more important.

Tuesday, May 22, 2007

A Day In The Life Of...

Here's a rundown of what happened to me after work:

"Like Father, Like Son"

I was leaving the drugstore and I am walking down the street. I hit an intersection and wait for the traffic to give me right of way. An older man (the one in white) comes up too close behind me. "Dude, you're too daggone close!" I say, and move away. Somehow this gives him the impression to move closer to me. I try to keep as far away from him until the light changes. As soon as it does I'm off.

The man is joined by a younger guy (the one in black) and they start going on about how fast I'm walking and how I "got a cute shape."
"What the hell?!" I said. They thought that was funny.
I got tired of this, stopped, pulled out my camera and took a shot of them. I made sure to stay as far behind them as possible, and eventually they got the hint and left me alone.

"Just Do It"

Still proceeding towards the train station going home, I walk past this group of blue-collar laborer types. The one in the "Just Do It" shirt was the ringleader of these idiots. They were all hooting, hollering, and barking like dogs. "Just Do It" punches his friends in the arms, then comes too close to me with "Hey, baby!" I thought this was another opportunity to take a shot of them. He was all for it first until I said "HOLLABACK!" (I know this isn't an official HollaBack site, but it's the same premise.)
"Hey, wait a minute!" he yells. "Is this that MTV shit?"
I had done what I needed to do and kept walking.
The realization of what I had did finally came to him. "You bitcccccccccccccccch!" he yelled, his voice trailing off as I turned a corner.
Well his shirt said "Just Do It," so I did it and snapped a photo of his ridiculous ass!

"Who Are The People In Your Neighborhood?"

I walked home from the train station and this ashy-looking guy with dreads would not stop staring at me. I gave him the "what the hell?!" look and he's like, "Nothin'...I'm just lookin' at ya." He then starts to laugh. I shook my head at his idiocy.

I made it home, dropped my stuff off and left back out to make a quick trip to put some clothes in a donation box. Men would not stop beeping at me from their cars. I got annoyed at one of the cars that I just yelled "NOOOOOOOOO!" as loudly as I could. This garnered the attention of these idiots who were loitering and getting liquored up on a bench (unfortunately I was too far off to get a good shot):

The one in black (pointed out with an arrow) got on his knees and got dramatic like "you can take a picture of me baby!"
I told them to "leave women on the streets alone" and went about my business.

If I can have a day, a week, a month, a year, the rest of my life not being harassed by these idiots on the street then that moment would be the happiest moment in my life. No one should have to deal with that mess on a regular basis.

Saturday, May 19, 2007

On Home Soil

Nachel tells her story of being judged on the streets yesterday:

I was crossing the street outside my office, in a lovely mood, on my way to work. This guy was also crossing the street. He said "hi" to me and I said "hi" back, quietly. I usually do this if a guy seems like he's just being friendly (as opposed to offensive). He turns right, I turn left. He says, loudly, "all you foreigners are alike, I say 'hi' and you never say anything back." I was kind of shocked and said "I said 'hi.'" Then the "foreigner" comment, his sense of entitlement and general offensiveness hit me, and I yelled, on the streets of Georgetown, "AND IM NOT A FOREIGNER, FUCK YOU" asshole.

It doesn't matter whether one's an American or a foreigner...the generalizations this man made were insensitive and uncalled for. These men need to learn to not get an attitude because someone (usually a woman) doesn't respond back with the "perfect hi" for them. Men, it's not the end of your world...just move on.

Sunday, May 13, 2007

Fighting Back

Reader Kate tells her story where the good guys almost won the battle:

Last night a big group of us were in Recessions, a hotel bar on L St. between 18th and 19th NW. We were sitting at a table against a wall, and there was this older guy standing really close to our table, all alone, and he kept giving us looks. You know those looks. It was making all of us extremely uncomfortable. My instinct was to move to another chair and ignore it, but one of the girls with us did something I was really impressed by, and was not something I (or most women) would ever even think of doing: she told a bouncer. Those guys took it seriously, and 3 big guys came and kicked the leering jerk out. Awesome. The irony, though is one of the guys who kicked him out had made a creepy advance on another one of my friends earlier in the night...

It would've been the perfect victory had one of the bouncers not tried to make moves on one of the friends. Negative aside, I'm glad Kate's friend took action and that that old coot was kicked out of the place. Well done.

Tuesday, May 8, 2007

Homeless "Holla"

Note: Homelessness is a huge issue in DC, one which I don't take lightly. Please realize that not all homeless people act like the fool I'm about to profile.

The above-pictured man was sitting on a Georgetown street bumming money from men who walked by, but catcalled at women who walked by. If a woman didn't respond to his catcalling in kind, he would call them a "monkey." He may have mental issues, but he knew good and damn well what he was doing when he was bothering women on the streets. There's no excuse for that behavior.

Once again, please realize that not all homeless people are like this. Don't let this loser ruin your view towards them.

Taking Back the Streets

Reader Si didn't remain silent in dealing with catcalling men. Here's her story:

Yesterday I was walking with my husband along the 600 block of M street past the 20 or so guys who always hang out on the south side of the block. as I go past I hear "Jugs of Joy!" I had to turn around and yell at the guy that he was rude & shouldn't be saying $hit like that to me...

That block gets really bad in the warm weather, my neighbors have complained a lot about that bunch. (I'm with the neighborhood association MVSNA) I sent an email to the property manager - the block is mostly owned by United House of Prayer.

Good job in not taking that mess and taking action. I hope they do get those losers off the street.

Thursday, May 3, 2007

Don't Be Silent E-mail Address Change

Please note:

The new e-mail address to submit your stories, notes, comments, etc. to is Yahoo has been giving me grief and Hotmail is easier to use.

Once again, please make a note of it!

EJ Takes On...

...some asshole that grabbed her ass in Adams Morgan. These fools make me sick!