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, February 15, 2008

"Is there really nothing that could have helped?"

Lynn sent this message:

This is a great idea for a blog. I was looking for a place to vent and get support from people who went through similar problems, but it doesn't seem like there's a lot of other places to go. Please let me know about other places to look, if you know of any.

I got the sense when I filed a police report that they don't worry about small things like attempted robbery or attempted assault. I'd be fine with that as long as there was someplace else to deal with these issues, like a neighborhood watch or local community organization. I think you're just asking for more trouble if you don't crack down on the small stuff.

Last Tuesday (Super Tuesday) I was walking alone back to my car parked by 2nd and I (EYE) St, NW DC around 6:50pm, when 3 teenage black girls asked me for money and attacked me. It didn't seem unusual at first to be harassed by a group of young black girls, which this blog made me realize is kind of sad. They weren't violent at first, they seemed like they were just average 12 or 13 year olds who don't get enough attention and were trying to have some fun. If anyone knows how to deal with teenagers, please let me know. Even if you are seriously trying to help them, they want to take advantage of you without any regrets. I tried to just be respectful, and hope that they would realize it wasn't that fun to harass someone. They decided to punch me as hard and as often as they could in my head. They aren't strong, so I wasn't hurt much at all, but they were very persistent and I had to be saved by a car passing by and stopping.

No one was hurt and nothing was stolen, but I really think the girls would do this again to someone else.

Would beating them up have taught them a lesson or would they just carry a weapon the next time?

If I had gone ahead and maced the girls without even talking to them, does that make me look like the criminal? Usually I think I should at least try to talk to a person to figure out what's wrong.

The girls could have been much worse, they could have pushed me into moving traffic, or stolen my car. They sounded like they didn't want me to get hurt. But I definitely think giving them any money would have just led to more problems-not that I had that much money anyway.

Is there really nothing that could have helped?

Thanks for your story, Lynn. I hope these girls were caught and I hope one day they learn a lesson. To answer your question, I don't know the answer to handling the surge of troubled youth in DC. I don't.

And to take a quote from your message:

"It didn't seem unusual at first to be harassed by a group of young black girls, which this blog made me realize is kind of sad."

It is. I'm a Black woman, and when posting my write-up on dealing with rowdy kids, I cringed when I posted their race in my description. I hate that people equate being Black with being violent, compassionless and directionless. I see this behavior too frequently in Black youth. It's probably the reason why I take the bad behavior so personally. Contrary to what the naysayers ("Ignore it!" "It's not your problem!") say, it's not easy to disregard when people the same color as me are doing this. In a world where the negative stereotypes rise above the positives, I want what's best for the people of my race. And you're damn right that I will get angry and frustrated. Do these kids not realize what they're doing? Acting like a bunch of mindless buffoons because lord forbid anyone accuses them of "acting white."

I don't have the answer as to how to handle teenagers. DC is not an episode of Maury where D. West comes out on stage on a rampage screaming in the faces of bad teens. No one can rally all the bad teens of DC to spend a night in the roughest prisons or in a morgue. We can't corral them all off to boot camp, then expect them to come home the next day saying "I'm sorry, Ma! I'll be good!" Change is a constant, it doesn't happen overnight.

If anyone has the panacea to handling these kids, let me know. Because I just don't know what to do.

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