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 22, 2008

A Tough Decision

These past few weeks on here have been tough. The reactions to "Rowdy Teens Attack on Morning Commute" have been mixed---mostly on the side of "What is wrong with you?" It got to the point when I wasn't even reading the responses anymore, I was blindly pressing "publish." Anywhere where it was linked it got polarizing reactions. (Someone can have a post linked on DC Blogs about a nice walk in the park but get no reactions, but anytime DBS is linked everyone has something to say.)

I spoke with family and friends, not just about this incident, but for DBS as a whole. It was a tough decision, but come March I'm no longer going to work on DBS. A lot of changes are going on in my real life, and that's more important for me to focus on more than anything. I wondered why the original HollaBack DC became defunct, and now I realize why. Taking on this kind of responsibility is far from easy.

A lot of people thought that just because I did this blog I was an "expert" on handling street harassment. Not once on here did I ever consider myself an expert on anything. Many times I said I didn't know the answer and was willing to learn. Many times my reactions to things in the real world have been missteps. If you want real experts on handling street harassment, talk to Lauren Taylor or Martha Langelan. They're the ones coming up with effective ways on handling DC's street harassment problem.

I realize that quitting will have polarizing effects as well: the supporters will be shocked and beg me not to quit, and the naysayers will either think "Good riddance!" or be mad that they'll have one less person to heckle. Eventually, this will pass and everyone will move on. As I told my loved ones, "I am not Atlas and am tired of feeling like I have the burden of the world on my shoulders." I am burned out from trying to tackle all these problems, frustrated from dealing with Internet hecklers (the loudest ones online are the quietest in the real world I always say) and I feel that some of the concerned were right: I am too focused on this, and I need to worry more about my life outside of it.

Just because this blog will come to an end, it doesn't mean you won't have a place to voice your views on street harassment. As long as you have a voice in the world, you can use it (via writing, your own blog, etc.) to put it out there on your own. You don't need to be silent.

I'm going to step back into the background. Like someone told me, there are quieter and less dangerous ways of trying to change the world, and that's what I want to do.

It's been an interesting year running this blog. To those who submitted stories---stay strong and be safe. And to those who have supported me through thick and thin---you have my gratitude.

Signing off.