In the neighborhood where I work in Silver Spring, when I walk down the street men typically comment on my appearance and make hissing or kissing noises. It is a neighborhood where a lot of day laborers congregate, waiting for work. I do NOT want to imply that the day laborers, most whom are latino, are the only men who sexually harass women because during my relatively short lifetime I’ve certainly been harassed by a veritable rainbow coalition of men, but the reality is it is quite intimidating to walk by large groups of men, several of whom may feel the urge to comment on my appearance. It really bothers me, and makes me feel less safe to leave my office building and even walk down the street to the 7-11 to buy a Diet Coke at lunchtime. But I usually just put on my hat and my dark sunglasses and try to ignore any harassment that may come my way.
Last Friday, we had a training on our office policy on sexual/racial etc. harassment. As I was leaving the training, a man said to me “Good Afternoon,” and like the well-brought up Midwesterner that I am, I replied “Good Afternoon.” He then continued with “que linda, que bonita” and then started to make kissing noises. Perhaps because of our training earlier that day, I felt particularly empowered to say “A mi no me gusta esto!” (I don’t like that!). He replied “ok, sorry.” I was quite pleased with his response, and I hope he tells his friends that kissing noises do not lead to great romantic success.
Submitted by anonymous