It’s sad that even on the Lord’s Day street harassment is rampant!
I went to Tenleytown for my yoga class this morning, and prior to it I ran to CVS. On the way there some Street Sense guys were hanging out. Everyone else who passed by was spoken to respectfully, but to me it’s “Princess! Can we talk to you?”
“I’m not your princess!” I snapped, and walked into CVS. Coming out of CVS 10 minutes later, they said “Have a good day!” but I wasn’t in the mood.
I went to my yoga class, and an hour later I had to go back to CVS to try to get a receipt I’d left there. I was unfortunately sans receipt, but one of the Street Sense guys (the one pictured in the green hat) approached me and apologized.
“Sorry for calling you ‘Princess’,” he said. “I didn’t mean to offend you.”
Getting an apology from a street harasser is a good feeling!
“Thanks,” I said. “Just say ‘Hello, miss’ or ‘Hello, ma’am’ the next time you see a woman. That’s all you have to do.”
He shook my hand and introduced himself to me. I’m glad to know that I may have changed a street harasser’s ways.
Since the weather was nice out today, I decided to walk halfway home instead of hopping directly on the Metro. At the bus shelter at Wisconsin Avenue and Tenley Circle, a bunch of old men were hanging out. The positive chi from yoga class and the good feeling of an apology from the first harasser went down the drain when these men started catcalling at me.
“Here she comes, here she comes,” one said to me. There were also “Mm-mm-mms” and kissing noises made. They were beckoning to me as if I were someone’s pet.
“Come here baby, come here, you [sic] cute,” they kept saying. Nasty!
I stopped to pull out my phone to take their photos. They thought I was doing it because I liked them. Yuck!
“You takin’ our photos?”
“They’re being submitted to HollaBack DC,” I said. “HollaBackDC (at) WordPress (dot) com!”
“Okay,” they said, not getting it.
“They’re being submitted to a site that’s anti-street harassment site,” I said. “Because you sexually harassed me and that’s not cool!”
Now they got it. The one in the white shirt started to defend himself and make up excuses, but I wasn’t in the mood. The video is of him talking junk. [Editors’ note: We weren’t able to save the video and upload to the blog post.] The audio’s not perfect but here’s a transcript:
Me: “But no one should like being harassed by a man!”
Him: “Git yo’self outta here! Go on! You still cute though.”
Me: “You are not MY man!” (The only man who should “compliment” me like that is my future boyfriend, not some random man on the street!)
Him: “You still cute though!”
Me: “You don’t hit on women you don’t know! It’s so inappropriate. I’m not a piece of meat to be ogled! It’s not a compliment being hit on by a guy I don’t know hanging out at a bus shelter! It’s not a compliment!”
Him: “It is a compliment!”
Me: “No, it’s not!”
Him: “It IS a compliment!”
Me: “No, it’s not.”
After it stopped recording, he then said “Are you one of those Gallaudet students? Do you go to Gallaudet?” (For those who don’t know, Gallaudet is a university for the Deaf.)
“Obviously I don’t because I can hear everything you said, you dumb ass!” I yelled back.
He kept talking, and I kept walking. I was sick of dealing with this loser and his friends.
When I finally got to my neck of the woods, I was blocks away from my place and drinking a smoothie when some black convertible BMW-type car with DC vanity plates SAM517 sidled up next to me and matched my pace. I was in a zone and his creeping up next to me like that knocked me out of it. Why do strange men feel the need to talk to women they don’t know and make them uncomfortable?
“It’s very hot out here, don’t you think?” he said, trying to be smooth.
“I don’t know you, leave me alone,” I said.
“I’m sorry,” he said, and drove off really fast in a completely different direction than where he was originally headed. Do men just drive around looking for women to hit on and flirt with? Sick!
Though being sexually harassed and catcalled at is never fun, the positive note is that in two instances the offenders did apologize, and may have learned not to do it again. I just wish that more men would learn to knock this stuff off.
Submitted by D
If you have a story on street harassment and/or picture of the harasser, please email us at firstname.lastname@example.org (include the cross streets if you can remember). We will automatically post them anonymously unless you tell us to use your name or initials.