I was on my way to Rhode Island Avenue Station to get to work this morning and I waited at one intersection. When the light changed I proceeded to cross the street, but not without some driver beeping at me like mad as I tried to cross. It startled me, and I was livid.
“Fucking asshole,” I said, under my breath. I tried to maintain my composure and continue on. Another driver, who was waiting at a light, decided he wanted to be smooth and try to get my attention. “Hey, howya doin’?” he said. I ignored him.
As I continued on, two guys were hanging out on their stoop. This is 9 in the morning on a weekday — don’t they have jobs?
“Ooh girl,” the one in his underwear (yes, you can see he’s wearing nothing but boxer briefs) said. “I like the way you work it.” Then he and his friend started leering at me and snickering. What made this incident worse is that there was a third party — a woman (behind the door in the shot) — hanging out with them and laughing it up as well.
“That is so disrespectful,” I said. Their laughter turned to anger.
“Ain’t nothin’ disrespectful about that,” the guy in his underwear said.
“Yes it is,” I said. “I’m trying to go about my day and I don’t need guys I don’t know talking to me like that.”
It went back and forth like that. It sickened me that these men (and that woman) found nothing wrong with their behavior.
“I should’ve said ‘Girl, I like how you walk’,” Underwear Guy continued, just not getting that talking to a woman he doesn’t know in a sexual manner is not respectful. No matter how many times I told him he and his group were tacky, disrespectful and tasteless, it went in one ear and out the other.
When I bent over to pull my cell phone out of my bag to snap their photo to submit to Holla Back DC, they freaked out.
“Aw, shit! She about to pull her glock out!” they yelled while ducking. I shook my head in disbelief. It shows we’re of two different mentalities. I can’t get over the fact that they thought I was going to pull out a gun.
I got my cell phone out and snapped their photo. “Why you takin’ our picture?” Underwear Guy asked. I didn’t give him a response to that. I was tired of dealing with shiftless losers who were hanging out on their stoop harassing women. And I was irate that another woman found no issue with these men doing this. I know she wouldn’t like it if she walked by and guys talked to her like that.
I continued on my commute, and these men continued to catcall at me even when I was halfway down the street. I felt my body turn into jello. The composure I previously had was long gone. My body was shaking and I could barely walk. Thank you so much, harassers, for giving me a hideous start to my day.
The incident made me late for work, and I had to go in there and pretend that nothing happened. When a co-worker asked how my morning was going so far, I put a fake smile on my face and said “fine.” No, it’s not fine! To be degraded, humiliated, and treated like a piece of meat during my morning commute is not fine. I frequently take this street to get to Rhode Island Station in the morning, and there really isn’t another option. One street puts me further back than where I need to be (and shootings have occurred on it), and the other streets are dead-end alleys. I could take Brookland Metro in the mornings, but my direction is Shady Grove and going to Brookland Station is heading towards Glenmont, and putting myself one stop backwards adds to my commute time.
Many of my relatives are very concerned about what I have to go through each morning I leave my house. They’re fearful that I take photos and document what happens to me. They’re afraid I can be killed if I respond to the wrong guy the wrong way. I just think it’s unfair that I have to 1. change my commute to avoid walking past Underwear Guy’s house again and 2. have to kowtow to these harassers for fear of violent retaliation. I shouldn’t have to change my behavior, the harassers need to change THEIRS.
Location: 2700 block of 10th Street NE
Submitted by Anonymous
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