Experiencing Public Sexual Harassment is Exhausting

I get sexually harassed on a daily basis in DC, so for me to post here regularly would get laborious. But I recently had one of the worst episodes so far, and I thought it was worth sharing:

It was about 10am in the morning, and I went to my porch to wait for the plumber that was a block away. I was standing in my doorway in casual board shorts and a generic tank top, hair back. Basically my grubby pajamas.

There was a lot of traffic on my street (P & 10th NW), so cars were halted. I noticed a man in a van was trying to get my attention by motioning with his hand that I should come toward him. With the other hand, however, he was making a “V” with his fingers, and very specifically using his tongue to graphically imitate vaginal oral sex. I was in such shock and so horrified that all I could do was stare in disgust rather than simply walking away like I usually do. Moments later, he changed the “V” hand to a fist, and started bobbing his head up and down over it, imitating a blow job, all the while using the other hand to motion me over toward him.

Because I had just filed a police report the night before about someone that sent me a text message of their erection, I was feeling particularly vulnerable and intolerant, so I screamed “Do you want me to call the cops, @sshole?”

–To which he laughed and screamed back, “No, I want your p*ssy!” before driving off.

I know people say we should just let these experienced roll off our backs, but when they happen day in and day out, and you are a female alone in the city when they happen, it really wears on you. I was so disgusted, and felt so violated that I simply broke down crying in frustration.

It is truly exhausting how often I experience this type of thing.

Location: P & 10th NW

Submitted by Miss B

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10 responses to “Experiencing Public Sexual Harassment is Exhausting

  1. Golden Silence

    I know people say we should just let these experiences roll off our backs, but when they happen day in and day out, and you are a female alone in the city when they happen, it really wears on you.

    No, you should not have to let it roll off your back. Dealing with it day in and day out is a huge burden to bear. Let your anger and emotions about the harassment out. Harassment is nothing anyone should have to just roll with.

  2. I would take down his license plate number since he was probably in a work vehicle and track down who owns that truck. Getting him fired would be a good start.

  3. Wow, I am so sorry you had to experience this. It saddens and infuriates me that this has happened to you. As a man, I promise that I will correct others when I see anything like this kind of behavior taking place.

    All my best wishes.

  4. Thank you for the comments. It actually does help.

    Last night I was groped by 2 different men on bikes while walking home on U St.

    I don’t know what to do anymore…….

  5. As a man, I promise that I will correct others when I see anything like this kind of behavior taking place.

    Thank you, J.

  6. Golden Silence

    Last night I was groped by 2 different men on bikes while walking home on U St.

    I am so sorry to hear that, Miss B. Hearing that really upsets me. We all need to take a stand against street harassment. It’s beyond ridiculous now.

  7. I am so sorry that this happened to you. And I also understand that it does happen everday and we couldnt all possibly write that much. Until I found this site, I had no idea… I felt so alone. I do not live in DC but rather a small town. I am harrased EVERYTIME I leave my home, and even wake to find creepy notes on my car, etc. I know of no other women in my area who has ever claimed to have had similiar expierences to these, and when one might confess to whistles and the like, they down play it. These are the same people who advise to just “ignore” it.

    Its so wrong, but the anger, the disgust…would make me want to throw a brick though his window.

    When you get treated like you are being a diva by law enforcment, managers, security, and so on, you begin to feel like its the only way. Like, maybe if you actually make the news from your outburst in reaction to this harrasment, that maybe some REAL changes will be enforced.

    But alas I’m far too classy for that…for now.

    So an erection, huh? Oh that is soooo original.

    Take Care

  8. Unfortunately, such behaviour indicates a deeper problem that alot of men have. Considering the amount of porn they have access to, and the way women are protrayed in the media, its no wonder we now have a society where men do no respect women and are NOT encouraged to. If we want a society that respects women, we need to band together and do something about it. I would send emails to your local polititian. Surely you have one that takes care of Womens policies? Do you have a Humans right commission? Then complain to them as well. Then find similar women in the region and act together. If you see sexist ads, then all of you complain. Turn your emotions into action. Also, the prettier you are, the more you will be harassed. Best to dress modestly in public – no shorts or tank tops!! I think if you wear oversized daggy clothes and no makeup, men will probably give you a miss.

    • You make some excellent points, Leanne. Thank you for your contributions. However, it is important to remember that public sexual harassment is not about looks. Women get harassed no matter what they are wearing or what they look like. Public sexual harassment is deeply rooted in cultural norms of patriarchy, power, and control. Women have a right to wear whatever they want, when they want, and not be sexually harassed. We should keep wearing our shorts and tank tops proudly but still turn our emotions into action!

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