Beware of the Bike Gropers

I was walking on a very well-populated U St. NW last (Thursday) night  after leaving a fundraiser at Local 16. I was approaching U & 13th when I felt someone’s hand on my ass, grabbing me hard. I was in complete shock, and didn’t even fully realize what had happened until I saw the guy pass casually by me on his bike. Before I could even react, ANOTHER, totally separate guy that was riding on the sidewalk grabbed my ass as he biked past me.

I was extremely upset. Extremely. I get verbally harassed every single day in DC, everywhere I go, and that is upsetting enough. But this was the first time I’d ever been physically violated.

Part of what was so disturbing was that it seemed so very normal and commonplace for both of these men. It was not a plotted, systematic attack followed by bolting away. They were simply riding their bikes down the sidewalk, saw my ass, and felt entitled to grab it as though they were taking a newspaper from a post box. They neither increased their speed nor attempted to “get away” after the groping. One of them even casually stopped to talk to friends at the U St. metro station a block away.

While my instinct was literally to chase after them, push them off their bikes and beat the hell out of them, I knew that would likely end in me getting severely injured or killed. So I did what I always do and just accepted it and imploded with fear and frustration. I then called the police, and when I approached the metro station I stood in front of one of the men openly describing him to the officer on the phone. The man realized what I was doing, smiled and laughed, and only then took off to “get away.” Probably even more than the groping, I found the utterly casual, entitled nature of the attack to be terribly disturbing.

The cop that took my report said that a week earlier he responded to an identical call- A woman walking alone, groped by a man passing by her on his bike. She, however, did what I wanted to do but knew not to– She shoved him and slapped him in outrage.

And of course, in return, she was beaten mercilessly, and a bloody mess by the time the cops arrived.

Seriously, what are we supposed to do? What? Wear burkas and never leave our houses? I am at my wits end. This is the 3rd extremely graphic episode I’ve experience THIS MONTH. And I am exhausted.

Location 13 & U

Submitted by B

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4 responses to “Beware of the Bike Gropers

  1. B, I am so sorry that these trolls keep doing this to you. No one should have to deal with repeat harassment. The gropers are messed up in their heads. Who casually gropes a woman they don’t know? Sick.

  2. Thanks, Golden. I honestly can’t believe how often these things keep happening to me– And I feel like I’m going to snap, because every time it happens I just feel so powerless and frustrated.

    Yes, I think they’re sick in the head. But I also think it’s just a power thing. Power and entitlement.

    I’m not any more attractive than any other woman in this city. But I think I have a body type that men on the streets of DC respond to. I can’t do anything about that. Even if I change my wardrobe entirely, I can’t change my body.

    I don’t know what to do.

  3. Watch out also for the homeless man in a wheelchair around the U street area..He may ask you for money, but he will also grope you…sadly it’s happened

  4. Ladies in burqas get harassed as well. In fact, veiled women are even more harassed than their unveiled counterparts in some urban centers.

    http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/middle_east/7514567.stm

    Let’s not exoticize the east any more than it already is in our culture. The burqa – not to mention the hijab and niqab – are not donned to deter ass-grabbing. Your experience was terrible – but I doubt you will convert to Islam because of it.

    For more context, here’s a great blog post about burqa-tourism:

    http://muslimahmediawatch.org/2009/08/burqa-tourism-at-its-finest-how-to-become-an-expert-on-muslim-women-in-just-one-week/

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