Teenage Harassers

Last Sunday night at about 10pm, I left my house to get a decent meal after working on a fellowship application for about 36 hours. I had not showered since Friday morning, and I was wearing black sweatpants and a red hoodie — hardly glamorous. Still, I felt light and relieved to be done with my drafts. That carefree feeling, however, didn’t last long.

When I exited my building, I intersected the sidewalk in front of 3 teenage boys. I don’t think they could have been more than 14 or 15 years old. They immediately started talking about my butt, hooting and hollering. I tried to ignore them, thinking that they would stop once they had impressed each other enough by objectifying me. They did not stop. I walked faster. They made a comment about that. I walked faster still, getting in front of an older woman (in her 60s). Now here’s where I get pissed. The boys started talking about how she was ugly and fat, and how she blocked them from seeing my ass. It’s bad enough to make me feel intimidated, but then to go insulting a woman who could be their grandmother??? I just shook my head and crossed over to the other side of the street. They continued to shout at me across the street, describing my clothes and the purse I was carrying, in case I had any doubts walking along an empty sidewalk that they were harassing me, specifically.

To stop fuming, I started thinking to myself how funny it would be if I pretended like I was actually interested or flattered. I could just take one of their phones to “give them my number,” and then call his mother to let her know that her son was behaving like a little asshole, and I know she didn’t raise him like that.

Of course, as a matter of practice, I wouldn’t recommend this. 14 year old boys have all the testosterone, half the brain, and probably way more likely than adults to carry weapons to impress their friends. I’m twice their age, but that doesn’t mean I wasn’t scared of them. So yes, next time if it’s past 9pm and I’m alone, I’m ordering in. I love Astor (my destination that night), and they don’t deliver. It sucks that I have to feel like that.

Submitted by LL on 10/5/2009

Location: 19th & Columbia Road, NW

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