“What would your mother think of you saying that?”

Photo by IntangibleArts via flickr

This morning I was walking past the Petworth library on my way to work and I caught up to two boys who looked about high-school age. I figured they were on their way to Roosevelt, and at first I was gratified by the fact that a high-school-aged boy was pulling his friend out of my way to let me pass more easily on the sidewalk. Until I heard him say, “Hold up a sec, let this bitch pass by.” And it wasn’t an “I call every woman a bitch” bitch, it was an “I’m going to call you a bitch to see if you say anything” bitch. And I didn’t say a thing. I can’t justify it, and it has been bothering me all day that I didn’t stop right there and say, “Excuse me? What would your mother think of you saying that? You think you’re ever going to get a woman to respect you with that kind of talk? You have a lot of growing up to do.” I know that might have just led to more smack talk from him (how likely is it that a 14-18 year old kid is going to back down in front of his friend when a woman calls him out on his behavior?), but I would have felt better about walking away in silence after that. I hate that I was too afraid to say anything. Did I really think he was going to throw a punch if I stopped and questioned him? I doubt it, but then again, it’s possible. I hate that fear like that can ruin my day. And I hate that I don’t know the best way to handle this kind of a situation if it arises again.

Submitted by Anonymous on 5/12/2010

Location: Iowa Ave NW & Georgia Ave NW – outside the Petworth library

Do you have a personal experience with gender-based public sexual harassment or assault you would like to submit? Just click here and fill out the online submission form. All submissions are posted anonymously unless you specify.


Share/Bookmark

2 responses to ““What would your mother think of you saying that?”

  1. I work as a crossing guard. Last Monday I was doing my job, two teen age boys walked past me. I didn’t think anything of it. One of the boys started singing about how much he loves fat chicks. I ignored it esp. since I know the other boys mother. The next day the boy did it again, I ignored it. On Wednesday he did it again this time really loud.

    I tracked down the mother whom I am friends with and told her everything. She read both boys the riot act and I haven’t heard or seen either one since.

  2. Golden Silence

    Don’t beat yourself up over the head about this. You never know how you’re going to react to certain situations. And with the way these teens act today, I don’t blame you for not saying anything.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s