“Looking GOOD. Looking GREAT”

Photo by Daquella manera via Flickr

I was walking to work, down K street, when I passed a Street Sense vendor. I have never, never – I mean literally never – had a negative experience with a S.S. vendor.

So I walk by, and he starts hollering at me “Girl, your dress is TIGHT. Looking GOOD. Looking GREAT. Mmm, mmm, mmm, that’s right, keep moving it like that .”

I don’t turn around, I don’t stop, I don’t do anything – just keep crossing the street. But ugh! Ugh, ugh ugh! I’m generally very good at comebacks and what-have-you, and actually have had to have friends “pull me off” when I’m about to get into a confrontation with some guy who says or does something inappropriate in public, but I just didn’t know how to react. It was busy, since it was rush hour, and the thought of a million and nine passer-by see me lose my cool was enough to keep me quiet.

But. What. The. Hell. If you want to promote your Street Sense newspaper, and get more people to buy them (I buy them ALL THE TIME), sexually harassing women on the street is probably not the way to do it. I’m considering contacting the Street Sense people, but I also don’t want to cause someone to lose gainful employment when they might not be able to find it otherwise.

I’ve been harassed on the street quite a bit since moving to D.C., but this one was most upsetting. Maybe it’s because I didn’t respond in any way, maybe it’s because this guy was OFFICIALLY ON THE CLOCK, or maybe because I felt so pretty this morning and this guy tried to ruin it for me (I tend to not participate in ‘casual fridays,’ since I think jeans are boring).

Well, it’s 8:46 a.m., and the enjoyability level of my day has been adversely impacted. Super.

Submitted by Hanna on 6/25/2010

Location: Connecticut and K

Time of Harassment: Morning Rush Hour (5A-9:30A)

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.

4 responses to ““Looking GOOD. Looking GREAT”

  1. Golden Silence

    But. What. The. Hell. If you want to promote your Street Sense newspaper, and get more people to buy them (I buy them ALL THE TIME), sexually harassing women on the street is probably not the way to do it. I’m considering contacting the Street Sense people, but I also don’t want to cause someone to lose gainful employment when they might not be able to find it otherwise.

    I had an experience with an SS vendor a year or so back where he was trying to “holla” at me. I called him out on his behavior, told him to refer to me and other women as “Miss” or “Ma’am” from that point on. He apologized, introduced himself to me, and since I’ve seen him I haven’t had a problem with him since.

    I think you should contact SS. Their program’s for a good cause, but some of the men working for them need to be educated on how to sell papers and not harass women.

  2. But how would the vendor learn that his behavior is unacceptable if you don’t report it? Is it really your duty to protect someone who verbally assaults you because he is poor?

  3. I should qualify that last statement – it reads like the harasser does it because he’s poor. What I mean is, should his poverty excuse him from facing reasonable consequences for his behavior? I don’t think it should.

  4. I called Street Sense, left a message. Did not hear back. Am going to call again today. Made it very clear in my message that I don’t want him to lose his job or anything, just receive a “very stern talking to” that street harassment isn’t acceptable.

    The thing though, Quest, is that if my harasser was a white, middle-class man, he would not face “reasonable consequences.” In fact, nothing would happen, since I probably would not know his place of business, nor would he have been working at the time of the harassment. I’m not entirely comfortable knowing that this particular man’s behavior might have much more grave and far-reaching consequences than the (in my opinion) average street harasser.

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