“I Was Excited That I Spoke Up”

Photo by smlp.co.uk via Flickr

I was walking along L St. today between 19th and 20th. I passed a man who had a cane, a leg brace, and a mug and was asking passers by for change.
I politely gave him my normal answer that “I don’t give out cash.”
As I turned my back to continue walking, I her him say under his breath “stinky ass.”
I turned around, lifted up my sunglasses and looked him in the eyes, and replied “Excuse me? Did you say something?” To which he turned his gaze out toward the street as though he didn’t say anything. I walked back, closer to him and asked again “did you say something?”
His response: “have a nice day.” But in a childish way as if to dismiss whatever I had said.
As I walked away, I hear the same thing, “stinky ass.” So I turn around again and tell him that he does not have the right to speak to me that way. His response was the same petulant child reaction.

I soon realized that he most likely has mental health problems, when he gave me the same response as I walked away again “stinky ass.”
I went back again, and looked him in the eyes and told him that he has no right to speak to me this way. I said it loudly and people noticed. He did shut up that time when I walked away. I heard some giggles from people around.
I caught up to some of them at crosswalk and they asked me what was going on back there. I told them that he was saying naughty things to me and I had to tell him what was up.
As I made my way across the street, I could hear him yelling terrible things at the top of his lungs, while the people who saw the whole thing go down were saying “I think that’s for you.”
Mind you, their reaction was not intended in a bad way. I think they were surprised to see someone confronting a situation like that, and being persistent.
This was not a good experience, I felt terrible, shaken and my heart was racing. But I also knew that my heart was racing because I was excited that I spoke up. Thanks, Holla Back for opening my eyes to this problem and giving me power to respond!

Submitted by CEM on 6/25/2010

Location: L St. between 19th and 20th

Time of Harassment: Day Time (9:30-3:30P)

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.


One response to ““I Was Excited That I Spoke Up”

  1. Golden Silence

    Thanks, Holla Back for opening my eyes to this problem and giving me power to respond!

    And thank you, CEM, for telling your story and being brave enough to confront this creep!

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