Monthly Archives: August 2010

“Don’t harass me!”

Actually, this was one of my more positive street harassment experiences (as if! but I say that because I felt good about how I responded – even though I did it without thinking). I was walking east on T St., away from Dupont circle, thinking my thoughts, when I realized two men across the street were yelling something at me. Since I couldn’t make out what they were saying, I said something like “What?” or “Excuse me?” For all I knew they could have been asking me for directions. But then it became apparent they had other intentions – when one of them responded by commenting on my appearance. Without thinking, I said loudly, “Don’t harass me!” I don’t think he was expecting that; he responded “I just said that’s a beautiful dress.” I replied loudly, “No, you’re harassing me, is what you’re doing” and walked on. I think they were a bit taken aback.
Not an intense encounter overall, but I’m happy that I pointed out what they were doing (harassing me) and that it was wrong. I felt good about it afterward.

Submitted by H on 8/26/2010

Location: Around 16th and T NW

Time of Harassment: Evening Rush Hour (3:30P-7:30P)

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

Sexual Assault in Georgetown

From TBD.com:

D.C. police are on the hunt for a man who sexually assaulted a woman inside her home, about one block from Georgetown University Hospital.

At approximately 7:30 a.m. Sunday a man forced his way into the residence in the 3800 block of S Street NW, in the Burleith neighborhood just north of Reservoir Road.

When the woman screamed, the suspect fled, said Officer Paul Metcalf, a DC Police spokesperson.

The suspect is described as a white male of average build with brown hair wearing a blue shirt.

Anyone with information about this case is asked to call the police at (202) 727-9099 or 1-888-919-CRIME (1-888-919-2746). A reward of up to $1,000 is offered for information that leads to an arrest and indictment.

STRANGER DANGER!!

Photo by MrB-MMX via flickr

So, my 10 year old neice and I are walking into a restaurant, we entered thru a different door than where the hostesses were located. Therefore, we had to walk thru the restaurant and pass the bar to get seated. I’m walking she is behind me but she’s still visible.

As I pass the bar, a man yells “HELLO!” in a “look what we have here kind of way”. I give him a stern “Hello” and a facial expression to let him know that I am not the one. I’m going to speak and you will leave me alone, I have children with me. There is nothing more embarrassing than being approached by a man when you are with your “babies”.

When we get to the podium, my neice leans in and says “Hey do you know him?”. I said “No baby, I don’t know”.

A little annoyed and embarrassed because I’m thinking I may have to explain this to her – – that this happens to women, why it happens and a whole bunch of crap I don’t want to go into because it’s heavy for a ten year old and my neice holds the record for maximum number of questions in a 2 minute period (15).

She looks back at him, looks at me and says “STRANGER DANGER!”

I howled. And said “Honey you don’t know the half!”.

Submitted by DB on 8/25/2010

Location: Mass & North Capitol

Time of Harassment: Evening Rush Hour (3:30P-7:30P)

Vote for HBDC! TODAY and EVERY DAY this month in the Pepsi Refresh Challenge so that we can secure $50K to bring RightRides to DC. Vote for us online here and by texting 101523 to 73774.  After you vote for us, use your other 9 votes to vote for Street YogaBecky’s Fund, and BodyLogiq

Sexual Assault in Columbia Heights

I am a California native, and I’ve been living in Washington, DC for the past 3.5 years. I have been astounded time and time again by the level of street harassment that goes on here, as well as the type: It is not just excessive in terms of frequency, but it is also usually very verbally aggressive and hostile, in addition to overly vulgar.

From the moment I arrived in DC, I began attracting an excessive amount of negative sexual attention from men on the streets. I have had an abundance of uncomfortable experiences, ranging from simple, sexually explicit comments thrown my way, to men exposing themselves to me and masturbating to the sight of me in the park, and guys grabbing my butt while they ride past me on bikes. I am a 32 year old, 5’’8  female with a curvy figure. I am attractive, but no more than any other female in this city. I do, however, seem to generate far more harassment than my friends, and I have to attribute it largely to the curves. Whatever the reason, the frequency has concerned everyone in my life.

On the night of Thursday, August 12th, just slightly after midnight, I was walking with my friend back to her apartment in the Columbia Heights neighborhood. We only had a 5 block walk to go, and we were together, so we didn’t think it was necessary to take a cab. We were carrying groceries in both our hands. A mere half a block from her building, I heard a sudden rush of footsteps behind us, then felt someone’s body slam into my back. I then felt myself 100% bound, as the person wrapped their arms solidly around me in a strong bear-hug hold.

Because the brain does not process things normally when in shock, the first thought both I and my friend had was, “Oh, whose that? Is that a friend I know that’s just surprising me with a hug?” We had just said goodnight to a friend, so I thought perhaps it was him.

The attackers grip suddenly changed, and though he still had me bound, his hands suddenly gripped my breasts very hard. My arms were pinned to my side. I could not move. And to be honest, I didn’t even realize just what was happening to me.

–That is until his left arm shifted to hold me in place while he shoved his right arm between my legs, placed his hand over my vagina, quickly rubbed it aggressively and then attempted to shove his fingers inside of me over my dress. I heard an utterly disgusting sound of sexual arousal leave his mouth in that moment– I think that sound disturbed me even more than the molestation. It has certainly been the part of the experience that has haunted me the most.

It was only then that the shock gave way to an understanding of what was happening to me. According to my friend, I screamed “Get off of me!,” then dropped my weight to the ground. I don’t even remember doing this. And that’s when she realized just what was going on. Even as my body fell away from his grip and onto the ground, he was still struggling to hold onto me. When he let go, I looked up to see my friend struggling with him and pushing him away from me. He grabbed her hair, yanked her head back, shoved her and ran away.

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Hit with a Newspaper

I was just grabbing lunch when I saw an elderly man walking toward me. Didn’t think anything of him until he winked at me and very obviously turned around (after he had just walked past me) to hit my behind with his rolled up newspaper. Come on. Really? Ugh.

Submitted by anonymous on 8/23/2010

Location: 16th and I Streets NW

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

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Stopping Harassment

I have been repeatedly sexually harassed throughout my life, starting, as best as I can remember, at age 13, while walking through a festival with a friend, when a carne running a game yelled out at me “room for 2 in that shirt?” So, harassment gets my dander up, especially the fact that no one ever responds to the harassment (I mean, we were KIDS when that happened, it would have been REASONABLE for an adult to step in there). I try to respond when it happens to me, and help out when it happens to others.

Just a few weeks ago, as I was out at happy hour(s) with my co-workers, I was standing outside the bar having a cigarette, as were a group of other patrons of the same bar. While standing there, this guy comes to the door and starts trying to get the attention of one girl who is with the other group of patrons (mixed gender) outside. She tells him to go away, she’s not interested in talking to him, and he keeps motioning for her to come inside. He tries to leave the bar, drink in hand, and the bouncer stops him. At this point we share a “WTF” and all start talking. So he ditches the drink and comes back a few minutes later, INSISTING on talking to this girl. She and her friends try to ignore him. We finish our smokes and I say to her “hey, you wanted to meet my coworkers, right?” So we head back into the bar, arm-in-arm, and safely into the downstairs area which, fortunately, had been reserved by both our group and hers, so he had no excuse to come down there. While I felt good about helping out, it’s kind of infuriating that the BOUNCER didn’t intervene to protect a patron from an aggressive, intoxicated fool.

But my point is that you don’t have to get aggressive and all up in someone’s face to help stop harassment, just provide a safe out for the subject of the harassment. It really works wonders, and feels good to help others feel safe in the face of those who think they are public property. And believe me, someone who won’t take no for an answer (even a drunk guy, despite “not being in his right mind”) thinks that the women they are harassing “owe” them…their time, their admiration, their body, etc.

Submitted by T on 8/18/201

Location: 7th Street NW, at a Bar

Time of Harassment: Night (7:30P-12A)

Vote for HBDC! TODAY and EVERY DAY this month in the Pepsi Refresh Challenge so that we can secure $50K to bring RightRides to DC. Vote for us online here and by texting 101523 to 73774.  After you vote for us, use your other 9 votes to vote for Street Yoga, Becky’s Fund, and BodyLogique.

Newport Place Incident

We received this email (checked with the author on the authenticity) and, again, it’s another example of why we need to do more in our city to address sexual assault.

They say bad things happen in three’s, so the good news is that you will not be getting another sad email from me for awhile.
Last night, I was attacked by a man on the corner of 21st and Newport Place.  I was walking home on 21st St. from P at 11:20pm.  I noticed a man sitting on a stoop; when I passed him, he casually stood up and then started following me.  As he started walking faster, I dialed 9-1 on my cell phone (a habit from living in Boston where I often walked by myself).  Within seconds he was behind me.  I stepped to the side to let him pass, and that’s when he grabbed me between my legs and then grabbed my chest.  I immediately started screaming and struggling away from him, and fortunately he ran off.  I dialed the last “1” to call the police.  The scary thing was that he did not run far.  As I stood on the corner talking (sobbing) to the dispatch, I could see him a mere yards away on Newport.  He was clearly out of his mind.  The cops responded quickly and as soon as the first police car arrived, I was able to point him out just down the street.  A detective arrived about 30 minutes later, took down my story, and asked me to identify the man.  It was terrible, but at least he’s behind bars now.
Friends, please, please be careful when you are walking alone.  I have heard too many stories of this happening to friends, but still never imagined it would happen to me, much less in my “nice,” well-lit neighborhood.  The police told me that they catch less than half of the f-ers that do this to women in DC.  They said it was good that I had called them so quickly.  I have to admit that I hesitated for a moment before calling–I don’t even know why.  But once I called, the dispatcher stayed on the phone with me the entire time and made me feel safe.
I wish I could relay some sort of wisdom that would keep all of us safer.  Only this: SCREAM loudly and call the police right away.  I feel terribly violated and scared, but know that I’m lucky that it wasn’t worse.  Please forward to any women you know in the Dupont/Georgetown area (or elsewhere!)–we cannot be too careful.
Please be safe.
Vote for HBDC! TODAY and EVERY DAY this month in the Pepsi Refresh Challenge so that we can secure $50K to bring RightRides to DC. Vote for us online here and by texting 101523 to 73774.  After you vote for us, use your other 9 votes to vote for Street Yoga, Becky’s Fund, and BodyLogique.