Monthly Archives: November 2010

“complimenting”

Photo by steve snodgrass via flickr

Sadly, this is the second harassment story I’m posting to this site.

I went to Five Guys for a burger and fries on my lunch break in the middle of a week day. I was starving and just wanted to stuff my face with delicious food, but I had an interaction with an employee there that creeped me out.

When I walked up to the restaurant, an employee of the burger joint was standing outside on a break or something, I assume. He looked me up and down a couple times as I was walking toward the door, then mumbled something at me as I was entering the building. I wasn’t quite sure what he said, but I thought it was something like, “you have pretty eyes.” Harmless enough? Whatever, I was on a mission for that burger.

I went in to place my order. While I was doing that, the same guy that had been looking me up and down came back in to work and came behind the counter. For some reason he took over the transaction from the other person that was helping me, and was just kind of staring at me. It was really creepy. Then he started making comments to me, “complimenting” me on my looks. “Hey, pretty eyes” started to sound a lot weirder in that context. I paid for my food and waited for it on the other side of the room, away from the counter. Five minutes feels like a long time when you know someone is staring at you.

Finally the food came up, and I went on my way. The guy followed me out the door and shouted more “compliments” at me as I walked down the street, concluding with “Bye, pretty eyes! Come back and see me, I’ll be here waitin’ for ya.”

Ummmmmm… No.

Next time I’ll be talking to your manager(s). I wish I had that day.

Submitted by A on 11/24/2010

Location: 1645 Connecticut Ave NW

Time of Harassment: Time (9:30A-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.

“I decided to respond.”

This morning I was walking to my car, which was parked a few blocks from my apartment, to get to boot camp (exercise, not military). As I passed the BP gas station just north of N St on 13th, a guy at one of the pumps started making fairly explicit remarks about my body. I’m no stranger to street harassment, especially when working out in the morning, but I generally just ignore the comments.

But this morning, I felt something snap, and I decided to respond. I could only think of the words that Marty Langelan used in a self-defense class I took many years ago. So I said what she taught me to say.

“Hey! Stop harassing women. I don’t like it. Nobody likes it! Show some respect.”

The harasser at first held up his hands and apologized. But as soon as I started walking away, I heard him yelling about his big dick. Sigh.

The insult to injury? My trainer didn’t show up for class, so I wasn’t even able to channel my anger into a good workout!

Submitted by Salem on 11/23/2010

Location: 13th & N Sts NW

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.

How do you counter that?

I was biking down Mount Pleasant street on my way to work around 8:45 in the morning. As I approach the 7-11, there is a middle-aged man looking up the street at me. Right as I pass by, I get this gem of a line shouted at me, in a pretty aggressive tone:

“I’m going to bend you over the kitchen table and f-ck you, bitch.”

I was too disturbed to do anything but turn around and glare. How do you counter that?

Submitted by anonymous on 11/23/2010

Location: Mount Pleasant

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

“he became extremely agitated and vocally violent.”

After driving home from work this evening, I parked my car and started walking toward my building, which about 75 – 100 yards away. A man approached me and started making sexual references about various body parts (i.e. breasts, butt, and “p—y”) and “what [he] would love to do with [me]”, as I approached my building I picked up my pace as I tried to ignore his advances. Once I reached my building, I quickly scanned my key, entered the building, and shut the door behind me. He knocked on the window. I turned around and told him to leave or I was calling the police. Note, I’m a very tall transgender woman, and my voice is still fairly masculine. As soon as he heard my voice he became extremely agitated and vocally violent. He pounded on the door demanding to be let in. I quickly ran down stairs to my apartment, and locked the dead bolt. I attempted to call the police, but my phone calls kept dropping the 911 calls. I was able to get a friend on Facebook to call 911 and request the police. Two hours later my roommate came home, and said that a man matching my description was still loitering out front of our building. It’s now 1 am, and MPD still has not shown up to take a report or check on my safety.

Submitted by Stacey on 11/22/2010

Location: 14th & Meridian St NW

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

“You don’t have to tell anybody.”

Photo by takomabibelot via flickr

I was out and around the city doing errands for my boss and had two experiences that seemed to totally cancel each other out.

The first occurred on the Chinatown metro. I was getting off the red line to transfer to the green line when I feel a tap on my shoulder. I turn around and a young man (about 16 or so) was next to me.
“Excuse me, ma’am. I’m not trying to talk to you or anything, I just wanted to say that you have one of the cutest outfits on that I’ve seen all day.”
I understand that some people would consider this harrassment, but he was polite and I felt no hostility. His preface assured me that his words were nothing other than a harmless compliment. His comment left me beaming and feeling slightly more optimistic about street experiences.

An hour later and I felt worse than before. I was walking on the 14th street and approaching U when an older man stops me. Thinking he might need directions or something, I realize I am wrong when he asks my name. When I tell him he says,” Can I ask you something, J****?”
“What?”
“You don’t have to tell anybody, but can I have sex with you sometime?”
I firmly said, “No, sorry” and walk on.

My biggest regret? I said, “sorry”! I wasn’t the slightest bit sorry. And yet as I walked on I still wondered if I was fair in being so offended. He was nonviolent and technically asked consent for something. But I know in my gut that this still wasn’t right. It’s sad that victims (no matter what the situation) still need to rationalize the situation for themselves.

Submitted by JS on 11/20/2010

Location: Chinatown Metro and U Street & 14th

Time of Harassment: Day Time (9:30A-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.

“Beautiful Sista”

I cut my hair short this summer and was too “masculine-looking” (society’s view, not mine) to be harassed by men on the street, but now my hair’s grown out to an “acceptable feminine length” (see previous thought) making me noticeable for “compliments” from men on the street again.

As I left work yesterday and walked to the bus stop, a man begging for change referred to me as “beautiful sista” and “sexy woman.” I did not see him go out of his way to refer to non-black women or any men in this manner.

Something similar happens when I get to Rosslyn. A man was passing out flyers and he’s calling me “beautiful sista.” Though I was not interested in a flyer he walks over to where I was waiting for my connecting bus and asks again. “If I wanted one I would’ve taken one when you were standing over there,” I said, pointing to where he previously was.

“Well maybe you changed your mind,” he says, and walks away.

Some people don’t consider this harassment, and some women wouldn’t mind being called “beautiful,” but I feel compliments like that are too personal coming from men I don’t know. I’d rather it come from a significant other, not some random Joe. I just want to get from one point to another without strange men old enough to be my father hitting on me. I also don’t like how I’m singled out by men who think being the same race as I am gives them the right to talk to me as if I’m “their woman” or something. It’s irritating and I wish it’d stop.

Submitted By Anonymous

Location: M Street & Wisconsin Avenue (DC); Rosslyn Metro (VA)

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

“Dude, the world is full of grenades.”

Cross posted from Stop Street Harassment Blog:

I witnessed two guys who were walking behind a youngish women in leggings and high heeled boots and checking her out, then walking quickly to the side of her, presumably to check out her face. After seeing her face, the two of them walked more slowly to end up behind her again, as one said to the other, “Dude, the world is full of grenades.”

Submitted by anonymous

Location: Dupont Circle

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.