Before I Knew How to Stand Up to Harassers

Photo by fsse8info via flickr

These stories are from when I first moved to the DC area over five years ago. The first year I lived here I lived in Alexandria. This was before I knew how to truly stand up to harassers and I wasn’t used to being harassed on a frequent basis.

In the first case, I was walking up S. Pickett Street and heading towards the Beatley Library. This guy in a powder blue pickup truck stopped at a light near the Trade Center Shopping Center and started yelling crap at me. It was the usual—“Girl, can I talk to you?”, “Got a man?” and other bullshit. I tried to ignore him. I thought that he would’ve left me alone when the light changed, but he didn’t! He sat there and blocked traffic at a green light. Honking horns and angry drivers did nothing to make him keep driving.

I told him “Stop worrying about what I’m doing and pay attention to the road! You’ve got a green light—DRIVE!”

Like a typical harasser he assumed my not wanting to talk to him meant I was angry at men. When I tried to keep walking this guy slowed his truck down to my pace. I realized he wasn’t going to leave me alone so I called the police and gave them his license plate number.

“You ain’t callin’ the police!” he yells. “You callin’ yo’ boyfriend. Let yo’ boyfriend come after me!”

When he got tired of bothering me he finally drove off, and of course nothing came out of my call to the police.

On another day I was leaving the Beatley Library. This man who was standing on Duke Street across from the library started yelling “Shorty! SHAW-TAAAAAAAAAAAAY!” at me repeatedly. It was embarrassing! Once again I tried to ignore him, but this clueless woman says, “I believe he’s talking to you!” So?

“I know,” I said. “But I don’t care because I don’t know him.” The woman finally got the hint and seemed to feel bad for me.

Honestly, I don’t want anyone to feel bad for me that I continuously get harassed. I want people to feel bad for the harassers because they are pathetic, miserable and useless creeps who think bothering women is the only way to get amusement into their sorry lives.

Throughout the five plus years I’ve been in the DC area (in NoVa and in DC proper), I’ve gotten stronger when dealing with harassment. I speak up more often than I ignore it, I take photos whenever possible, and I learn from each harassment experience I encounter. Until the day comes when these men are held accountable for their actions, I won’t be quiet until harassment ends.

Submitted by anonymous on 12/15/2010

Location: First – S. Pickett Street; Second – Across from the Beatley Library on Duke Street, both in Alexandria, VA

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.


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