Monthly Archives: April 2011

“I don’t even understand what this was.”

I don’t even understand what this was. A metro bus driver walked alongside me for awhile. Then he started talking, ostensibly to me, but I couldn’t understand what he was saying. So, I say: “What?” He responds, “You knew I had to stop and talk to you. You knew I was going to talk to you. You knew I needed to tell you that you’re beautiful.” Me: “…” Him: “Know it! Know it girl!” And I walked away quickly. It was more just an awkward, public, weird encounter than straight-up sexual harassment, but it was still really strange and left me freaked-out for the rest of the day.

Submitted by h

Location: Western Ave NC & Wisconsin Ave NW

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.

Help us make DC safer!

Due to rain, we had to cancel our evening Stop Street Harassment and Holla Back DC! safety audit.  We have rescheduled the evening audit to next Thursday, May 5th from 8pm-10pm.  The daytime audit on March 20th was a huge success and we had over 50 people join us.  However, because of the schedule changes, a lot of the original volunteers are unable to participate in the evening audit.  So if you missed the first audit or wanted to sign up to join us but didn’t, now is your chance! To sign up, please email Holly directly at stopstreetharassment@yahoo.om by tonight.

Running the gauntlet every day.

Photo by dionhinchcliffe via flickr

I walked to Whole Foods from my office near Thomas Circle as I often do. On the way back, my coworker and I encountered a man I see quite often on 14th in that general area. He is a older man, short cropped hair, short beard, yellowish eyes. He was wearing a blue long sleeved t shirt and blue pants. Both were soiled. He is obviously an addict and has mental health issues, but unfortunately is also sometimes aggressive.

As my friend and I walked by he started muttering something about if we “had a boyfriend…” and “he probably did not know what to do to (us) but (he) did…” and then just started mumbling about “p***y” over and over again while following us.

I am ashamed to admit it, but I have given up saying anything. That corridor of 14th St. and McPherson Square park are so chock full of homeless men with mental health and addiction issues, it has become commonplace to be harassed both to and from work, and sometimes during lunch. I would estimate that I am harassed at least 3-4 times a week going from McPherson square metro to my office. It doesn’t help that the ground is often covered in those disgusting photoshopped cards featuring womens’ rear ends as promos for various clubs and DJs.

I feel like I am running the gauntlet every day. And I feel like screaming at a mentally ill/drunk/stoned man is going to get me nowhere. But it scares me, and I have to get to work.

Submitted by Jessica

Location: 14th between P and Thomas Circle

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.

“Because I did not take a young man’s newspaper…”

Because I did not take a young man’s newspaper, the free daily Express, he yelled and called me “FAGGOT”! My roommate, probably targeted for his small stature, has been punched in the face and had his glasses broken by young kids in the same spot. He was also later hit after he did not have a quarter to give to the young kids who asked for it. What does one do when the violent offenders are youth?

Submitted by DB

Location: Howard/Shaw Metro

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.

Creep on the Escalator

I was walking down the escalators into the metro station, and I was holding my skirt so that it wouldn’t blow up in the wind. As I walked on the left, I passed a man who leaned over, placed his hand on the arm that was holding my skirt, and said “just let it go.” I yelled “EXCUSE ME” loud enough so that the people around me could hear, and hurried down the steps. It happened so fast, but I wish I had said something less polite to him.

Submitted by Jenn

Location: Judiciary Square escalators at 4th St

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.

Catcalled in the 7-11

Photo by LeeBrimlow via flickr

I was on my way to a kickboxing class and realized I had forgotten my water so I stopped to pick up a bottle at the 7-11 closest to my gym. Two clerks were at the front, but one (a woman) was stocking the cigarettes while the other (a man) worked just one register. There were still two people in front of me when a man walked in, got in line behind me and said “Hey beautiful, how you doin’?” I usually find that a brief acknowledgment and then moving on my way quickly works the best in deflecting further attention, so I responded with “Fine. Thank you.” However, I had no where to go because I was stuck in line.

He then started remarking on my figure stating that he could tell I worked out, and making comments about my backside, etc. The female clerk, abruptly stopped stocking and stepped over to the second register to ring up my purchase. I definitely felt that she did it to spare me having to stand there and listen to this, which I was grateful l for, but later I was angry with myself because I froze up and had no response to this guy.

Submitted by G

Location: 7-11 across from Braddock Road Metro Station

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.

Public Masterbator at MLK Library

Monday, April 11: It was around 7:30 pm and I was sitting at a table on the third floor of the MLK Library. I was in the middle of a timed section of test prep when a young man (about 20) came and sat beside me. I thought this was a little odd because the two seats across from me were both empty and social protocol would typically direct the person to one of those. He sat quite close and I could feel him looking at me in-between browsing a magazine. After several minutes of feeling uncomfortable, I turned to him for the first time and saw him rubbing his exposed penis. I immediately stood up and loudly went off on him about how he was disgusting and how this is a public place etc. A library staff person was sitting at a desk 10 feet away and I told him that the guy was touching himself and that something had to be done.

After some hesitation and apparent confusion on the library staff person’s part, he picked up the phone and called security, but security did not pick up. It wasn’t until a different gentleman at the table behind us spoke up and told the library staff person to call security again and tell them what this man was wearing that he made the second call. Meanwhile, the pervert sat for another minute at the table and then casually exited the room and walked towards the staircase. I should also note that the room was full of people who obviously heard what was going on and not a single person stood up, and only the one gentleman spoke up. Security didn’t come to the room, but the library staff person walked me downstairs to the security desk and I explained a security guard what happened and put the incident in writing. Once I was downstairs I saw that someone had broken a glass panel at the library’s entrance (a completely separate incident by a different person). This at lea st provides a partial explanation for why security didn’t answer to the call upstairs.

Tuesday, April 12: I went back to follow-up and explain my disappointment with the slow response time from the library staff. No, they did not find the gentleman. However, I was pleased that the library staff person (who reacted very slowly to the whole situation) had discussed the situation with his manager. I then spoke to his manager, a very concerned woman, and she told me that she had already planned to discuss the incident with the director and use it as a learning tool for the staff.

While I appreciate the manager’s compassion and it’s encouraging that the incident will be used a teaching tool so that the response will be improved next time, I can’t say that I feel completely safe in the library. I also want to note one of the more disturbing parts to me, which is that right after it happened and I said “he’s touching himself” very loudly, apparently the library staff person misunderstood and thought I said that he was touching me. I would hope that someone touching me would have created an even greater sense of urgency and action in that situation. But it didn’t.

Submitted by DK

Location: MLK Jr. Memorial Library

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.