“What the hell was that?”

I had just left my friends apartment to walk back to the Columbia Heights metro, and took the shortcut through the little park. I noticed a man riding the opposite direction towards me through the park, and didn’t really think anything about it, except I did do a quick inventory of nearby people in my mind. Which, though I do try to be aware, I don’t normally assume I’m about to be harassed.

There were plenty of people walking around on the street but it was just him and I in the park area sidewalk. Right as he was coming past me, he made some weird clicking sound in his mouth and reached his hand out as if he was trying to grab me at my waist. He was a few inches short of actually touching me, and continued to ride on his way.

I stopped, for a brief second trying to process what had just happened. And then, that little switch switched on, and I turned around and started walking towards him yelling at the top of my lungs “What the fuck is wrong with you. What the hell was that. You think it’s ok to touch people? What the fuck is wrong with you, you asshole.” And a few more yells along those lines, especially about how he doesn’t get to touch people.

Other people slowed down and listened and he stopped on his bike and just looked back at me – you know the crazy girl screaming because obviously he was just trying to give me a compliment.

After I yelled a bit, I turned around and started walking back towards the metro. After all, what more can you do. Which is a part of the problem.

I told my friends the story, and another girl who lives around that area reported having a very similar incident where a man was walking by and reached out to grab her. So be aware, those in Mount Pleasant.

Submitted by Abby

Location: Corner Park at 16th and Columbia NW

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

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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