Shape or Size Doesn’t Matter

Last Thursday night, I was meeting a friend for a movie at E street and had to change to the red line. I was walking towards the metro platform at Chinatown when I heard a sort of clicking/sucking noise coming from behind me (sort of similar to when someone makes a “tsk” noise with their tongue and their teeth).
I turned around to find a man leering at me, smiling with an open mouth. Annoyed and grossed out, I walked on.

What was more infuriating was when I got to the movie theater, and shared my frustrations with my friend. At first, he seemed to sympathize but then asked, “So what, was he gross or old? What did he look like?”

I was so annoyed that I just stared at him. I tried explaining that his appearance didn’t matter. I wasn’t annoyed because of how the guy looked; I was annoyed because I was harassed and can’t do something like go on the metro without being bothered by a stranger.

I’ve heard this argument many times, that women are only offended when the harassment comes from a man of a certain stature or appearance and are flattered when it is a young, attractive man. I have been harassed by men of all shapes and sizes. Guess what? Every time, I feel grossed out, irritated and belittled.

Location: Gallery Place/Chinatown Metro

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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