Category Archives: Massachusetts Ave

Do I need to grow thicker skin?

I was on my way home from Thanksgiving in New York with my family. My train got into Union Station a little late, so I decided to take a cab so that I could get home quickly without having to drag my luggage through the Metro. After waiting in the taxi line for 10 minutes or so, I get in a cab. He seemed a little irritated that I kept my suitcase with me in the back seat (instead of putting it in the trunk so that he could get an additional fee), but it didn’t seem like a big deal.

After we get a block or two away from the station, we pass a young college-student-type guy on the street, dragging a big duffel bag and trying to hail a cab. The driver of my cab wants to pick this guy up too, and I say no. It’s against the rules for a cab driver to pick up additional passengers like that! So the cab driver immediately starts cursing at me and kicks me out of the cab.

At this point, I’m angry, so I flip him off and tell him to fuck off. At which point he starts saying, “You want to fuck me? Yeah, girl, you should come right over here and fuck me.” Repeatedly. Clearly, he’s more interested in antagonizing me than in picking up another fare, since the college kid hailed another cab so that I could get away. Unfortunately, I was too rattled to get the cab driver’s information or remember the name of the cab company.

I called my mom afterward, and she told me that I shouldn’t have antagonized him, and that I need to grow a thicker skin. Not exactly helpful.

Submitted by KBF

Location: Massachusetts Ave & North Capitol

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

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Flipping the Bird

Speedwalking in a nice dress to my ushering gig at a downtown theater this afternoon, I encountered a carful of grinning guys, who courteously slowed down in the middle of the intersection to greet me with some semi-intelligible but almost certainly charming commentary on my body and movements. Accordingly, I flipped them off and went on my way.

Afterward, the guys almost certainly forgot immediately. I, on the other hand, spent the rest of the walk mulling over the incident, wondering: “Was I too harsh in flipping them off? Maybe they were saying something useful and I was a total jerk. I should check my purse for items that might have been falling out, and see if my dress had ridden up (no on both accounts). On the other hand, I’m pretty sure I heard the word ‘ass’ once if not multiple times . . .”

What’s wrong with this picture? While flipping the bird isn’t perhaps the most constructive response, it was an expedient way to express my displeasure about the uninvited aggression, which is essentially what street harassment is whether its practitioners are aware of that or not. I just hate that I spent so much time afterward wondering what/if I had done something wrong, when I was really not the one who needed to be doing the reflecting.

Location: Thomas circle (Mass & 14th NW)

Time of harassment: Day Time (9:30A-3:30P)

Submitted by Anonymous

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.

Human Rights Violation

I was doing my morning run up Massachusetts and the driver of an N-line bus honked at me 5 times while I ran on the sidewalk. I looked around, there were no other cars or people he could have been honking about. Gender-based street harassment by a District employee violates DC’s Human Rights Act, which prohibits discrimination of all kinds. I reported it to Councilmember Muriel Bowser, who chairs the Transportation Committee and sits on the WMATA board.

Submitted by anonymous

Location: Massachusetts Ave NW & 34th St NW

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

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“Mmm-Hmm!”

I walk from the Gallery Place stop up 7th street to work. There are ALWAYS a ton of guys (possibly homeless, possibly just hanging out) sitting on the steps of the closed storefronts. They generally share comments among themselves – sometimes stuff like “mmm-HMM” in tones of approval when they see some women, and “aw, hell no!” when they see others. They’re usually gone by evening rush hour.

Submitted by Anonymous on 7/19/2010

Location: 7th and Mass NW

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

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I Don’t Need A Ride, I need Some Peace!

Photo by ginnerobot

I was walking down the street, just needing to get away, needing some alone time. I brought my rosary beads with me, just to pray, because that’s the only way I get that kind of alone time. I was finishing up my prayers when all of a sudden, my concentration broke and I could feel someone slow down next to me. I started feeling the hairs on my neck stand.

“Need a ride, sweetheart?” The dude called out.

His voice jarred me and I just bit my tongue. I was afraid of starting something dangerous, so I didn’t call out. He drove off and left me angry. The peace I felt from my prayers was gone.

I go outside to pray because I need to be by myself for fifteen minutes. I can’t even have the right to pray by myself, simply because men view me as personal property. We need to do something about this.

Submitted by Katie on 7/14/2010

Location: Massachussetts and Macomb

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

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“You Look Just FINE to me!”

On Sunday, I finished up my run a few blocks from my apartment and began to walk home to cool down. About a block from home, I passed three men sitting on a curb. They smiled at me, and as I passed, sweaty and exhausted, one yelled out, “I don’t think you need to lose weight, baby! You look just FINE to me!”

As if running is just about losing weight, and as if anything I do is about looking good to stupid strangers on the street.

Submitted by Salem Pearce on 6/15/2010

Location: Massachusetts Ave NW between 13th and Thomas 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.