I am in the process of looking for a new apartment, and along with things such as rent per month, finding out if all utilities are included and if the space has enough storage for my stuff, another thing I’m researching in different neighborhoods is whether or not they’re safe for me, a single woman. I deal with enough street harassment where I live now—I don’t want to deal with it anywhere else if I have the choice.
My first trip today was to Arlington, in the area between Clarendon and Court House Stations. For the most part I felt like I could walk freely and felt at ease. However, as I walked to Court House Station, there was some guy who was waiting for an ART bus. From the way he was leering at me I knew he was going to say something.
“You are the most beautiful woman I’ve ever seen,” he said in this lecherous tone. Since he already projected that he was going to harass me (by his leering), it gave me enough time to figure out how to react to him. In this case I ignored him—treated him like he was invisible.
“Bitch,” he said, under his breath. I didn’t bother to turn around to react to that. I just kept on walking. He thinks he has the right to “compliment” then insult me, well I have the right to ignore him.
Location: Wilson Blvd at N. Adams St (Arlington)
My next trip to look at an apartment was in Silver Spring. I did not feel as relaxed walking through this area as I did Arlington. I’ve read this book by Gavin de Becker called “The Gift of Fear” which pretty much tells you to trust your instincts. Though the woman whose apartment I looked at told me she’s never had problems traveling solo, my own gut feeling was what I had to follow.
As I headed back to the train station to head home, I waited to cross at a light at Colesville and Georgia Ave. This car eased up to the intersection, and the guy in the right back passenger seat had his head out the window like a dog. Once again, I had a strong feeling he was going to do or say something, and once again, I was right. However, the harassment wasn’t geared towards me, it was directed at two college-aged girls that were waiting at the light with me.
I had absolutely no clue what the guy had said, but I could tell by the look on his face it was something ignorant. Like I did with the guy in Arlington, the girls also chose to ignore him. I said something though. I shook my head and said “Unh-unh-unh. No.” I also took note of the car’s plates: HFP 8439, Pennsylvania plates. They were a group of well-dressed guys all wearing dark suits, white dress shirts, and pink silk ties. Since they were dressed identically I assumed they represented some organization.
Location: Colesville Rd & Georgia Ave (Silver Spring)
It’s sad to think that there won’t be a place in the DC area that’ll be 100% harassment-free, but I am determined to get as close to it as possible. I am tired of walking down the street and being open to every Tom, Dick and Harry I walk by doing or saying something degrading or sexual to me. Enough’s enough.
Submitted by D
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