“Can you take you out, baby?”

Last night I was walking home alone at about 10:00pm along North Capitol Street in the Bloomingdale/Shaw neighborhood. Two men in their late teens or early 20s were walking towards me and another, older, man was walking in from of me and entering his house. As the two younger men walked past me, the one closest to me reached out to rub my arm and said, “Hey, gorgeous.” I pulled my arm away and started walking more quickly. He continued to yell back at me,”Can I take you to dinner, boo? Can I take you out, baby?” After I kept walking and didn’t respond, he said, “Oh you’re so mean, boo.”

Eventually the harasser stopped yelling at me, but neither of the other two men around said anything, even after my visible discomfort, leaving me to wonder why men find this sort of behavior normal or acceptable at all! Is this some sort of a power trip? Or maybe a learned, sexist behavior that has been normalized for them?

I had recently completed a training with the much-touted Marty Langelan, which was great, and I felt prepared to respond to street harassment with a confident, “Stop harassing women. Show some respect!” However, in the moment I just froze. I felt disgusted and violated, angry and annoyed. I should have said something and hopefully next time I will, but it’s hard to be confident and quick when you are taken aback in the moment…

Submitted by MT on 3/12/2010

Location: North Capitol Street and Seaton Place NW

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4 Responses

  1. Golden Silence
    | Reply

    Ugh! It’s like you’re their property and don’t matter to these men.

    Do not blame yourself for how you reacted. You can only do what comes naturally to you in that moment. The harasser’s at fault here, not you!

  2. […] HollaBack DC! a woman wishes she had verbally confronted men who harassed her and pulled on her arm and another woman talks […]

  3. Anonymous
    | Reply

    This is when a simple “f*ck off” is a good response.

  4. Golden Silence
    | Reply

    This is when a simple “f*ck off” is a good response.

    I wouldn’t advise using that on N. Capitol at 10:00 PM with a scrub who thinks you’re his “boo.” I have experiences with those types of guys. They’ll go from calling you “boo” to calling you a “bitch” in 0 to 60 if you do anything to piss them off.

    Getting home safely is more important than that.

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