This morning I was walking past the Petworth library on my way to work and I caught up to two boys who looked about high-school age. I figured they were on their way to Roosevelt, and at first I was gratified by the fact that a high-school-aged boy was pulling his friend out of my way to let me pass more easily on the sidewalk. Until I heard him say, “Hold up a sec, let this bitch pass by.” And it wasn’t an “I call every woman a bitch” bitch, it was an “I’m going to call you a bitch to see if you say anything” bitch. And I didn’t say a thing. I can’t justify it, and it has been bothering me all day that I didn’t stop right there and say, “Excuse me? What would your mother think of you saying that? You think you’re ever going to get a woman to respect you with that kind of talk? You have a lot of growing up to do.” I know that might have just led to more smack talk from him (how likely is it that a 14-18 year old kid is going to back down in front of his friend when a woman calls him out on his behavior?), but I would have felt better about walking away in silence after that. I hate that I was too afraid to say anything. Did I really think he was going to throw a punch if I stopped and questioned him? I doubt it, but then again, it’s possible. I hate that fear like that can ruin my day. And I hate that I don’t know the best way to handle this kind of a situation if it arises again.
Submitted by Anonymous on 5/12/2010
Location: Iowa Ave NW & Georgia Ave NW – outside the Petworth library
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