Stopping Harassment

I have been repeatedly sexually harassed throughout my life, starting, as best as I can remember, at age 13, while walking through a festival with a friend, when a carne running a game yelled out at me “room for 2 in that shirt?” So, harassment gets my dander up, especially the fact that no one ever responds to the harassment (I mean, we were KIDS when that happened, it would have been REASONABLE for an adult to step in there). I try to respond when it happens to me, and help out when it happens to others.

Just a few weeks ago, as I was out at happy hour(s) with my co-workers, I was standing outside the bar having a cigarette, as were a group of other patrons of the same bar. While standing there, this guy comes to the door and starts trying to get the attention of one girl who is with the other group of patrons (mixed gender) outside. She tells him to go away, she’s not interested in talking to him, and he keeps motioning for her to come inside. He tries to leave the bar, drink in hand, and the bouncer stops him. At this point we share a “WTF” and all start talking. So he ditches the drink and comes back a few minutes later, INSISTING on talking to this girl. She and her friends try to ignore him. We finish our smokes and I say to her “hey, you wanted to meet my coworkers, right?” So we head back into the bar, arm-in-arm, and safely into the downstairs area which, fortunately, had been reserved by both our group and hers, so he had no excuse to come down there. While I felt good about helping out, it’s kind of infuriating that the BOUNCER didn’t intervene to protect a patron from an aggressive, intoxicated fool.

But my point is that you don’t have to get aggressive and all up in someone’s face to help stop harassment, just provide a safe out for the subject of the harassment. It really works wonders, and feels good to help others feel safe in the face of those who think they are public property. And believe me, someone who won’t take no for an answer (even a drunk guy, despite “not being in his right mind”) thinks that the women they are harassing “owe” them…their time, their admiration, their body, etc.

Submitted by T on 8/18/201

Location: 7th Street NW, at a Bar

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

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