I was out and around the city doing errands for my boss and had two experiences that seemed to totally cancel each other out.
The first occurred on the Chinatown metro. I was getting off the red line to transfer to the green line when I feel a tap on my shoulder. I turn around and a young man (about 16 or so) was next to me.
“Excuse me, ma’am. I’m not trying to talk to you or anything, I just wanted to say that you have one of the cutest outfits on that I’ve seen all day.”
I understand that some people would consider this harrassment, but he was polite and I felt no hostility. His preface assured me that his words were nothing other than a harmless compliment. His comment left me beaming and feeling slightly more optimistic about street experiences.
An hour later and I felt worse than before. I was walking on the 14th street and approaching U when an older man stops me. Thinking he might need directions or something, I realize I am wrong when he asks my name. When I tell him he says,” Can I ask you something, J****?”
“You don’t have to tell anybody, but can I have sex with you sometime?”
I firmly said, “No, sorry” and walk on.
My biggest regret? I said, “sorry”! I wasn’t the slightest bit sorry. And yet as I walked on I still wondered if I was fair in being so offended. He was nonviolent and technically asked consent for something. But I know in my gut that this still wasn’t right. It’s sad that victims (no matter what the situation) still need to rationalize the situation for themselves.
Submitted by JS on 11/20/2010
Location: Chinatown Metro and U Street & 14th
Time of Harassment: Day Time (9:30A-3:30P)
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