A small victory in the fight against street harassment

posted in: Union Station | 8

I took the red line back home to Union Station where my car was parked to drive home for the evening.  I had just finished up a wonderful dinner with some lovely lady friends of mine, who gather to discuss women’s issues in a group called “Feminists Unmodified.”  I was walking under the awning in front of Union Station and a man seated on a ledge with a hat on and a neck gator on pulled up over the bottom of his face started making that sound that many women have heard before: the slimy sound of smooches aimed at your direction followed by a “Hey baby, you want some?”.  I froze in my tracks and thought, “what am I going to do?”

Then, I did something many Holla Back contributors have done but which I personally had never done before in such a situation.  I pulled out my phone and took a picture.  He thought this meant that I wanted to engage with him but I corrected him and said, “No, I have your picture and I’m going to show it to the police,” even though I didn’t know if I could even find police nearby.  He didn’t care; he just laughed.  Now, I was even more determined to find a police office.  Guess what? I found three!

I found three police officers right inside Union station and showed them the picture (see attached).  I said, “This man just harassed me with crude remarks.  I know there’s not much you can do, but this sort of thing happens all the time and I feel like nothing is ever done about it.  Is there anything you can do?  He’s right outside.”  The male officer turned to the two female officers and said, “Yeah, we can make him leave.”  And sure enough, they all went outside and confronted him.  I stepped back to ensure I didn’t cross paths with him again once they made him leave but I lingered long enough to see them escort him off the premises.  And the best part, it was pouring rain!  His disrespect for women made him loose his cozy, dry spot in Union Station.  Maybe he’ll think twice next time before harassing a woman.
I know this is a small victory but it means a lot to me.  Almost two years ago, I had two frightening incidents, which I shared with Holla Back DC! (http://hollabackdc.wordpress.com/2009/05/29/why/) that made me question my ability to stand up for myself.  In my last post in 2009 I wrote “if something like this ever happens again, and I pray it never does, I will be even stronger.” Well tonight I was stronger and it felt really, really good.
Submitted by Alicia
Location: Union Station

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8 Responses

  1. Nellie

    Way to go!

  2. Guest

    Right on, Alicia.

  3. Renee

    Awesome! Well done. I’m glad you remember how strong you are 🙂

  4. cathy

    congratulations, good for you!

  5. Erin Skelly Cameron

    Nice work! I’m not glad it happened, but I’m glad you were able to take action and turn it into an empowering experience.

  6. Golden Silence

    …I lingered long enough to see them escort him off the premises. And the best part, it was pouring rain! His disrespect for women made him loose his cozy, dry spot in Union Station. Maybe he’ll think twice next time before harassing a woman.

    The idea of this harasser being put out in the rain is hilarious. Serves him right!

    Glad you stood up for yourself. Awesome!

  7. Josef

    GREAT job, Alicia! Loved your assertive approach — and loved how you addressed it with the police. Even if they can’t prevent this jerk from speaking that way to you, they sure can enforce trespassing laws. Hooray for a successful holla back!!

  8. B

    This is awesome!