“I didn’t want things to escalate.”

I was walking to a kickball game and these two guys were walking in front of me, talking really loudly and cursing a lot. They kept looking back at me and saying things like “sexy girl coming up.” I crossed the street and they yelled at me, “What, are you a racist? You had to cross the street? Come back here, we wanted to check out your ass!”

I kept walking very quickly. Another woman passed them and they started telling her she had a nice ass, and being generally creepy. She laughed it off and said thank you. They kept going on and on about her and shouted across the street to ask why I didn’t appreciate them like that woman.

It left me feeling shaken and self-conscious. I wish I had said something but I didn’t want things to escalate.

Submitted by anonymous

Location: 17 St NW & Corcoran St NW

Time of harassment: Day Time (9:30A-3:30P)

Do you have a personal experience with gender-based public sexual harassment or assault you would like to submit? Just click here and fill out the online submission form. All submissions are posted anonymously unless you specify.

6 Responses

  1. Golden Silence

    You did the right thing. You felt in your gut that these guys would be trouble, you were right, and you acted upon that feeling by crossing the street. You did nothing wrong and shouldn’t feel bad about what you did.

    On the other hand, the woman who responded positively needs to be ashamed of herself. For every woman that doesn’t like being harassed, women like the one in your story validate harassers’ actions. We need to stop validating harassers actions and start holding them accountable for their actions.

    • Anon

      Thanks so much for this reply. The worst part about this kind of harassment is the intention to inflict guilt – making the victim feel as though she responded in an offensive way.

  2. Nigerian Sista

    The woman who actually responded to their sexual commentary is either lacking in self esteem, or just doesn’t understand when she’s being obejectified. Or maybe she knows and just doesn’t care. This agressive behavior is part of the reason why I avoid going into DC. It’s unforunate because DC has a lot of places that are fun to patronize.

  3. Omega

    Bottom line men aren’t going to continue with certain behavior if they didn’t get ‘rewarded’ for it. You did the right thing by crossing the street and putting them on ignore.

  4. B

    Harassment happens everywhere, not just in DC. I generally feel least safe in the VA suburbs because when harassment happens because there are fewer people around. Also, my experiences with the police in VA have been far less pleasant than in DC.

  5. Anonymous

    “Come back here we wanted to check out your ass”? How were you supposed to respond, “Oh, sorry, I forgot that it’s my job to put myself on display for every random asshole on the street.” Come to think of that, you could even say, “I don’t appreciate being talked to that way” or “I crossed the street because I’m not interested in talking to you.”

    But you have to do it safely. I’ve had crazy aggressive guys say “hey baby” or whatever and when I respond back with a single pleasantry and then say “I’m not interested in talking to you” I’ve gotten responses like “Whoa, you aren’t INTERESTED in talking to me?” Uh, no.