“Why would you say that?”

I was walking to the U street area when I was passed by a couple of pre-teen neighborhood boys. One of them yelled out “Tig Ol’ Bitties” as I passed them. Almost as soon as it had left his mouth, the kid next to him yelled “Why would you say that?!” and repeated it when his friend didn’t answer. I often wonder who is teaching boys to harass women and why their mothers don’t manage to prevent it. But I was rather impressed that the second boy was brave enough to challenge his friend over it. It makes me think that there is some hope that future generations will understand that street harassment is wrong.

Submitted by JD on 7/5/2011

Location: LeDroit Park

Time of harassment: Evening Rush Hour (3:30P-7:30P)

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.

5 Responses

  1. Anonymous

    I’m sorry that you endured that harassment, which is especially shocking given their age. It’s heartening to see that the other boy openly questioned his friend’s rationale. However, I would argue that it’s not just a mother’s responsibility for children’s behavior – it takes a village.

  2. Omega

    Now that’s something — you didn’t even need to say anything. I’d like to think my sisters two boys are like the young man that spoke up. There are so many good examples of great kids out here and the not so great. This post proves that. Still, so sorry you even had to hear that tasteless remark.

  3. Golden Silence

    That comment is so nasty, but I’m glad one of his friends had the guts to call him out.

  4. Ms. D

    It’s too bad that you had to experience this harassment, but good on that kid’s friend for calling him out! I have encountered some extraordinarily awesome young people in this city. Yes, there are bad kids around here, but there are also many great kids around here who just need a little guidance and support, AND who organically go looking for it, who I have encountered in many situations from them offering to help me out with yard work when putzing around in the garden (and only ask in return that they can toss a football around in our probably biggest in the neighborhood yard, which is a reasonable reward for pulling weeds and watering for over an hour…they also usually get some candy or ice cream sandwiches, but don’t tell their parents 🙂 ), to asking to hang out with us while we play softball and being supremely helpful in retrieving foul balls and tossed bats (and asking nothing in return, but getting some batting and throwing practice after the game because they were so cute and helpful), to meeting them at community events where they’re just looking for something fun to do (and getting some art, bike-riding, and sports lessons out of it). Like Anon said, it takes a village, and DC youth can get whatever love and support they can get. I find it kind of sad that these kids are approaching random adults for constructive involvement in their lives, but I’m happy to provide that involvement at every opportunity I have.

    I can only hope that the friend’s persistent comments left an impression on the disrespectful young man. The friend sounds like he’s got his head on right, and I hope the best for the whole group of them. This is truly one of those stories where the good balances out with the bad, and hopefully the end result will be good…for you, for other women, and for the girls these kid’s own age who they will hopefully learn to respect (sounds like the friend already has learned that lesson).

  5. Ms. D

    can *use* whatever support they can get. Ah, I am my own grammar disciplinarian.