“Get away from me, and leave me alone.”

As usual, the escalator into the Judiciary Square metro station was out, and I had to walk down the steps into the station. I was wearing very high heels, and the handrail was too hot to touch, so I was walking very carefully.

As I neared the bottom, a man passed me and said something to me. I was concentrating so hard on walking down the steps that I didn’t hear him, but when I looked up, I noticed him waiting at the bottom, and staring up at me. I immediately froze (about 5 steps from the bottom), and said: “Get away from me, and leave me alone.” He immediately responded “Bitch, I was just offering to help you down the steps,” and proceeded to launch into a tirade of profanities and threats. As we walked into the station, me a distance behind, he continued to turn around and yell at me. I was so rattled, and shaken, I was relieved to see him head toward the opposite platform than the direction I was going.

Maybe my initial reaction, having not heard his offer of ‘assistance,’ was a bit harsh, but when you’re harassed every single day, you become a bit defensive. No, I don’t need your help, and your reaction to my defensiveness confirms that you weren’t really interested in helping me anyway. A simple, “I’m sorry, I didn’t mean to bother you,” would have sufficed. I really didn’t need the string of “F*** you, you stupid bitch”s that came after.

Submitted by Jenn on 7/22/2011

Location: Red line, Judiciary Square

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

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13 Responses

  1. Anonymous

    Sounds like his response was totally appropriate.

    The fact that you’re female doesn’t automatically exempt you from the rules of decency nor provide you with an instant “out” so you can avoid the reproductions of your actions.

    You’re the a-hole of this story. If you’re going to treat other people like garbage, expect to have it thrown in your face once in a while, and with a gusto!

    • Golden Silence

      Dear Anonymous who can’t be bothered to come up with a user name, are you going to make a habit out of downplaying every woman’s experience that you don’t agree with? If you don’t like what you have seen here, go away. I don’t visit sites I don’t agree with because it’d be a waste of my time, and you should learn to do the same.

      • E.

        Really, Golden Silence? I actually go out of my way to read sites and books that don’t agree with me because your mind never stays sharp preaching to the choir.

        I think trolling is obvious and that’s another story. But let’s look at the facts objectively:

        He said something. She admits she didn’t hear. She sees him at the bottom of the escalators looking at her. She then says: “Get away from me, and leave me alone.”

        This really is not how a normal, well-adjusted human reacts. If he had said something crude or vulgar that would be a completely different story. If I offered to help someone carry bags or whatever and they said ““Get away from me, and leave me alone.”…it would take a lot of discipline not to give their attitude right back at them.

        I think this site provides a valuable service, I really do. But these last two stories paint the women in a far worse light than the men.

    • Kat Milligan

      If he wanted to help her, waiting at the bottom steps is pointless. What help would it provide to just stand there? If what he said that she didn’t hear was, “Can I help you?” why didn’t he move on when she didn’t respond? And why did her statement prompt such an awful reaction from him? From my experience, getting yelled at happens when a creep doesn’t get his way.

    • B

      Yeah, no. Screaming profanities at a stranger for rebuking you is NEVER appropriate. Even if his intentions were truly good, he should have dropped it and moved on.

  2. B.

    For what it’s worth, Jenn, I understand what prompted your reaction. I too get harassed every day, several times a day, and at this point I feel like the stray, abused, starving cat who’s been mistreated so much that it doesn’t know how to discriminate between the stranger who wants to skin it and the one who sincerely wants to feed and house it, so it hisses at everyone because it’s safer that way. It’s unfortunate, and sometimes it does cause us to have extreme reactions to people who may not have deserved it, but it is unfortunately what happens after trauma upon trauma.

  3. JRo

    Wow, way to judge, Anonymous.

    Let’s review what we know 1) the man said something (we don’t know what). 2) He’s standing at the bottom of the staircase staring (some ppl might interpret that as creepy, or maybe he was looking up her skirt!) 3) She asked him to leave her alone. Maybe he was blocking the exit of the staircase! Who knows?

    If he really was a nice guy he wouldn’t call women “bitches” and proceed to verbally abuse them for declining his (possibly, but she didn’t hear him) offer to assist her.

    Whatever happened, you have no reason to start name-calling.

    P.S. I believe you meant “repercussions.”

  4. Nigerian Sista

    I am in complete agreement with Golden Silence and JRo. This woman has every right to feel the way she feels about the situation. It’s not her fault that she’s always getting harassed. Also what kind of guy could he have been to call her names anyway? Not a good one. It’s strange to me how guys seem to get mad when women want to be left alone. They don’t have to be subjected to this kind of behavior everywhere they go though. And I also wonder how they would like it if they were constantly treatedlike community propertty.

  5. VeggieTart

    How was this guy supposed to know Jenn is harassed every day? I’m sure it’s something guys don’t think about. There are nice guys and there are assholes, and it’s not always obvious who is who on first glance. Jenn could have snapped something like, what did you say?

    I’ll agree that his reaction was a bit harsh, though.

  6. friday jones

    Sounds like she had an appropriate response, and his was over the top misogyny. An appropriate escalation would have been to pepper spray him to the ground and then baptize those treacherous heels in his peppery eye juices.

  7. Anonymous

    I can see why he would have been snippy or sarcastic in his response, but snippy is not the same as name-calling and repeatedly swearing and threatening. Not to mention if he had genuinely wanted to help her, he would have stood next to her on the escalator and repeated his offer when she didn’t hear him instead of waiting for her at the bottom – and at that point for no reason.

  8. cathy

    agreed with golden silence, B and JRo. i know how to offer help to someone without them feeling threatened, if this guy’s a real samaritan he can do the damn same.

  9. Muk

    Anyone who has an ounce of awareness knows women are harassed every day. He should have known that. Even if he didn’t, I agree with the above commenters that if he was really out to help her, he wouldn’t launch into a tirade when it became clear that he frightened her instead. He would apologize and move on. Clearly, he was just mad she stood up for herself and the poster probably saved herself a lot of grief.
    It’s like people accidentally using sexually or racially charged language in inappropriate situations and then getting defensive when being called on bad behavior by claiming ignorance. Remaining willfully ignorant of gender, race, and class issues in this society is a crime all by itself because it means you clearly don’t care about accidentally hurting people.