I was on the bus with a group of girlfriends, heading from a restaurant in Columbia Heights down to a bar on U Street. We were sitting in the back of the bus in the seats that face each other. I was in the seat closest to the back row, so I was actually very close to a man sitting there. I wasn’t paying attention to him at all–I was caught up in the conversation with my friends.
Then I felt him lightly touch my thigh, just above the knee. I whipped around and said, “What the hell?” He took away his hand immediately, and didn’t say anything or make eye contact. It was weird–very different from the more aggressive harassment I’m used to experiencing. I didn’t feel afraid at all–just insulted and angry. One of my friends asked if I wanted to change seats, but I said no. For some reason, I felt like moving would be a concession. I was pretty sure the guy wasn’t going to try anything else–he wasn’t even looking at me–so I felt this stubborn urge to assert my right to sit there. I was tense until he eventually got off the bus, but nothing else happened; we just ignored him.
That was actually the first and only time I’ve ever said something to a harasser. I suppose it was the combination of feeling protected by my friends, his non-threatening demeanor, and the shock of actually being touched.
Submitted by S on 8/13/2011
Location: 52/53/54 (riding south on 14th St NW)
Time of harassment: Night (7:30P-12A)
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