This has been a banner week for harassment.
Was taking the 52 home from a friend’s place tonight, later than usual. It was crowded, and a guy sitting too close to me (I was facing forward, he in the side-facing seats) and smelling boozy started to talk to me. Couldn’t really hear what he was saying and he had a very thick accent, so I said, “I’m sorry, I don’t speak Spanish.” I’m still not sure what he said, but it was something about Barcelona vs. Madrid so I assumed he was talking soccer. I said something friendly about how I didn’t watch soccer – he was smiling and I didn’t feel threatened yet. He laughed with his friends about my misunderstanding and started staring at me more. Then switched to calling me baby and telling me he loved me, making kissing noises etc. I told him “I’m not interested, please leave me alone,” which only egged him on. Then I said “Would you let someone speak to your daughter like this? What if I were your daughter? Would you like your daughter to be treated this way?” After I repeated that he finally gave up, apologized, and turned away. I guess I struck a chord.
Of course then I spent the rest of the ride terrified when I realized he might very well get off at the same deserted stop where I needed to switch buses. If he had, I would not have gotten off the bus and would have figured out another way home. When I finally got to my street, after another short bus ride, I actually cried from frustration and relief and a little bit of residual fear. A little embarrassing to admit that. I hate feeling this way, and I hate that he had the power to make me feel this way.
It’s been a long week already, with too many stories for this blog – I pray for the day when none of have stories to tell here.
Submitted by Meredith I. on 8/17/2011
Location: 52 Bus (north to Takoma)
Time of harassment: Night (7:30P-12A)
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.