“Note to idiots: Don’t mess with women carrying coffee!”

This happened over a year ago, but have never shared this. I want to share it now because it’s actually a positive experience that could have turned into something horribly wrong.

I was walking home during the day from the metro to my house, cup of coffee in hand (Columbia Heights area) as I was waiting to cross the street, I had a weird feeling about a younger boy to my right. I wasn’t sure why, but sometimes you just get THAT FEELING. I didn’t make eye contact with him, and didn’t want to, but I pulled out my phone to talk to my brother in case anything happened.

Sure enough, as I was coming closer to my house, he is following me and cat calling me. “Hey baby”, “Hey hottie”, etc. etc. I still have a bit of distance on him and I’m walking faster at this point, but am getting quite angry. I turn around to yell at him, and notice his dick is completely out of his pants, while he is holding it, swinging it around, smiling, and says “you like what you see?” Furious, I run over to him, and throw my cup of coffee in his face and scream “Get away from me you idiot!!” Which works and he runs off.

Note to idiots: Do not mess with women carrying coffee.

Submitted by Anonymous

Location: Corner of Georgia Ave & Columbia Ave

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

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10 Responses

  1. Obie

    My only complaint is that you didn’t throw your coffee on his crotch! Bravo, ma’am!

  2. B.

    Oh my god, I love it!

    The cautious, cerebral side of me is twitching with the idea of what could have happened if he had retaliated, and I generally encourage girls to not take action like you did when there’s potential for the man to fight back, but my god, reading this everything else primitive inside of me just started cheering!

    I’m glad this worked out safely for you. That must have felt AMAZING!

    I’m always in far too much shock when men expose themselves to me to even breathe, let alone move.

    This post made my day!

  3. Golden Silence

    I love stories where women fight back! That’ll teach him from pulling that crap again.

  4. Kate

    I like to think I would have thought fast enough to take a picture with my phone and give it to the cops/publish online, but I think you handled it spectacularly.

  5. Shevonne A Polastre

    Oh my gosh! I’m so glad that it worked out and that your coffee was there to save the day.

  6. Anonymous

    I love it! I read this to my partner, and after he finally stopped laughing he said “she should have just poured it on his….exposure.”

  7. brandodell@gmail.com

    Not that what he did wasn’t offensive/illegal, but is physical assault (and depending on the heat of the coffee this could have caused lasting damage) really proportionate for offensive-yet-nonphysical behavior? Particularly since you had to run over to him to attack him.

    Not excusing his behavior, of course, but if a cop had witnessed this it’s likely you’d be in for a greater offense. It’d be different if you were acting in reasonable self-defense.

    • B.

      @ Brandodell:

      I’m not trying to pick a fight, honestly. I’m just sincerely curious~ If you think this poster’s retaliation was disproportionate to the offense, my question is what kind of retaliation do you think would have been proportionate? Again, I’m sincerely curious. Is there a reaction you think would have been more appropriate? Or even effective?

      Because this brings up a bigger issue: Part of why passive assault is so utterly infuriating is precisely because it doesn’t involve the kind of direct assault that can be immediately fought back against with force. Specifically, when we receive verbal and visual assaults (i.e. vulgar catcalls and public flashers/masturbators), it is the very passivity of the assault that leaves us feeling utterly powerless (one of the main goals of the perpetrator). What can we do- Catcall back? That’s no defense. (And in fact “talking back” can often be dangerous.) And what can we do to a flasher- Pull out a nipple in retaliation for him pulling out his cock? Like against like? Not quite.

      Do you see my point? Part of the very reason why predators commit non-physical assault like catcalls and flashing is because they KNOW it renders the victim powerless. It’s that very element of powerlessness that they inflict, and the feeling of having humiliated, scared, demoralized, grossed out and shocked their victim, that’s so arousing to them. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve caught a guy masturbating to the sight of me, intentionally so that I could see him, and then watched him get off on the fact that I could do nothing about it– Watched him get off on seeing me get embarrassed and revolted, and ultimately moving away from him.

      In my opinion, there is no “proportionate” way to fight back against someone who commits passive assault like the flasher in this post. If she called the cops, the flasher would have been long gone before they arrived, and we all know they likely wouldn’t have caught him.

      So again, I sincerely ask you: What other appropriate or proportionate defense could she have used instead? Honestly, if you have a quality suggestion, it would be useful to know it (and I say that in all sincerity), because maybe there is indeed another way to defend ourselves or retaliate in these situations, but we’re just missing it.

      Having said that, as someone who has had countless penises flashed her way by creeps on the street, been the masturbatory tool of similar perverts in parks all over DC, and who averages about 7 vulgar catcalls a day, I can tell you this: When a woman is walking alone and a man commits passive assault against her, particularly after following her as happened to this poster, she is NOT interpreting his actions as merely “offensive.” Yes, having someone follow you and flash his penis at you is absolutely offensive. But it is not MERELY, SIMPLY offensive– It is THREATENING. Put yourself in this woman’s shoes, of the shoes of any woman who finds herself alone with a man who is passively sexually assaulting her, even if it’s non-physically. I can PROMISE you that in that woman’s mind, she is distinctly aware of the fact that physical assault, and rape specifically, could follow the non-physical assault at any moment. We don’t see a man flashing his penis at us while we’re alone on a dark street as offensive, we see it as offensive AND terrifying AND threatening AND potentially dangerous. Similarly, on a smaller level, when we are walking alone on a dark street and some man catcalls at us, telling us how and what he’d like to do to our bodies sexually, I assure you, our instinct interprets it as a THREAT. –And the thing is, it should! It should interpret it as a legitimate threat, given how often and easily rape occurs.

      In our minds “offensive” and “dangerous” are not two separate categories in situations like these– They are exist on the same slope, part of the same continuum that is rape behavior and rape culture.

      Whether or not a woman actively realizes her intuition is interpreting the flashing or the catcalling as a potential precursor to rape, her instinct is responding very appropriately nonetheless. Very “proportionately.”

      From personal experience, I can tell you that when a woman is faced with a man flashing his (presumably hard) penis at her, she does not have the time or luxury to stop and think “Well now wait, how should I respond appropriately to this guy? After all, he hasn’t touched me….. YET.” Rather, when we are confronted by these animals, our own animal nature very appropriately takes over in direct response, and defense, to what our organism interprets as a very clear and legitimate threat, whether any physical assault has taken place or not.

      We shouldn’t have to wait for someone to touch us or grope us or attempt to rape us (at which point its frequently too late) before fighting back. The non-physical assault is terrifying enough to completely warrant physical retaliation on our part (what else do we have!?). THE WAY THIS WOMAN RESPONDED TO HER FLASHER WAS ABSOLUTEY “REASONABLE SELF-DEFENSE.”

      (And for what it’s worth, after dealing with countless DC police officers with regards to my own harassers, I can tell you that not a one of them would chastise me if I threw my coffee in a flasher’s face. In fact I can almost guarantee they would instead ask me why I didn’t aim more directly for his crotch.)

    • Golden Silence

      “Not excusing his behavior…”

      You are. What the guy did was perverted and he deserved what he got.

      As an aside, I don’t think you meant to have your e-mail address as your user name.

  8. anonymous

    My 90 year old Grandma had a great response to a guy exposing himself to her in his car in a grocery store parking lot. She calmly walked over and said “son, if I were you, I wouldn’t go showing that to anyone.” According to her, he promptly zipped up and left. I would have died laughing if I witnessed that. He is probably still insecure about it. Too funny! GO Grandma!