Sexually harassed in Dupont — and sick of it!

posted in: Dupont Circle | 0

Location:  Dupont Circle and Dupont Circle Metro Station
Time: Evening Rush Hour (3:30pm-7:30pm)

Although the story I’m about to share is one of the more extreme stories that has happened to me in Dupont, the overall point of me finally posting publically (sic) about this is that I get harassed almost every day that I come to work. I work in Dupont Circle, and like many people, I love to sit by the fountain and eat my lunch. However, when I do, I know full well I am either going to get comments about my body, aggressively asked out, have inappropriate questions asked of me, or touched. I’m so incredibly sick of it. I hate feeling anxiety every time a male walks close to me because I’m waiting for the comment. I often feel that because I am a larger, more curvy woman, that I am even more the target of men who think that I will be an easy date or that I must never get complimented, so I must be especially happy to hear one from a stranger. Not in a million years.

Yesterday after work I was walking to the Dupont metro  during rush hour [and] it happened yet again. I was wearing work clothes that included loose dress pants, but a fitted, tighter jacket with a fashion belt (although no matter what I was wearing what happened wasn’t ok) so I looked nice and professional and fashionable. A man comes up behind me and yells the usual comment at me about how nice and voluptuous and curvy I am. I usually just respond by walking away or rolling my eyes. The only time I usually yell or respond is when someone physically touches me or gets too close to me. However, I had a long day and spun around and replied to him in an equally loud voice for him to F off. Which makes him respond by screaming at me that there is something wrong with me that there is something wrong with me that I didn’t appreciate his compliment. The rest of the screaming involved phrases from me like, “no woman wants to hear that” and “you are an Fing street harasser”. Which all ended with him screaming obscenities and insults at me. Keep in mind, this is in the middle of a PACKED street of pedestrians coming from work to get on the metro as well. Awesome.

I am sick and tired of not even being able to go to work without some man (some obviously homeless, some wearing fancy suits) thinking they are doing me a favor by “complimenting” lewdly and loudly how nice my hips/butt/figure is. My anger is that even when I tried to stand up for myself and call him out, I got even more negative attention by him screaming insults at me which makes even more people stare at me as if I’m some crazy lady who just enjoys getting in screaming fights with random men. It felt like if I had just let it go then I would have avoided even more embarrassment and anger. But at least with me calling him out, he walked away equally as upset as I was rather then feeling like he was a nice great guy paying me a favor with a compliment. I’m so frustrated, I just want to be left alone!

Submitted on 12/11/12 by “Elizabeth Bretz”

Do you have a personal experience with gender-based public sexual harassment or assault?
Submit your story to help raise awareness about the pervasiveness and harmful effects of street harassment. All submissions are posted anonymously unless otherwise specified.

If you experience or have experienced sexual harassment on the DC Metro system:
Please consider reporting to Metro Transit Police:; 202-962-2121.