Groped & Street Harassed Repeatedly While Out Around U Street: “I was NOT asking for it!”

How I Dress Does Not Mean 'YES': "I was NOT asking for it!"
How I dress does not mean ‘YES’: “I was NOT asking for it!”

Location: 14th & U, 16th & U, and 18th Street NW
Late Night (12am-5am)

I was harassed multiple times tonight – once in a bar and twice on the street. Men repeatedly violated my space by touching me on my bare back (area not covered by my shirt), my butt and my chest. At the bar a group of men also threw crumpled up pieces of paper down my shirt.

The first encounter on the street, there was a very wide sidewalk, but the man about to pass me going the opposite direction came close enough to grab my butt while passing. When I verbally confronted him, he responds with a comment on my physical appearance. As if that made his behavior not only appropriate but warranted.

Walking another two blocks, a man standing on the sidewalk reached out and grabbed my chest as I was walking by him. Despite the extensive police presence on 18th Street, I felt extremely exposed and vulnerable given my prior experiences this evening.

I don’t believe I need to justify myself by describing what I was wearing or why I was walking in that area at that time. Neither of these factors indicate a woman is “asking for it.” But to dispel any misconceptions about when street harassment occurs, I was wearing a basic long sleeve black shirt that came up high in the front and draped in the back (exposed part of my back) with a casual white skirt, about mid-thigh length.

Emphases by CASS.
Submitted 7/14/13 by Anonymous.

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: Whether the event is happening at the moment or occurred months ago, we strongly encourage you to report to Metro Transit Police (MTP): or 202-962-2121. Reporting helps identify suspects as well as commons trends in harassment. Recommended tip: Program MTP’s number into your phone so you can easily reach them when needed.

If you need assistance in coping with public sexual harassment or assault, please contact the DC Rape Crisis Center (DCRCC) 24/7 crisis hotline at 202-333-RAPE (202-333-7279).

2 Responses

  1. silver price

    Interesting responses to street harassment in Egypt. A lot of people so opposed to it but it is a problem in America as well. Cat calling and threatening behavior. Foul language and of course worse.

  2. silver price

    I would like to thank you for creating the time and space to hear stories about street sexual harassment in our city. Every young woman and girl I know has experienced street harassment in some way, shape or form, with national statistics saying that up to 70 percent of women will have experienced it by the time they are 41 years old. And though so prevalent, this is a rare opportunity to speak to the issue safely in a public space and engage in conversations about creating the change needed to shift the paradigm of sexual harassment. I am here as a New Yorker who has experienced street harassment daily for nearly the past two decades. I have experienced street sexual harassment up to three times while walking down one city block, often first thing in the morning when I step outside my apartment building. I have heard similar stories daily; a friend once told me she was sexually harassed 23 three times during a single commute between Jersey City and Manhattan.