Repeatedly Street Harassed in Petworth: “I Do NOT Owe You a Smile!”

Awesome anti-street harassment art by Tatyana Fazlalizadeh;
Awesome anti-street harassment art by Tatyana Fazlalizadeh; photo courtesy of The Frisky.

Location: Georgia Ave and Upshur St. NW (Petworth)
Time: Evening Rush Hour (3:30pm-7:30pm)

I was walking home from the bus stop after work, around 4:30pm. This route is a short one, a mere four blocks between the drop-off point and my house. I was harassed, both physically and verbally a total of two times before I made it to the safety of my home.

The first harassment was the moment I stepped off the bus. A man probably in his mid-50s, walking down the sidewalk in the opposite direction, passed me before making an abrupt turn and started to follow me down the block, yelling at me to “give him a piece of that white ass,” before reaching out to try and stop me by grabbing at my purse. Refusing to respond, I jerked away and ran down the block and dangerously through a red light intersection to get away from him. He got bored and wandered off back on his original route.

At this point, I’m visibly shaken and fuming when I make a turn onto Upshur from Georgia Ave when I pass by a group of young men, probably in their 20s. As I pass by, one shouts out, “Hey. Hey sweetness. Come give me a smile.” It was at that point where I hit my breaking point for the day, and I turned around to stare him down and scream, “Do I look like I want to talk to you? Show some fucking respect for women,” before turning and walking away. I get harassed on a nearly daily basis walking down this route. I’m so, so sick of it.

Submitted 5/28/14 by “KLR.”

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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): www.wmata.com/harassment or 202-962-2121. Reporting helps identify suspects as well as commons trends in harassment. You can 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).

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