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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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).