Street Harassed by McPherson Square: “Women Don’t Like to be Spoken to Like That!”

street harassment dc collective action for safe spaces
Street Harassment by McPherson Square: “Women Don’t Like to be Spoken to Like That!”

Location: 14th & I St NW (McPherson)
Time: Evening Rush Hour (3:30pm-7:30pm)

It was almost dusk, and I was walking towards the metro at McPherson along Franklin Square Park to meet my friend. As I looked down at my phone to text my friend know that I was almost there, a man was walking in the opposite direction past me. I didn’t think anything of him until, as he was nearing me, he moved his body in towards me as we passed and loudly stated, “goddamn girl, you’re fine.”

The invasion of my personal space, both physical and energetic, scared me so much that all I could exclaim was “god dammit” in surprise. As I walked down into the metro, angry and frustrated, I thought of all the articles and videos I’ve seen of late (Ed. note: CASS’s board member, Jen Corey, was recently featured in this viral anti-street harassment video by Vocativ), where women confront men like this. The line I always admire is “women don’t like to be spoken to like that.” I always want to be able to say that, but sometimes you’re so taken aback by the unwelcome and inappropriate attention that you become flustered like I did. I’ll never forget the man who was sitting on a bench at the edge of the park who heard my exclamation, and laughed. It wasn’t funny.

Submitted 8/3/14 by “Caitlin.”

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Do you have a personal experience with gender-based public sexual harassment or assault? Share 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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