“I Spoke Back to a Street Harasser And He Threatened to Shoot Me in the Head”

Location: John McCormack Dr NE DC (Catholic Univerisity/Brookland Metro Station)
Time: Evening Rush Hour (3:30pm-7:30pm)

Around 5:30 PM, I was walking up John McCormack St. NE from CUA Brookland Metro towards CUA law. I saw a group of teenagers (appx. 16 years old) walking towards me, about 6-7 of them, and I got nervous when they started flanking me rather than all moving to one side to let me pass. As one of the largest guys neared me, he leaned in and said (loudly), “Is your pussy wet?”

I’m used to snide comments and rude remarks, but I don’t know, I just wasn’t expecting that. Without even thinking about it, in my immediate anger, I yelled “SHUT.UP.” He was about 10 ft behind me at this point, stops, turns, around and yells “excuse me? Are you talking to me?” to which I replied, “yeah. you’re being rude. you need to stop.” He then went on to scream “Fuck you!” and “I’m going to kill you, I’m going to shoot you in the head, thinkin you can talk back to me like that.”

I just kept walking the additional 30 ft to my school building, where I was shaking with adrenaline and frustration. I know that not responding and being non-confrontational is the path of easiest resistance, I could easily have just continued walking without responding at all. But if I did that, it would be passive acceptance that this person’s behavior is acceptable, and it’s not. I shouldn’t have to be scared that I’m going to get shot in the head for telling someone to stop speaking me that way.

Submitted 8/19/14 by “C.F.”

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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).