“I Am Worthy of Walking Down the Street Without Being Harassed!”

"I Am Worthy of Walking Down the Street Without Facing Harassment."

Location: Connecticut Ave & P St NW (Dupont Circle, Washington, DC)
Time: Daytime (9:30am-3:30pm)

I was clearly walking quickly, as I was running late to a meeting. This is the interaction:

Him: “Excuse me, I’m not going to ask you for a penny.”
Me: “No, I’m late.”
Him: “White bitch”
Me: “Excuse you, I don’t appreciate being called that. Please stop.”

And, then he continued to elevate his voice and continue following me and use of the term white bitch, and that as long as I was white I would be under his curse…Ugh, it was stupid and annoying and I was just sad that he threw race in there…maybe to get a rise out of me? Cops were called as he continued to escalate his antics with others on the street.

Clearly, he is disturbed. I’m trying to find ways to be compassionate, but I’m still just angry. I hate confrontation. I have every right to not engage in conversation with strangers on the street. I am worthy of walking down the street without curses being hurled at me.

The advice from the authorities…avoid him. Walk far away from him. Don’t say anything to him. Really? This is rape culture in action. Why do I need to monitor MY BEHAVIOR when he is the one exhibiting bad behavior? It was made clear that this is not the first time this has happened and that restraining orders have been issued against this man previously for the same actions. Sure, I’ll take caution and not engage with him directly, but now I need to consider crossing the street if I see this character? No. It’s my street, too.

I want to get to a place where I am not upset by seeing him or hearing him – I don’t know how to get there yet, but I hope with practice I will.

Submitted 12/27/14 by “TLA.”

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).