Street Harassed in DC: “It Made Me Feel Like a Piece of Meat”

"I Don't Think I'll Feel Safe on the DC Metro Again"

Location: 12th Street and N Street NW, Washington, DC
Time: Daytime (9:30am-3:30pm)

When I was 19, I traveled into DC with my friend, who was 17. It was the second time I had gone down to the city on my own, the first was for a summer job interview in Foggy Bottom.

I felt very in charge. I love DC with all my heart and knew where I was going, listing all the different rules and fun facts of the city. I might have sounded pretentious, but I didn’t care; I was spending the day in the city without any relative accompanying me.

My mom told me to call her and go to my uncle’s place if there was any trouble. As if. When my friend and I were crossing the street, headed to Buffalo Exchange from the Mt. Vernon metro stop, two middle-aged men were on the street corner chatting. One turned to look at us, and said as we had passed, “Mm, girl, I like the way you walk.”

My friend and I exchanged shocked glances and picked up our pace. We walked a little faster, and one of the men shouted out another catcall about how he liked our jeans. Whatever confidence I had about traveling into the city quickly disappeared. It was the first time I was ever catcalled, in my favorite city out of all places, and it made me feel like I was piece of meat.

Submitted 3/1/15 by “Anonymous.”

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): 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).