Pss, Pss!

I was taking my 2 mile walk to work in sweltering heat. I was in a tank top and jeans, nothing notable especially given the weather. I passed two construction workers. They started making that “pss pss pss” sound that people use to call cats. At first I didn’t think it was for me, but I didn’t see anyone else around.

I was so offended that they would use a sound for animals to get my attention, I flipped them off. I was miserable to begin with because of the heat, and they went beyond my limit. They shook their heads and both said “That’s mean, that’s mean.” What about treating a woman like an animal? That’s not mean? My blood still boils thinking about it. These guys looked to be about 40, old enough to know better or even have daughters of their own.

Submitted by Claire on 8/15/2011

Location: Courthouse, Clarendon Blvd and Uhle Street (VA)

Time of harassment: Morning Rush Hour (5A-9:30A)

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“I felt violated.”

This story isn’t recent, but three years later I am still annoyed and disgusted thinking about it. I wish Hollaback had been around then, so I would have thought to get a photo of the jerk who verbally harassed me or in some way react to the guy rather than just letting it happen. I can’t go back, but I can at least share my story and think about how I’ll respond next time.

In 2007, I worked for a big company in northwest Washington, DC. I lived in Arlington, Virginia and commuted every day by walking, through a pretty nice residential neighborhood to the metro.

One morning, about 7:30 AM, I was taking my usual walk to the metro near the Court House station (orange line). I was dressed in pretty formal business attire, with a heavy coat on over my clothes because it was spring and still cold. I had huge sunglasses on that seriously took up most of my face. Nothing was tight-fitting, hell, I barely had any color on. I was pretty much dressed in all black with my black peacoat and black slacks on. That, the fact that it was broad daylight, or that the sun had barely been up an hour, or that I was walking through a nice family neighborhood and right next to an elementary school, didn’t stop some jerk from harassing me. (But we’re always “asking for attention,” or these things wouldn’t happen, right? Ugh.)

Just a few blocks from the metro, while on N. Adams St. between Key Blvd. and 16th St. N, a guy in a red pickup truck came from around the corner in front of me and then pulled up next to me. He slowed down, rolled down his window, and proceeded to whistle, hoot and holler at me. “Hey baby! What you doing? Hey baby! Looking good!” [Smooch noises, kissy faces.] I just looked straight on and kept walking. He kept at it another minute, then revved his engine and drove off. I flicked him off and kept walking to the metro.

It bothered me all morning. I felt angry, violated, confused, embarrassed. It was so unexpected that early in the morning and in the kind of setting I was in when it happened. I felt completely caught off guard and like I was powerless to stop it. If I felt all that just from some creep yelling at me from his vehicle, I can’t imagine how violated other people must feel when men choose to actually physically violate them, flash them or direct hateful slurs at them.

Submitted by A on 11/24/2010

Location: VA

Time of Harassment: Morning Rush Hour (5A-9:30A)

Do you have a personal experience with gender-based public sexual harassment or assault you would like to submit? Just click here and fill out the online submission form. All submissions are posted anonymously unless you specify.

Violated On The Orange Line

posted in: Court House | 1

As I got on the orange line train at 8am towwards New Carrolton with another young lady, a middle aged  man was eager to get off the car. He was dressed in a faded green shirt, blue addidas-type pants and black soccer shoes with cleats (possibly). Once we were on, he got right back on after us. Even though there was space in the car, his kept pressing his body flush against mine. When I looked down he had a boner- he wasn’t shy or embarrassed and he never made eye contact- he just looked down at my butt. Another guy saw I was uncomfortable and moved to make room for me. This man in the green shirt got off at the next stop but I saw him get into another car. I reported the incident to a metro employee who said she’d run a lookout on the radio but she barely asked for any information and didn’t ask for my name, though I gave it to her anyway. The worst part is that in these incidents, I always get angry afterwards and feel guilty f or not reacting and yelling in the moment; however, in the moment, I just want to get away and I am in disbelief that this is even happening. So, I get to feel violated, guilty for not saying anything and unassisted by authorities before 9am on a Wednesday and for the rest of the week…

Submitted by Kendra Sand on 7/28/2010

Location: On the Orange line train heading to New Carrollton between Courthouse and Rosslyn

Time of Harassment:Morning Rush Hour (5A-9:30A)

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Upskirting at Courthouse Metro

posted in: Court House | 30

Photo taken by Erica

Yesterday this happened:

Today, as I was emerging from the Court House Metro Station, a man got uncomfortably close behind me on the escalator. I had headphones on, but even so, I heard the familiar fake shutter-click of an obnoxious phone camera, then felt the unmistakable grab of a stranger’s hand under my skirt. I turned around (we were at the top of the escalator now), yelled “WHAT DID YOU DO? WHO THE HELL DO YOU THINK YOU ARE? THIS ASSHOLE JUST TOOK A PICTURE UP MY SKIRT AND GRABBED ME!” as loudly as I could. He tried to push past me and I hit him as hard as I could in the shoulder (he was a big guy, he barely felt it). He smiled that horrible-dude “I can do whatever I want” smile and leisurely jogged away, holding his phone. I was crying at this point, just feeling powerless and awful. There were tons of people around since this was at 8:30 AM in Arlington. No one even looked up as I was yelling at him that I could tell, but I don’t know what I would do in that situation either. A nicely dressed older woman walked past me, and I said through my tears “That person just took a picture up my skirt and grabbed me, what should I do?” and she shook her head and walked on. I sat on a bench and cried for a while, got a cup of coffee, called my sister, and went to work.

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Sigh.

A van drove down Clarendon Blvd while I was waiting to cross the street, and its driver beeped at me and nodded his head like he was checking me out. It was too easy to identify his employer, Banana Banner (http://www.bananabanner.com/) since his van was covered in bananas and it had a license plate that read “BANANA.”

I called his employer, and the woman who answered the phone let out a huge sigh and said she’d report him to his supervisor. I don’t know if it was a sigh of annoyance that one of their employees would do something so stupid (from an easily-recognizable company van), or if she was annoyed I interrupted her morning. I don’t know.

Harassers like this guy make it too easy to report them.

Submitted by Anonymous on 9/30/20009

Do you have a personal experience with gender-based public sexual harassment you would like to submit? Just click here and fill out the online submission form. All submissions are posted anonymously unless you specify.

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