“He promptly started rubbing himself.”

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Time: Evening Rush Hour (3:30pm-7:30pm)
Location: Between McPherson Sq and Metro Center

I’m 5 months pregnant and was happy to find one empty seat on the metro train. I sat down next to a man who promptly started rubbing himself over his jeans.

Submitted 11/23/16 by “BL”

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).

“My body isn’t up for public debate”

“Oh my god – what the hell is that? Looks like every thunderstorm and earthquake ever.”

I had just left my office at 16th & K to grab lunch down the block when a man sitting on the curb shouted this at me. In just a few words, I had become a “that,” and my body had become a public object, its fatness compared to natural disasters. I didn’t respond. I never do when harassed, usually because I am too shell-shocked in the moment. But the comment stuck with me, more than most usually do, because of its specific focus: my weight.

I quickly tweeted about the incident, musing that maybe on my way back to the office I would grab an ice cream cone to eat as I walked by him.

It’s no secret that I am fat.

However, in a world where fat bodies, especially feminine fat bodies, are seen as undesirable, sexually and otherwise, my experience with street harassment has always been affected by my appearance. A common misconception about street harassment is that when comments are made, the goal is to express a compliment.

While I also get these sorts of unwanted remarks, oftentimes my size is either admonished, as in this instance, or fetishized.

A few years ago in Foggy Bottom, a man came up to me to tell me he liked big women and that I reminded him of his ex-wife. And while I have never experienced it, other fat people have been approached by complete strangers concerned about their health and offered diet and exercise tips.

Fat and other non-normative bodies should not be up for public debate. Regardless of whether we’re walking down the street in a sundress or working up a sweat in the gym, it is never appropriate to comment on the state of someone’s body. My body is my domain and it not up for debate about why you like it or how it should change.

And besides, why would I want to change: didn’t you know fat women are as strong as thunderstorms or earthquakes?

– Submitted by Michela M. 

Repeated Verbal Harassment: “I will break your neck.”

Location: 16th & L St NW, Washington, DC
Time:  Daytime (9:30am-3:30pm)

Last week I was walking from the Metro to work and a white man was sitting on the sidewalk with a tin can. I had a mug in my hand, and, as I passed, he yelled at me: “I will knock that right out of your hand, you whore. I will break your neck.” I reported this to an officer who was down the street and didn’t see him again for a week. Today I was walking to get lunch with a coworker and he was sitting on the sidewalk asking for money. I’d heard him shout a racist slur at the woman in front of us, so I ignored him. He then yelled at me and my coworker, saying “I hope you choke to death on the next cock you suck.” We had no choice but to walk by him again coming back from getting lunch. This time he yelled at us again, saying, “So you would rather give your money to immigrants but not me? I break your fucking necks.” I reported to the police again today.

Submitted 5/4/15 by “NM.”

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).

“I Was Sexually Harassed by a Teen at the Newseum”

Location: Newseum, NW DC
Time: Daytime (9:30am-3:30pm)

A teenage boy smirkingly blocked my way and asked if I knew what a camel toe was. I told him he knew perfectly well what it was and got security and the chaperone from his school group. The chaperone had my back and let me know he’d be held accountable.

Submitted 3/19/15 by “Ninyabruja.”

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).

On being told to ‘smile’: “It makes me madder and madder every time it happens.”

Location:  Penn Quarter, NW DC
Time: Daytime (9:30am-3:30pm)

I yelled at a “smile baby” guy just now. This one couldn’t stop with just telling me to smile, but also told me that I walk “like I am sad.” I told him “I can walk however I want to walk, I don’t need your advice, thanks.” He says “well I am just telling you that the way you walk is telling the whole world you are sad, just dropping some wisdom on you.” So I go “Well, telling smart women that they don’t know how to walk right makes you look pathetic and stupid, not wise, asshole.” The awful part is I feel like I’ve just been in a fight. 15 minutes later at the safety of my desk, my hands are still shaky and I feel sick. I get that the “smile, baby!” guys don’t understand how invasive it is, but it makes me madder and madder every time it happens.

Submitted on 12/3/12 by “Muk”

Do you have a personal experience with gender-based public sexual harassment or assault?
Submit 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:
Please consider reporting to Metro Transit Police: www.wmata.com/harassment; 202-962-2121.

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