Harassed at the Gym

I like to go to the gym at lunch time because it’s deserted and I can usually get on whatever machines I like. Yesterday was a little weird because almost all the elliptical machines were taken, and mostly by men. So I got on the only free one between two guys, and we all did the normal polite nods to each other then went about our sweaty business.

Right away I noticed the guy to my right turning and looking at me, but I just shrugged it off. Then he started making little grunting and gasping noises, which I also shrugged off because, hey, we’re at the gym, sometimes you do what you need to get through a workout. His weirdness kept escalating, with him talking to himself and whistling loudly, and I could tell he was leaning forward on the machine and looking at me, trying to catch my eye.

It was so frustrating because he wasn’t doing anything too awful at any given point, but this weirdness went on for 20 minutes while I went round and round in my head “should I look over at him and glare, or ask if he has a problem? Maybe he’s not really looking at me and it just seems like it in my peripheral?” And on and on.

By the time he got off I was all tense and aggravated by trying to figure out what was going on, that I didn’t notice him reaching over to tap my shoulder until he was already touching me. I over-reacted a bit and leaned away from him and smacked his hand away, loudly saying “What is your problem!?”. I think I made a little bit of a scene, but it was just a knee jerk reaction from being so uncomfortable for so long.

He looked startled and immediately left, rubbing his hand, and it made me wonder if the only way to get men to stop harassing women on the street is to start hitting them. Or maybe that’s just an angry reaction.

Submitted by CS

Location: Bally’s 2970 Belcrest Center Dr #202 Hyattsville MD, 20782

Time of harassment: Day Time (9:30A-3:30P)

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Harassment in Uniform

Tonight I left my gym (13th and F NW) and hurried down the street to catch my bus home. I was walking and texting, and I noticed a uniformed guard standing outside a building up ahead. As I passed, he said loudly, “Hey yo, can I get a text too?” I kept my head down and ignored him; I had a long day at work and I was tired. I always feel somewhat defeated when someone in uniform (guard, police officer) says something or leers at me. I suppose it’s because they’re supposed to protect us and make us feel safe.

Submitted by Anonymous on 11/10/2009

Location: 13th and F NW

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