Location: G8 bus stop at 11 & M Street NW (towards Avondale)
Time: Night (7:30pm-12am)
This happened several years ago. I was sitting in the bus shelter at 11th and M Streets NW in the dark at roughly 8:00pm. A man was sitting next to me. Another man walked over and started unlocking a bicycle near the bus shelter. This second man said hello to me. I think I smiled or nodded in response but don’t think that I spoke to him (I don’t remember exactly). He began to repeat “hello” in an increasingly aggressive tone and then he switched to “hola” and continued in a very aggressive tone. I felt uncomfortable and scared.
The guy seated next to me in the shelter didn’t react in any way. Nonetheless, the presence of this bystander made me feel less alone and afraid than I might have if he wasn’t there. Finally I said politely to the harasser, “Please leave me alone.” At which point he aggressively responded with “This IS me leaving you alone. If I wasn’t leaving you alone then I would have thrown you through that plate glass window” (indicating the window of a restaurant on 11th Street near the bus shelter).
I was trying to figure out if I should run away, or take out my phone and call the police, or ask the guy sitting in the shelter to stop ignoring the situation and help, or what. Then the harasser got on his bicycle and rode away. After that, the guy sitting next to me in the shelter took out his ear buds and said to me, “On behalf of all men, I apologize.” Of course at the time I blamed myself for not being friendly to the harasser in the first place — as if it was my fault that he harassed me.
After this incident, I switched to using the bus stop at 11th and K Streets, which feels much safer because there are generally lots of people there outside the hostel. For a while every time I passed that bus shelter at 11th and M, I felt angry — angry at the harasser for making me feel so powerless, and angry at the bystander who ignored the situation until after the harasser left.
Even though this happened a while ago the memories and feelings came back to me when I discovered this website and read other people’s stories. Thank you for the opportunity to tell my story. (I may not remember everything word-for-word as this was several years about but this is the gist of what was said.)
Submitted 10/28/14 by “M.”
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