Street Harassed at the Bus Stop: “I Would Have Thrown You Through That Glass Window”

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.”

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 at the Woodley Park Bus Stop.”

Location: Bus stop at Calvert & Connecticut Ave NW (Woodley Park)
Time: Night (7:30pm-12am)

This was about a year ago. I was awaiting a bus, and a man started to make small talk with me. Somewhere along the conversation, it turned bad. He told me, “I bet you’ve got a nice pussy.” It was at that point I decided to walk to my destination as that would be more comfortable than waiting one more moment for a bus.

Sexually Harassed at the Woodley Park Bus Stop

Emphases by CASS.
Submitted 10/01/13 by Anonymous.


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: 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. Recommended tip: 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).

Street Harassed at the Bus Stop: “I’m not your ‘big momma!'”

Location: Pennsylvania Ave & 8th St SE (Eastern Market)
Time: Evening Rush Hour (3:30pm-7:30pm)

On the way to a dinner meeting for work, a man approaches me who is also waiting for the bus. I didn’t know how to reply to his “Hi, big momma.” I think I said, “….hi” and anxiously awaiting for the bus to arrive.

Submitted 10/1/13 by Anonymous.


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: 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. Recommended tip: 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).

Sexually harassed at Tenleytown bus stop

Location: Bus stop for the 31/32/34 buses; Wisconsin Ave at Tenleytown Circle
Time: Morning Rush Hour (5am-9:30am)

I was walking past a bunch of commuters on my way down Wisconsin Avenue around 8:30 AM, and a man standing next to the busstop (sic) caught my attention by saying, “Hey lady!” When I looked over, he continued, “I’d love to make love to you in the bushes over there, what do you say?” I turned away from him and kept walking, but he continued to shout “what do you say? what do you say? what do you say?” until he either stopped, or I could no longer hear him.

There were several other men standing at the bustop (sic) when the incident occurred, and I’ve continued to wonder what was said, if anything, to the man harassing me after I’d passed by. Did a brave soul tell him to stop, as I wished I had been able to do? Or did they stay silent, as I did? Either way, it was a crappy way to start the day.

Submitted on 1/25/13 by Anonymous

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.

My Streets, Too: Feminism, the bus stop.

Street harassment affects women, regardless of their looks or socioeconomic status. It doesn’t matter how accomplished I am, or how I’m dressed, or how determined I look when I walk down the street.

By “AKD”
This post was originally written as a Facebook note.

My friend asked me, as a woman, to convey the experience of discrimination to a man who might not experience it. [My response] is quick, informal and rough, and it’s not going to be at all illuminating to the many of you who have more familiarity with feminist theory than I do, or who live or work in places where the casual misogyny I describe is nothing in comparison to systematic subjugation and unfreedom. I was at first reluctant to post it on my own [Facebook] page because it’s quite personal. But to quote [my male friend], “I am reposting here in the hope that some of you will find it persuasive, or useful in persuading others”:

Let me put it this way: I have degrees from excellent universities; I have worked for a variety of large and venerable institutions; and men talk over me in conference calls at their own peril. I can be very assertive and very self-assured. But last Saturday night, waiting for the bus in Dupont Circle, the only thing that kept me from yelling at the drunk frat boys who kept screaming “hey, baby, come here,” at me was the knowledge that I might actually get hurt if I acknowledged them at all.

This is not an uncommon experience for many, many women, and there’s no necessary victimhood attached to it: it makes you pretty resilient and adaptable. But dial back to my resume in the last paragraph, and you’ll note that it’s unlikely many men with my particular profile would experience that kind of public humiliation; be unsurprised by it; or think about the fact that if they were female, it might happen to them all the goddamned time.


This is not a compliment. It is not flattering. It objectifies me, it reduces me to something that might come if it’s called, and it happens all the time.


This is in part why I’m a feminist. Because it doesn’t matter how accomplished I am, or how I’m dressed, or how determined I look when I walk down the street. It doesn’t matter how much respect I can command in a classroom, or how assertive I am when I have something to say. None of these things should uniquely insulate me from being heckled: it shouldn’t happen at all.

This is why I’m a feminist: because it’s still socially acceptable for some well-dressed man to yell out, “hey, baby, come here,” if it’s dark out and I’m making my way down the sidewalk full of bars on a weekend evening, just because I am a woman. This is not a compliment. It is not flattering. It doesn’t need to be threatening to be demeaning. It objectifies me, it reduces me to something that might come if it’s called, and it happens all the time. If that same man had tried to summon me by any other identity I have, no one would laugh, and no one would think it was cute or that I should be pleased to get the attention.

It’s not safe for me to turn around and pick a fight with that man, so all I can do is say: this is, in part, why feminism is still important. This is why I explicitly and necessarily self-identify as a feminist, and why it’s important for me to talk about this with men who might never have the experience of standing at a bus stop or on a train platform and being jeered at while other people look on more or less indulgently. It’s not just that the experience can be frightening or infuriating. It’s that the alternative is to condone this kind of treatment as acceptable.

AKD is a doctoral candidate. She has previously worked for UN Action to Prevent Sexual Violence in Conflict, which coordinates the United Nations’ work on rape as a tactic of war.

In April 2012 with help from CASS, WMATA introduced its first-ever public awareness campaign to combat sexual harassment on Metro trains and buses.

MORE FROM “My Streets, Too”:

ABOUT “MY STREETS, TOO”

“My Streets, Too” is CASS’s ongoing series on personal writings on street harassment by members of the DC community. Email Renee to submit writings using your full name, initials, or anonymously (just let us know). Please be sure to use the subject line “My Streets, Too.”

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