A Male Ally Shares: “How I became aware of street harassment”

Location: Langley Park, Silver Spring (MD)
Time: Daytime (9:30am-3:30pm)

As a guy, street harassment is something I haven’t always noticed a great deal. I grew up in Boston, and it just wasn’t something that I saw very often. I can remember maybe one or two instances, and I’m sure that it was very annoying and possibly frightening for the female victim. However, if my sister or mother or girlfriend isn’t being targeted, most likely I wouldn’t have felt much responsibility to act. That all changed after I moved to DC to attend grad school.

I got a cheap apartment in the Langley Park area, and pretty much the moment I got there I noticed a lot of strange behavior. It was common to see a car roll up to a girl walking on the street and then follow her for a while. On a number of occasions I’ve seen guys walking behind women for a few blocks, staring at these women’s backsides.

Eventually I got pretty sick of it and began to yell at these guys, but either they didn’t understand what I was saying or pretended not to understand. It was infuriating. What was frustrating to me was the feeling that in the area I lived, this was more than simply acceptable. It felt as if staring at women’s bodies and making suggestive comments was encouraged. Many of the harassed women did nothing to suggest any displeasure, which I interpreted as the complete domination of their spirit. It certainly looked that way to me.

Anyhow, I’ve moved away and find that I’m very conscious of sexual harassment. I wish I wasn’t so conscious of it, as it would allow me to enjoy my day more at times, but I guess it isn’t such a bad thing to be aware of something so many women have to deal with daily.

Emphases by CASS.
Submitted 5/21/13 by “Erik K.”


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).

“On an almost daily basis, I was harassed going to the pharmacy or the bank.”

posted in: Silver Spring | 0

Location: Langley Park/Silver Spring
Time: Daytime (9:30am-3:30pm)

Langley Park, Maryland

For the longest year of my life, I lived in an apartment off of New Hampshire Avenue that was about a ten-minute drive to College Park. At first, I was thrilled with the cheap rent and all of my neighbors seemed really nice, but within a month I became so agitated that I would drive over to different neighborhoods just to get groceries or a drink.  On an almost daily basis I was harassed going to the pharmacy or the bank. Some men would just leer at me, licking their lips and bending at their knees to get a better look at me. Other times they would say nasty things, thinking I couldn’t understand them [sic]. I tried to fight back, but of course nothing really worked. It got to the point that I started to make some terrible judgments about people, and it’s taken me a long time to stop being defensive out on the street. I remember reading one post where someone said that this happens everywhere, and I know that’s true .. but in some places it is much more commonplace.

Submitted on 10/10/12 by “MA”

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.