Street Harassed By the National Mall: “He Called Me a B*tch & Walked Off”

street harassment in dcLocation: 7th & Independence SW (L’Enfant Plaza)
Time: 
Night (7:30pm-12am)

I was attending an evening event on the Mall, standing outside by myself and waiting for my friend. Imagine my surprise when a man walking past me started making comments about my ass, even though there were food trucks and plenty of gallery-goers milling around.

I yelled back that I didn’t appreciate him talking to me like that, which only seemed to encourage his ongoing commentary on my butt. Finally I yelled at him to SHUT UP (there was some pearl-clutching by bystanders at this point). The man called me a bitch and walked off.

Yelling shut up may not have been the most constructive way to engage with a street harasser. It feels wrong to silence somebody. And he honestly thought he was complimenting me and that I should be flattered. I’m trying to think of better ways to handle this if it happens again (statistically likely) but I’m not really sure how.

Emphases by CASS.
Submitted 8/22/13 by “C.”


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). 

Groped on the Metro

posted in: L'Enfant | 1

Location:  Orange or Blue train, at L’Enfant Plaza
Time: Daytime (9:30am-3:30pm)

I was on the metro on my way to work, sitting in the front seat. A youngish guy (early-mid twenties) got on and asked if he could sit next to me. I thought that was a weird question because it’s not like anything taking up the extra space. He had dreads and dressed somewhat professionally. He sat down and I proceeded to just read emails on my phone, check twitter, etc. Then I felt something on my ass – it was very subtle so I thought it was his bag or something, but when I looked down I noticed there was more than enough space between us, and he quickly moved his right hand. I jumped up to move, and so did he as he was getting off the train. So I sat back down and just glared at him in the reflection of the window on the doors until they opened. I didn’t say anything since it’s entirely possible that what I thought happened didn’t actually happen. But the disgusting feeling in my gut I still have hours later is telling me I was correct. I wish I had said something.

Submitted on 12/18/12 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.

“I’ve never been fully comfortable on the Metro since.”

posted in: L'Enfant | 2

Location: Green line toward L’Enfant Plaza
Time: Morning Rush Hour (5am-9:30am)

This happened two years ago and I was working in DC at the time and taking the VRE up from Fredericksburg. I was still living at home and saving up to move into the city in the not too distant future. Iswitched (sic) to the Metro at L’Enfant Plaza and took the Green line down to the Navy Yard. It was a normal, busy Friday morning so there were few seats available. I leaned on the wall near the doors and a man walked up from the middle of the train to stand across from me, close to the doors. I assumed he moved closer to get off at the next stop. Not at all. He started staring at me, grabbing his genitals, grunting, and licking his lips. I was stunned. As the train neared the SE University stop, he started to move toward me, not the doors which were right next to him. I’ve never flown out of the Metro quicker in my life. I managed to run down to the last car and find a seat. When I got off at the Navy Yard, I didn’t know what to do. I didn’t tell the Metro Police because I didn’t think they’d take me seriously. As I was walking down to the gate, I called my boyfriend at the time and he laughed and told me I was overreacting. I started to cry. I didn’t even bother going to work and called in as I turned around and made my way back to L’Enfant to wait for a train back home. I’ve had lots of people tell me that what I went through isn’t even sexual harrassment (sic). I just misinterpreted the situation. That’s a lie. I was targeted by this sick man and I’ve never been fully comfortable on the Metro since. I still head up to DC fairly often for entertainment and friends, but that moment I was sexually harrassed on the Metro was one of the leading factors in my decision to get a job closer to home that I could drive to. And that still makes me sad because I really do love DC.

Submitted on 7/18/12 by “Anonymous”

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.

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.

The beginning of a life-long pattern of disregard for women

posted in: L'Enfant | 2
Today on my way to work I was determined to find a seat after my L’Enfant Plaza transfer so that I could continue reading my book. Three boys, age 12 or so, were sitting one behind the other, each taking up two seats. I sat down next to one of the boys and began to read, when he said to his friends, “Hey look, I have a little bitch.” How can a 12-year old boy talk like this??? Is this an instance of a little boy trying to impress his friends, or the beginning of a life-long pattern of disregard for women and callous language?
Location: Green Line Near L’Enfant Plaza
Time of harassment: Morning Rush Hour (5A-9:30A)
Submitted by Anonymous 
Do you have a personal experience with gender-based public sexual harassment or assault you would like to submit? Just click here and fill out the online submission form. All submissions are posted anonymously unless you specify.