How A Night Out in DC Means A Night Full of Street Harassment

How A Night Out in DC Means A Night Full of Street Harassment

How A Night Out in DC Means A Night Full of Street Harassment

Just how many times do you have to say “no?”

By Lindsey

A few months ago, my friend Janine and I went out in Dupont.  I had a great time eating, drinking and dancing, but there were definitely certain things I could’ve done without.

When I got on the metro a guy got up and moved halfway up the car to sit right behind me. Cute? No. Threatening? Yes. And then a guy on the red line asked me if I wanted to get a drink with him. What? I stood three feet away from you for two stops – and you want to get drinks? You don’t even know my name.

And to the guys who asked what we thought of their muscles and then told us if we got in their cab they would show us how they use them. NO. Dude, I’m just trying to get a beer and some food.

After dinner we headed to the bar and grabbed drinks. We were talking on the rooftop at Public. It was nice. Until two guys came up and started to dance close to us. To avoid them we shifted to the right. But then they came up behind us and asked us to dance – once, twice, three times. And each time we said no – and then finally walked away to get another drink. Standing at the bar we realized – they followed us! STOP. We made a quick escape and picked up yet another gem. He proceeded to follow us around for the rest of the night; it got old fast.

I just wish guys had more respect for me than to grab my thigh or grind on my ass.

Downstairs they cleared out the couches so we started dancing. And it was fun! Minus the guys who tried to grind on our asses. Thanks, but no thanks. And the one who thought it would be cute to try and put his hand up my skirt as he walked by. FUCK OFF. Plus the one who started yelling at me when I said I didn’t want to dance with him. Yet another gem.

Eventually it was time to go. And there were still guys who reached out and tried to grab our arms so we would dance with them. When we finally made it down to the door, the two guys who followed us to the bar magically reappeared! Thankfully, security stood by us and asked them to leave. We were worried they would be waiting outside.

We split up on our way to the metro since we were going on different lines in opposite directions. As I hurried to make the last train, I met yet another charmer. After learning I was heading to the metro he grabbed my arm and told me there was no way I could make it — so I should go home with him. OBVIOUSLY. How did I not think of that? Luckily we were right in front of the station by that point and the security guard came to investigate.

I really did have a good time that night. When we were dancing — without being accosted — it was fun. I love going out with Janine for some girl time – but it’s definitely less eventful when I go out with my guy friends. I just wish guys had more respect for me than to grab my thigh or grind on my ass. I just want to dance — ALONE.

Lindsey is a young sales professional living in Arlington, Virginia. This essay was originally published on her blog.

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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.”

Public Masturbator on the GWU Campus: “I think about it & spontaneously start crying.”

Location: George Washington University campus; 22nd and H St NW
Time: Daytime (9:30am-3:30pm)

I was sitting on a bench outside, catching up with my friend on the phone. The bench faced a row of classrooms. One of the classrooms was dark, with most of the blinds drawn except for one. At first, I didn’t know what I was looking at, since it was dark and the windows were a bit tinted. Soon, though, there was no mistaking what I was seeing: A man, staring right at me, masturbating in front of the window. I could see it all. Everything.

I hung up the phone, ran inside to the door to the classroom where he was, and just kinda… stood there. Shortly thereafter, the man came out of the classroom. He just looked at me for a few seconds, made eye contact with me — and I just froze. I had no idea what to do. In hindsight, I wish I yelled, called him a pervert, took a picture – something! But all I could do was freeze. He just casually walked away, down the hallway, probably out of the building. I notified the first person I saw, who took me down the hallway to report it to GWPD. They promptly started looking for a man that matched my description, but didn’t find him.

The George Washington University campus

I can’t get the image out of my head! I just start thinking about it, spontaneously start crying. I can’t have sex with my husband. It’s so messed up. I looked through the DC registry of sex offenders a few hours later, and as I was browsing the pictures, I found someone who looks just like him. After clicking through his information, it appears that he works two blocks north of where this happened – and I walked right passed his place of employment on my way in that morning. What if this is him? What if this creep followed me?

I’m not 100% confident that it was him, though, and I’m worried that I wouldn’t be able to pick him out of a lineup, or that I would finger the wrong person and mess up someone’s life. So, I declined to report this to MPD, who would have brought him in for a lineup (apparently, standard procedure for reports of incidents involving people on the SOR). I hope that wasn’t a mistake.

Emphases by CASS.
Submitted 7/30/13 by “JB.”

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): 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).