Street Harassed in Silver Spring: “I Still Felt Sick Hours Later.”

street harassment in DC, collective action for safe spaces

Location: Georgia Ave and Wayne Ave (Silver Spring, MD)
Time: Evening Rush Hour (3:30pm-7:30pm)

I was walking to an appointment and passing by two men sitting on a bench. I nodded to them and made eye contact like I usually do. As I walked past, one of them said, “Hey, how you doing, sexy?” I didn’t respond as I was startled – I hardly ever get street harassed (I think because I’m so tall) so I wasn’t mentally prepared. The man continued speaking louder and louder – I don’t know exactly what he said next, but it was something about their balls and being out all day in the hot sun. I continued walking and decided not to respond. He ended by yelling down the street, “Bitch, I could make you happy!”

I was still shook up over an hour later when I came out from my appointment, but luckily they were gone. Having those things said to you – especially when you’re alone on the street and it’s two against one – is like having poison poured into you. I still felt sick hours later. And no — no one who calls me “bitch” will ever make me happy.

Submitted 8/15/14 by Anonymous.

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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).

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).

“I Fought Back Against Street Harassment!”: A bystander intervention success!

Location: Silver Spring, MD
Time: Evening Rush Hour (3:30pm-7:30pm)

I wrote a few months back about a case of exposure I was unfortunate enough to witness back in November on the Red Line. Since then, I’ve followed the CASS Facebook Page and I read as many of the stories I can – they infuriate me. Street harassment had never really occurred to me as something that anyone did anything about, or really cared about. It happened, you lowered your head and walked a little faster, and that was that.

Since I became a reader, I faced continued street harassment (who doesn’t?),  but three days ago I finally fought back. I was standing behind a young girl, maybe 16, who was getting off her shift at the grocery store. We were waiting for the walk sign to come on so we could cross the road. Traffic was jammed during rush hour, so a rusty, nasty old pick-up truck was stopped just in front of us, waiting for the light ahead to turn red. And they started in on her. “Smile baby, it won’t kill you to smile.” And she just looked down, tried to pretend she didn’t notice. And I started shouting. “Get the hell out of here! She doesn’t want to talk to you nasty old perverts!” The men shouted back, saying they weren’t talking to me and asking if I were jealous. “Why would I be jealous about a bunch of dirty old men? Get out of here! Drive on before you get rear-ended like you deserve, and leave her alone!” Eventually, the light changed and they moved on. The girl seemed shy but she thanked me, and I told her that I couldn’t stand rude people.

I’m almost excited for my next bout of street harassment, because on the way home that day I thought up a new line that I really want to use on the next guy who tries it: “Do you kiss your mother with that disrespectful mouth, or did she already die of shame for having you for a son?” It’s a mouthful though, I don’t know if I’ll be able to say it when the time comes. But thanks to this site and these stories, I’m ready to try!

Emphases by CASS.
Submitted 4/4/13 by “Meghan”


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.

“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.

Even at Night?!

posted in: Uncategorized | 0

I was exhausted last night. After leaving a late meeting, I was deciding which public transportation system to use: bus or metro. The Metro, although faster, meant more blocks to walk on a fairly abandoned part of town. The bus meant shorter blocks, more people waiting, but cramped space. My decision was made for me when I saw the bus.

I jumped on the S4 to Silver Spring. Due to this blog and other incidents, I now sit on the outside seat as I can grab more space if needed, as well as an “escape route” (i.e., I can get up if someone is annoying/smelly/taking up too much room). My bus ride was uneventful although it featured several teens yelling at each other, which I have concluded is the way teens talk. One of the boys decided to stick his finger up his, what I presumed to be, girlfriend’s nose and hold it there for at least 45 seconds. This brought a rift of laughter and screams of pain from the girl.

Needless to say, with my grumpiness and high heels, I was happy to get off the bus. I started walking to the corner of the street. From the other side of the street, someone was honking their horn. Of course curious, I look. To my dismay, this truck was honking at me. While I didn’t show any interest, the noise changed to yelling, “Senorita! Senorita!” followed by kissing sounds. Usually, if I respond, I respond using non-communicative signs (my middle finger). I just didn’t even want to engage at 9P. They kept yelling at me as I was walking up my street. I mean, even at night the honking and the yelling doesn’t end, does it?! Sigh.

Location: Eastern Avenue and 16th Streets

Submitted by CS

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