My 7th Grade D.C. Trip

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i don’t live in washington d.c., i never have. i was born and raised in toledo, ohio and have lived in los angeles for the past 5 years, i am now about to turn 40 years old. but, the first time i can recall being sexually harassed by an adult male happened to me in d.c. i’ve been to hollaback dc many times and every time i’ve felt the urge to tell this story, but never have. part of me feels silly that i’m so scarred by something that happened to me 28 years ago, but part of me knows i wouldn’t feel so upset by it so many years later if it wasn’t a very serious matter.

Photo by ehpien via Flickr
Photo by ehpien via Flickr

the public school i attended in toledo, ohio offered a class trip for 7th graders to washington, d.c. i grew up in a poor neighborhood, was a poor kid. and this trip to the nation’s capitol was a huge deal, was something a poor family had to start preparing for a few years in advance. neither of my 2 older sisters showed interest in it, but from the 1st time i’d heard of it, when my oldest sister had a chance to go, i desperately wanted to see washington d.c., particularly the smithsonian institute.

we spent a week in washington d.c., a week that for me included seeing my first aggressive panhandlers and being pickpocketed (at the age of 12!) of almost all my spending money. but, the worst experience by far was what happened to me on the subway (or whatever you call your trains there).

our school group took one trip on the subway while in d.c. it was super crowded, i remember that. we had to stand once we were herded onto the train. i was a shy kid by nature and was already feeling overwhelmed by discomfort. i remember feeling claustrophobic standing shoulder to shoulder with mostly adults as the train started moving. then i noticed this grown up man staring at me. he was holding onto the same pole that i was, but not directly next to me, he was one person away. he just kept staring at me. i was embarrassed and kept looking at the floor, then looking back up to see that he was still staring. but at one point i looked up and he’d moved next to me, and then behind me.

Photo by AlbinoFlea via Flickr
Photo by AlbinoFlea via Flickr

and all these years later it’s still difficult for me to write about this. and i now realize it’s still impossible for me to type the words describing exactly what he did to me once he was standing behind me. i still feel guilty that i didn’t say something to the chaperons who were there with the kids, i still feel partially to blame for this guy being able to get away with being a pervert. Read More

Camera Perp

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<img class="size-full wp-image-43 aligncenter" title="Cameras" src="" alt="creative commons use from

Last summer, my friend and I were sitting in the park behind the Smithsonian museum (the one that looks like a castle). We were chatting, and she was feeding her 1 year old son who was in his stroller in front of us — we were on a bench. car rent . It was a hot day, so we were on one of the only benches that was in the shade and noticed a man come and sit down across from us in the blaring sun on a bench across from us, about 6 feet away. I thought it was strange because it was just so hot in the sun, I wondered why anyone would be sitting there. He looked as though he could have been a tourist with a nice camera and a sun hat. Then I noticed that he had a camera out on the bench in between his legs and was somewhat discretely taking pictures up our skirts. My friend and I quickly told him that he was disgusting, and moved the stroller between the man and us. He got up and left. But we were both really offended.

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