Street Harassed on the Way Home in Columbia Heights

Location: 14th & Irving St NW (Columbia Heights)
Time: Night (7:30pm-12am)

Sometimes I get asked why I seem to “hate men.” Let me clarify: I do not hate men as a gender, only the ones who cannot seem to grasp the fact that just because I have a pair of boobs does not mean I want to be touched or chatted up. Let’s take tonight for example. I got followed by a random guy for several blocks while he proceeded to call me a sexist bitch, among other names, because I declined to participate in his banter. It wasn’t until I stopped at a bus stop and started to call the police that this guy walked away, but only after threatening me and continuing to scream obscenities at me. The woman who came to my rescue mentioned that the same thing had happened to her just a few minutes prior, although it was a different man who had followed her.

And for those who will think to themselves, “Maybe it was the way she was dressed that provoked this guy,” let me inform you that I was wearing a pair of jeans and a blouse. The other woman, jeans and a long-sleeved shirt. It shouldn’t matter what I am wearing or what I look like; I deserve the right to walk the 1/2 mile to my apartment without arriving to my door shaking so badly that I can barely get my key in the door.

To all those who are parents, I am pleading with you to talk to your sons about this issue. It is not enough to warn your daughters about the danger of strange men at night, because that will never prevent men in the future from harassing them. If we change our mindset, then maybe we can change our culture that currently blames the victim instead of the harasser.

street harassed in DC
“I got followed by a random guy for several blocks while he proceeded to call me a sexist bitch, among other names.”

Emphases by CASS.
Submitted 8/19/13 by “Jenny Brown.”


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 & Street Harassed Repeatedly While Out Around U Street: “I was NOT asking for it!”

How I Dress Does Not Mean 'YES': "I was NOT asking for it!"
How I dress does not mean ‘YES’: “I was NOT asking for it!”

Location: 14th & U, 16th & U, and 18th Street NW
Time: 
Late Night (12am-5am)

I was harassed multiple times tonight – once in a bar and twice on the street. Men repeatedly violated my space by touching me on my bare back (area not covered by my shirt), my butt and my chest. At the bar a group of men also threw crumpled up pieces of paper down my shirt.

The first encounter on the street, there was a very wide sidewalk, but the man about to pass me going the opposite direction came close enough to grab my butt while passing. When I verbally confronted him, he responds with a comment on my physical appearance. As if that made his behavior not only appropriate but warranted.

Walking another two blocks, a man standing on the sidewalk reached out and grabbed my chest as I was walking by him. Despite the extensive police presence on 18th Street, I felt extremely exposed and vulnerable given my prior experiences this evening.

I don’t believe I need to justify myself by describing what I was wearing or why I was walking in that area at that time. Neither of these factors indicate a woman is “asking for it.” But to dispel any misconceptions about when street harassment occurs, I was wearing a basic long sleeve black shirt that came up high in the front and draped in the back (exposed part of my back) with a casual white skirt, about mid-thigh length.

Emphases by CASS.
Submitted 7/14/13 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: 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).

Violated on the Metro: “I blamed myself for wearing snug pants. When, I got home I threw my entire outfit in the trash.”

Location: Metro – Yellow Line Train to Huntington
Time: Evening Rush Hour (3:30pm-7:30pm)

As I type this, I am searching for words to describe what happened today on my commute home, but I’m going to do my best.

I was taking the Metro home like I normally do, and when I go off at the Chinatown stop to switch to the Huntington train, while I was listening to my podcast and waiting for the next train I felt a man behind me and what I thought was the corner of his bag on my behind. As I got on the crowded train, I noticed he was behind me again, the corner of his bag bumping me. I felt uncomfortable so I scooted up a little but I noticed he scooted up too.

By the next stop, a seat became available and I quickly sat down. He sat down next to me. I didn’t think anything of it until I glanced to my left and there he was pleasuring himself right in front of me. I was speechless. I didn’t know what to do. I looked at him through sunglass covered eyes and he stated right back never once stopping what he was doing. This shit was NOT ok.

I repeated in a quiet voice which got louder, “This man is exposing himself to me!” A woman standing near our seats heard me and frantically began to ask other passengers for the metro police number. The man kept on stroking while they searched for numbers and I sat there with tears of embarrassment and anger rolled down my face.

As we approached the Pentagon I called the metro police but I was unable to get a signal so the operator did not hear me. The man pushed past people in the crowded car and make an exit, I stumbled off the train nearly missing my stop and I stood on the platform crying. I have never felt so powerless in my life. I was violated and there was nothing I could do. The man was gone. Disappearing into a sea of people.

On my ride home I tried to shake it off, but I couldn’t. I blamed myself for wearing snug pants. Maybe I should had a longer coat on. Why was I the target? What made this ok to happen to me? Will I ever ride the Metro again? I’m just full of anger and sadness. When I got home I threw my entire outfit in the trash, and took a long shower which I spent the majority of the time crying hysterically.

I won’t let this ruin my weekend, but I can’t pretend I’m not hurting tremendously. For any of my readers in the DMV the number to call for Metro police is 202-962-2121. Save this number in your phone, as the poster with it is not in every car. With that being said, a glass of wine and mindless television is in order….and definitely some therapy on Monday.

Emphases by CASS.
Submitted 4/8/13 by “Jennifer”

In April, the Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority launched new ads on sexual harassment & assault on public transit, including this ad on public exposure.

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.

Mansplaining & victim blaming after lunch

Location: 26th & Pennsylvania NW
Time: Daytime (9:30am-3:30pm)

Two female colleagues and I went for a lunchtime run today. It was a chilly, but beautiful day. On our return to the office, while we were waiting for a light at the crosswalk, a guy walked by and in a nice tone starts commenting “it’s great to see women running in packs. Y’all gotta stick together…can’t be running alone or else bad stuff happens….” I quickly quipped back that “it’s not our fault that things happen to us and we have every right to run alone.”

My colleagues were a little shocked and surprised that I responded that way, I don’t think they even realized what he was saying, but it immediately struck a nerve with me. Even though the comment wasn’t directly harassing us, I think it is very telling how this man’s mind works. It’s the woman’s fault if she runs alone and something happens to her. Absolutely FALSE.

Emphases by CASS.
Submitted on 3/22/13 by “Carolyn Z”

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.

“I yelled at him and told him to stop but he ignored me.”

posted in: Metro Center | 0

Location: Franklin Square, NW DC
Time: Daytime (9:30am-3:30pm)

I was eating lunch on the grass in the park when I noticed a homeless man was masturbating while looking at a group of girls a few feet away. I yelled at him and told him to stop but he ignored me. Then I looked right into the eyes of another man who was eating lunch nearby and told him what was happening. I guess I expected him to be disgusted and say something to the guy too, but all I got was a blank stare. He completely ignored me and went back to eating his lunch. I ended up feeling like *I* was the crazy one for trying to do something about it.

Submitted on 11/2/12 by “APL”

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.

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