Friday, September 28, 2007

Street Harassment

Nearly every D.C. blog I read has had posts about the harassment women receive on the streets of the city. And Layne sees it too in New York. I don't know if it's this bad all over the city, or if Columbia Heights is home to a special breed of men whose goal is to make all the women uncomfortable walking around alone.

Example: Today I walked from my house to the post office on Georgia Ave. It's a 10 minute walk, I'm wearing jeans and a button down shirt, and was carrying books and a laptop. I received five comments on the way there. On the way back I put on my ipod so I wouldn't have to hear them.

Every single time I walk anywhere in D.C., unless I am walking with a guy, I get at least one comment. Some of them aren't so terrible, such as the guy who took off his hat, bowed, told me I was amazingly beautiful and he hoped that I would have a nice afternoon. Contrast this to the fifty-something man who leaned in as I walked by and whispered "you smell so good." Then there are the men who slow down in their cars and ogle as they walk past. Or, (and I wish I were making this up), the ambulance driver with the blaring lights who stopped on my street to stare at me.

No one should have to feel uncomfortable walking around alone, nor should anyone have to wear an extra layer of clothing to walk to work in an effort to stave off unwanted comments.
I have no idea what these men are trying to accomplish. *Obviously* I am not going to talk to anyone who yells things at me from the street, and I don't think too many women I know would either. It's just one more way in which women are still oppressed — I shouldn't have to walk around with a guy in order to feel comfortable on the streets.


gansie said...

i feel your pain. i too live in your area and am constantly a target for men's wondering eyes and uncontrollable lips. how should we stop this?!?!

edouble said...

I too feel your pain. I live in Col. Hts./Mt. Pleasant and it's the same thing. Though I've started to realize that it happens in other areas of the city, i.e., K Street area, just to a lesser extent. The verbal, and a couple of times physical, harassment I experience here is ruining my ability to feel comfortable and at home in my neighborhood (I've been here 4yrs). To the extent that it makes me really tired of living in DC. Other cities have it too, but I think it's worse here, and I don't know why...