Sunday, December 02, 2007

Back Talkin'

Hi, I'd like to submit an incident of street harassment which happened to me and my roommate today in Seattle. Unfortunately I forgot to snap a picture with my phone, but next time I'll be ready. Here's the story:

My roommate and I visited Pike Place Market in Seattle today to pick up a couple bottles from a great wine shop nearby. After we made our purchase, we started walking back up the hill to our car. As we trudged up Virginia St. towards 1st Ave, we passed a group of five men about halfway up the block. I was immediately wary since there weren't too many other people around, but as we approached they didn't seem to pay us any mind. However, my relief was short-lived, since as soon as we got past them all five of the men stopped whatever it was they were doing and followed us up the hill whistling and shouting lewd come-ons at us. The situation deteriorated further when we got to the top of the hill and the light changed, leaving us to stand on this corner for the next minute or so while we had to wait for the traffic to subside before we could cross. The entire group of guys stood 4 feet behind us in a group, continuing to holler and whistle at us in an endless chorus of "Hey Mami!" "Sexy ladies!" "You want a Mexican tonight, hot chica?!" etc. Their volume only continued to increase as we ignored them, until it got to the point where I literally couldn't hear my friend speaking anymore, and I turned around and said "Can you PLEASE STOP TALKING TO US!" I wish I had a better ending to this story, but unfortunately they just continued to harass us until the light changed and we crossed the street. It's pretty pathetic that these guys waited until our backs were turned to say anything to us, but I guess it's only pathetic men who do this kind of thing.

I've spent the entire afternoon being livid that I can't walk around my frigging city without being subjected to this, and I wanted to share my story. I wish those assholes would have had some respect and listened to me (and I also wish that I had remembered to snap a photo of them with my phone!) but I also feel proud that I said stood up for us (since clearly no one else who witnessed this seemed to think they should). My friend thought I should have just ignored them, but I told her that being silent won't ever help to change anything. I hope anyone who reads this will remember my story and hollaback the next time something like this happens to them. Even if they don't listen to you, it feels much better to walk away knowing that you're not powerless and you don't have to take anyone's crap.