I was in Arlington and walking to the train station. When walking on Quincy Street, I walked past a guy who was loading groceries into his car, which didn’t seem out of the ordinary, until he started calling at me.
“‘Scuse me, sweetheart,” he says. I know he’s trying to hit on me, and I don’t want to talk to a man I don’t know. I continue walking, he continues calling at me.
“Excuse me, lovely…excuse me, sweetheart…hello?…hello?…hello?” I continued to ignore him and walk. Though it was daylight out still, the street felt isolated to me, and I just didn’t want to respond to him. He gave me a funny vibe.
He then starts calling me names.
“Yo, Bumpyface!” he says. “Bumpyface. You got acne. You’re a bumpyface. You’re ugly.”
I know I don’t have the best skin in the world, and I am very touchy about it. His comments were so cruel. I don’t get how I was so “lovely” that he wanted to talk to me one minute, to being an “ugly bumpyface.” I pulled out my phone to snap his photo to submit to your site. At the time, he (and his friend who was in the vehicle) were laughing and thought it was funny.
“That’s why I didn’t respond to you in the first place,” I snapped. “Men like you have no respect for women. I don’t know you, and don’t want to talk to strange men.”
I spoke in a calm manner, I didn’t curse, so I don’t know why the hell he went from 0 to 60.
He got in my face, started thumping his chest, and approached me as if I were someone his own size.
“What you say to me? What you say? Huh, huh? Say it again, bitch, say it again! Fuck you bitch! Take my picture, bitch! That’s right, bitch!”
I started walking away, and he followed me.
“Fuck you, bitch! I HATE BLACK WOMEN!” he ranted. “I’m tired of black women! Black women ain’t shit! Black women are ugly! I don’t give a damn about BLACK WOMEN! Stupid bitch!”
Once again, if you hate black women so much, why talk to me?
He got really close to me and acted like he was going to punch me. He kept swinging fake punches close to me, and though he didn’t actually hit me I became fearful for my life. I started backing up into the street, even though cars were coming. I then started running, and he ran after me. I tried calling the cops on my phone, but I was nervous and couldn’t think straight because this guy was right in my space. Luckily some kind of action came into me. I saw someone getting into his car and yelled “CALL THE POLICE!” at the top of my lungs. He ignored me, got into his car and drove off.
The harasser finally got tired of chasing after me and terrifying me and ran back to his car, laughing. Unfortunately I couldn’t get a clear shot of his license plates. I just know they were Virginia plates (from their font style), and the first part was J_C (I don’t know the middle letter, and can’t remember the four numbers).
I finally managed to call the police, and ten minutes later (after this guy and his friend were long gone) an officer came. I showed him the photo I took of the guy, but his reaction was pretty nonchalant.
“You don’t know this guy, right?” he asked.
“No, I’ve never met him before,” I said.
“And you said you don’t live in the area, so you probably won’t see him again,” he said.
“But it’s scary that he just started cursing and swinging punches at me,” I said.
“This is actually a pretty safe neighborhood, ma’am,” the officer said. “And there’s not much we can do since you didn’t get his license plate. You probably won’t see him again since you’re not from here, but in the rare chance you do see him again give us a call.”
That was the least reassuring conversation I’ve had with an officer. I didn’t know how to react. I felt numb. I spent the rest of my walk in a numb zone. I stared at my feet and became non-responsive. People walking by brushed past me on the street and knocked into me, but I didn’t react. I felt as if I had no control over my own body and actions anymore and that’s the worst feeling in the world.
Walking home from Metro was hell. It had become pitch black and men were still trying to talk to me on the street. I once again didn’t respond, and thankfully they didn’t respond in crazed anger.
I know there’s a movement of men like this guy on the Internet who have blogs and YouTube channels devoted towards this racial misogyny, but to have it right in my face is something else. These men think they own black women, and when rejected by a woman of their own race they take it to the extreme. After the Asia McGowan/Anthony Powell murder/suicide in Detroit a few months back (another man who wanted black women while hating them at the same time, and made hateful videos about it on his YouTube channel), today’s incident reminded me that I am not safe and that my best interests aren’t important. It sickens me that someone will hate the whole gender of their own race simply because of the rejection of one individual. If this guy wanted me to start hating all black men to justify his sick actions, well he didn’t win. I can’t hate all black men because of the actions of one sick encounter on the street. His behavior reflects on him, not on all black men.
I can’t talk to my family and friends about this because they think I take a lot of risks when I’m out alone. They’d tell me I shouldn’t have taken his photo, they’d tell me I should’ve just responded to him when he tried to initiate a conversation with me, and they’d tell me I should’ve kept walking when he started to insult me. It’s not fair that I have to do everything as to not upset a harasser, but harassers can do and say what they please. Even if I did respond to his initial catcalls at me, and even if I just walked away and not done anything, there’s no guarantee that he wouldn’t have still gone mad.
After today, I have no choice but to be a docile, submissive woman. I don’t know what else to do. And after knowing the police don’t have my back, I have to do everything in my power to protect myself.