“My personal experience”

It’s a shame that a woman should be made to feel that she is less than if she does not respond to being harassed. I’ve never understood it. I used to live in the metro part of my town. I lived there for approximately 5 years. I had a very rough time [with street harassment] whenever I needed to hail a cab or catch a bus to my full time job as a librarian…and sometimes I had to walk, and that was way worse for me.

I was raising my son and going through a very painful divorce. I had to go to the courthouse on Fridays to drop my son off at the *Visitation Exchange* center. It was rough at times, really, really rough. One Friday I had dropped my son off, and ended up having to walk home. My house was 6 blocks away. I start walking outside of the courthouse where there was an entire group of Black men.

“HEY SWEETHEART! HEY! SMILE! WHY DON”T YOU SMILE? YOU GOT AN ATTITUDE?” one of them was calling out really loud and jumping in front of me completely blocking my path.

No I didn’t have an attitude, but I was nervous and had a rough day…I just wanted to be left alone, that’s all…

“Could you please move, you are blocking my way,” I said.

“Anyone ever tell you just how ugly you are? You are one ugly b*tch! hahaha,” he laughed and all the others laughed too.

I wanted to get home. I felt uncomfortable and shaky. I hated being sized up and inspected. It’s an awful feeling…especially when you already have so much on your mind and you have to deal with this kind of mistreatment.

“You aren’t all that anyway you ugly a** b*tch! You think you something? Well you not sh*t!” another one of them yelled.

This kind of thing happened so often. So many incidents of it. It seemed like it happened more in the Summertime or Spring, but it happened all the time. The young guys would do it, and it was awful because the curse words would fly from their mouths if they felt rejected.

It was ten times worse from men who were a bit older. They would say things that were so cruel and mean, as if trying to break your spirit, wound or scar you internally.

It’s sad that this goes on and experiencing it is unbelievably tough. My father was not this way and neither were my uncles, cousins, younger brothers… None of the Black men I grew up around treated women this way. So it was a shock to me whenever it happened.

Did it make me think all Black men are bad? No. I know that some Black men treat women this way and some don’t.

Years after my divorce I ended up remarrying, and my son and I moved with my husband to another part of town. My husband became my ultimate protector…

I’ve learned that men will treat a woman differently when she is not out alone somewhere. If you are with a male, they will think twice about saying some of the things they would say to a defenseless female out walking alone.
It’s true…

So I hadn’t gone through it much since then because most men would see me out with my husband and it wouldn’t happen at all whatsoever. Until one day my husband went into a store to get some bottles of wine for his parents’ big anniversary party. I sat in the van for a while, then decided to go in and help him pick out the wine.

As I got out of the van and locked it, a group of around four Black men yelled in a very loud annoying singing sorta voice, “Hot P*ssy! I want that hot p*ssy! Come on hot p*ssy!” and “I’m talking to you! Hey! Hey come here!”

It was degrading and awful. I tried to unlock the van door and my hand was shaking while they kept yelling “HEY! HEY! YOU HEAR ME TALKING TO YOU!”

I finally just said forget it and ran into the store while the two men yelled, “Fine then you stupid b*tch! Guess you think you’re all that B*tch, you aren’t all that anyway you ho, you slut.”

I went into the store and the manager asked me if everything was okay. I told him that some men in the parking lot were yelling some things at me. He looked really upset and ran outside of the store. The men started walking off quickly by then, he saw the backs of them as they faded off into the distance past the gas station.

The manager said that he didn’t want this sort of thing going on because it was harassment of his customers and was bad for business. He also said that he had complaints from female customers before in that parking lot and had to call the police one time because the incident had erupted into a physical situation between the female customer and a group of males.

It’s scary. I had forgotten what it felt like being harassed. After being around my husband for so long and not really going alone anymore…I guess that awful sick-to-my-stomach feeling came back to me in the parking lot.
Black men shouldn’t do this to Black women. And more importantly, no man should do this to any woman. It’s not right.

– L.J.

Share your street harassment story today and help raise awareness about the problem. Include your location and it will be added to the Street Harassment Map.

3 Responses to “My personal experience”

  1. Golden Silence says:

    Wow, L.J., I am so sorry that you had to go through all that. And I can sadly relate. It seems that as long as you are a Black woman, the harassment from these types of Black men will never cease. It is so funny how they’ll go from thinking you’re the most pretty thing in the world to cursing you out, calling you ugly and threatening physical violence simply for rejecting them. This stuff makes me sick to my stomach. Do they really have that low of a self-esteem to degrade strangers like that? It really disheartens me.

    Black men shouldn’t do this to Black women. And more importantly, no man should do this to any woman. It’s not right.

    Exactly! Sending Internet hugs your way.

  2. It’s ironic, isn’t it, that we have to have a man to protect us from men. I hate that. But my husband has never seen me harassed, because he’s there. I am so sorry you had to have this happen. It would scare me too. It does scare me. I live in NYC and I’m 51 and it still happens a lot! But only when I’m alone. Thanks for sharing your story.

  3. **BrownEyedBeauty** says:

    Yes, Golden Silence, that is so true!

    I’m biracial (Black/White) and I can relate. I wanted to cry when I read that. It is terrifying. I’ve had both Black and Hispanic men verbally abuse me, and I was raped by a Black man at 12. It is difficult being a woman of color, but when minority men are the ones being violent and abusive to us, that compounds the problem. This is one of the reasons I’ve become overweight and physically inactive. I’m too afraid to ride my bike or take walks because of experiences like the ones shared by L.J.

    Beckie…I agree. My husband is 6’4″, a tall White man who looks tough but is very sweet and gentle. I’ve noticed that no one bothers me when he is by my side.

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