In November of 2007 I accompanied my dad on a business trip to DC because he had a companion ticket and I’d never been to DC before. On my last night there, I was at the Pentagon City Mall when this man approached me and started trying to ‘pick me up.’ He followed me throughout the mall and incessantly insisted on buying me something from Victoria’s Secret, a drink despite my protests that I was underage and accusing me of being a narc. Like a broken record! After declining a hundred times and insisting that I needed to get back to my hotel, he demanded to know where I was staying so he could get a room! I was seriously worried that he would follow me onto the metro. Only when I finally walked out of the mall did he thankfully declare me a bitch or something and give up.
I’ve been a huge fan of Hollaback, but it hadn’t even occured to me until a few days ago that my experience had been harassment. I like to think that I wouldn’t just accept that kind of treatment but when I was in that situation I was petrified. There were dozens of witnesses. A lot of people stared but no one intervened. It was so embarrassing and I felt like I was somehow responsible.
Location: Pentagon City Mall, Washington, D.C.