“I’m a grown man & you can’t tell me what to do!

Photo taken by contributor

I’m out on my lunch break from work, and I wait to cross a light. As I continue on my way, I pass a guy who is heading in the opposite direction. At first I thought he was going to ignore me but instead he mutters a “Girl!” and he starts staring at me as if I’m a piece of meat. Gross.

“Don’t talk to me like that,” I say.

“I don’t mean anything by it,” he says, but his actions belie his words. He was staring at my chest while he was talking! I was wearing a light scarf around my neck which was covering my chest area…what did he think he was going to see?! There was going to be no boob peep show for him!

“Stop looking me up and down and look me in the eyes,” I say.

I have too much experience dealing with harassers and knew how this was going to go. (Regardless, I can’t and won’t change how I deal with harassers.) He then cops an attitude and gets offensive.

“Forget you! Go on and keep walking to where you were going! I’m a grown man and you can’t tell me what to do!” he yells.

“Well this is MY BODY and I have every right to react when someone looks at me inappropriately,” I snap back.

He continues on his way yelling junk, and I yell “That’s why I can’t stand harassers. You go around harassing women but have the nerve to get defensive when called out on your mess. Ignorant!”

I didn’t react fast enough and only caught the back of him (he’s in the navy blue shirt in this photo), but I was fuming.

People wonder why I walk around “looking mean” and having an attitude. When incidents like this happen day in and day out, you’d have an attitude too.

I’m sick of men, specifically Black men – men the same race as I am, constantly degrading me like this. What makes me invisible to harassers of other races but a constant target of men of my own race? I’m not asking to be harassed by men of other races (lord no!), but I’m tired of frequently being targeted by “my own” while they’ll call me “sista.” Don’t call me your sista unless you can respect me like one. I am not an object only good for men’s viewing pleasure. There’s more to me than that.

– Anonymous

Location: M St & Potomac St, DC

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.

4 Responses to “I’m a grown man & you can’t tell me what to do!

  1. BearBear says:

    hmm…..That’s looks like a Trader Joe’s Uniform, if I’m not mistaken….. It’s a grocery store…..maybe he works at one close to that area? …

  2. elaine says:

    Whatever else he may be, he certainly is *not* a ‘grown man’. Actually, he’s not a *man* at all, grown or otherwise.

  3. Lisa says:

    I think it’s so cool that you confront harassers like that. I’ve been trying to come up with an effective way to confront the people that harass me on the street, but in the moment it’s so easy to just kind of freak out and walk away as fast as I can.

    I’m going to remember this the next time some guy bothers me.

    And I agree with BearBear, I live close to a Trader Joe’s and that definitely looks like one of their uniforms.

  4. Golden Silence says:

    There is a Trader Joe’s about 15 minutes from where this took place, so maybe he was on his way to work. I too wonder if he works there.

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