Thank you for showing respect

I have many street harassment stories….it happens to me almost every single day. But I really want to share a positive experience I had yesterday!

I was on the sidewalk about 10 last night, walking home from the metro station. I noticed a man crossing the street and walking in my general direction. He caught up to me as I turned the corner, but he made a point to walk in the middle of the street rather than staying close to me on the sidewalk. After about a block, he arrived at his car and nodded to me as I passed.

I kept walking, realizing that this man (a) recognized that a woman walking alone at night might reasonably feel unsafe if an unknown man were to walk too close, and (b) adjusted his path out of respect for my comfort.

A minute later, he drove by, and pausing across the street from me, he said through the open window, “Ma’am, I just wanna make sure you’re OK.”

Floored, I responded that I was fine and almost home. I told him that as a woman walking alone at night, I had noticed and appreciated his effort to give me ample space. Then, he said he’d stay where he was and watch to make sure I got home OK, if I didn’t mind. As I approached my building, I turned and nodded my thanks. He responded with a polite beep of his horn and drove off.

Sir, I know you’ll probably never see this, but just in case you do, thank you. Thank you for being aware of how your presence might affect a woman walking alone on a dark city street. Thank you for making me feel safe by keeping an obvious and comfortable physical distance. And thank you for going above and beyond to ensure that no other stranger on the street would have an opportunity to steal my sense of safety, for at least that one night.

Most days, I hear things like “Hey baby,” “What’s a sexy little thing like you doing out here all by yourself?” and “you better stop bending over before somebody gets excited.” I can’t describe how refreshing it was to be treated with such consideration and respect by a stranger.

– Noel

Location: Congress Heights neighborhood, Washington, 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 Thank you for showing respect

  1. Joslyn says:

    You let a stranger watch you enter your house? That seems risky. Either he was being very considerate or he is a very keen pervert.

  2. Jen says:

    I really hope that this guy was being considerate but, like Joslyn, I personally would feel a bit uncomfortable about someone ‘escorting’ me to my door, even if they were being seemingly considerate… Maybe I’m getting too cynical though – I was horribly rude to a male tourist in London yesterday because I simply saw him trying to get my attention and sped past. He only wanted directions I think, but I’ve become so used to being bothered in central London that I chose to ignore him 😦

  3. […] June 15, 2010 · Leave a Comment Cross Posted from Stop Street Harassment Blog […]

  4. Noel says:

    @ Joslyn and Jen, in most situations, I go out of my way not to let men on the street see where I live. Just a couple weeks ago, a car went by me three times and then paused a half-block ahead of me, so I detoured as if I lived in another direction.

    However, during the incident I describe in my post, my gut reaction was completely different from the times when I have been “complimented,” ogled, followed, etc. Even when he drove by, he stayed a significant distance from me and stayed right where he was until I got to my door.

    Is that a guarantee he’s not a psycho slimeball? Nope. But the truth is, most sexual assault is perpetrated by a friend, lover, or family member, so you never can really know that someone’s motives are purely considerate.

    I believe most people in the world, although flawed, are basically good, humane individuals. I think he’s one of them. And in this case, I chose to trust my gut.

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