DC could learn something from Madrid

Some good new to share for a change:

I’ve lived in DC for the past 4 years, and have posted here many times about what horrifying, vulgar and threatening street harassment I’ve encountered in our nation’s capitol. At the end of August I posted about my experience being attacked and sexually violated by a man in Columbia Heights.

The experience, especially after 4 years of extreme harassment, left me feeling exhausted and terribly vulnerable. I had just been accepted into a program where I’d be teaching English in Madrid, Spain for 3 months, and I felt terrified at the idea of going to a foreign country as a female alone after everything I’d experienced in DC.

Well, I’ve been here in Madrid for exactly one month now, and I’m happy to report that I haven’t had ONE SINGLE PROBLEM since arriving in Spain. I walk all over town every single day, and I’ve yet to hear a harassing word or sound uttered at me, nor have I received a single leering look! If the men here are admiring me, they are being utterly respectful and classy about it. I feel remarkably safe, and have even had a few men that I’ve met through meetup groups offer to walk me to the metro if it’s late at the end of the night, just to ensure that I am safe.

I can’t express how relieved I feel. The idea of returning to the exhausting world of DC street harassment upon my completion of this program is off-putting indeed.

I just thought it deserved noting that in Madrid, Spain, then men are actually NOT behaving like depraved animals toward lone women on the streets. DC could learn a little something from this city, and from this culture.

– B.

Location: Madrid, Spain

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.


7 Responses to DC could learn something from Madrid

  1. Golden Silence says:

    Excellent, B.! Glad you’re having a wonderful and harassment-free time there!

  2. Clarice says:

    Aww that sounds great! Im pleased for you. I hope you enjoy the rest of your time out there and please keep us informed!

  3. Elaine says:

    I’m not surprised. Americans like to put it about that it’s European men who are the real uncontrolled, threatening lechers and harassers, but I my own experience is that, by and large, the men in most European countries are, on the whole, far more respectful to women on the street and in public areas than many of their American male counterparts.

  4. B. says:

    Thanks, ladies. : )

    Golden: It’s such a relief, I can’t even explain how good it feels………..

  5. […] https://streetharassment.wordpress.com/2010/10/27/dc-could-learn-something-from-madrid/ This entry was posted in Uncategorized and tagged street harassment. Bookmark the permalink. ← “I Didn’t Disrespect You” […]

  6. J says:

    What befuddles me is that this website attributes this to male-to-female only encounters. While those are the majority, I can tell you in DC, I have heard women catcalling at men, men catcalling at men and women catcalling at women.

    Sorry to hear about your experience in Columbia Heights. As a man, I was mugged near there about five years ago. I wouldn’t walk there alone as a man and I would definitely not recommend a woman walking there alone.

  7. B. says:

    Hi J.,

    Just so you know, this website tries to illuminate ALL incidences of street harassment: Whether it’s male-to-female, women-to-men, men-to-men, or any other variety. Occasionally someone will write in with a non male-to-female story, and the website posts it just as fiercely as it posts any other story.

    This site doesn’t attribute street harassment to man-to-woman harassment, it simply publishes the incidences which are reported, the majority of which, yes, tend to be of that variety.

    Street harassment is recognized as a behavior, not a gender-specific behavior. If you experience any variety of it, Stop Street Harassment would want to know about it, and would advocate on your (or anyone’s) behalf.

    That’s one of the things I appreciate most about this site, actually!

    Best of luck to you. I hope your 2011 is incident free!

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