…But she offered little explanation for what seemed dangerous and threatening. And it was around that age I started having nightmares about being physically assaulted by strangers or raped.
In junior high, boys and the grown men they idolized (and who should have known better) were prone to shout just about anything at me. I think for them it was amusing, as I can only imagine what the success rate is for shouting at women and girls on the street, but when you’re 12 or a teenager (or even now, to be honest) it’s scary to have someone just announce that “you’re so fine, if you were my daughter I’d have to rape you.” The first boy to ever say this to me (we were both about 14) thought this was a “compliment.” Even though I did my best to make it clear how messed up that sounded, he insisted it was a funny joke he’d heard his uncle say to a girl and that I was way too uptight. – Danielle C. Belton on ‘Hey There Pretty Lady: How Street Harrassment Affected My Body Image and How I Overcame It’ via Madame Noire
I stumbled on this article after checking out Madame Noire website and I was shocked at what this young woman faced growing up. As a black woman, I can tell you how many times that I have dealt with street harassment from men- especially black men, who feel that grabbing, cat-calls, screaming sexual innuendos is a great way of garnering my attention.
Yesterday in D.C. was HOT. I usually walk home from work because it gives me time to talk to my bestie or my mom on the phone. It was like no other day, I wore a fitted red dress that was very work appropriate. Leaving my office, I was already catching the attention of men of different ethnicities; not taking it to mind, I proceeded to call my bestie but to no avail, she didn’t answer.
Damn….that a** is poking in that dress girl!
I hurriedly crossed the street but I was furious. Not only did this fool make his sexual intention loud enough for me to hear but also for everyone else walking the crowded streets of Chinatown . All I could feel were eyes staring at me in shock, wonder and embarrasment. Yet again, I was being defined by my physical frame …. from a Black man.
Trying not to let his random outburst steal my joy, I kept it moving. “Lady in Red” kept playing in my head and I couldn’t help but to chuckle to myself. Stealing some time away from my thoughts, I couldn’t help but smile at the sounds of little children playing on the swing set. Ahh man, I wish I could be a child again.
The joys of living in the city, especially in the summer, makes me appreciate what I do and don’t have. Seeing young couples roam the streets, admiring outfits of passerby’s and enjoying late night dates/walks with your crush makes those warm nights worth it.
Yet even with the excitement of someone new in my life, work and my roomies, I still miss my friends and family. If I were in Houston, I would be swimming lazily in the pool while chit chatting with friends on the lastest gossip or spending quality time shopping with my mom discussing everything that is happening or not happening in my life, but unfortunately, this is the path that I decided to take.
Couple more blocks and I could feel the chill of my ac blasting…but I was greeted with a group of guys. The one thing that makes me cringe and makes me uncomfortable is walking past a group of black men. I hate it with everything in me. Why? Why not? It’s like a group of ignorant vultures who feel the need to discuss you and what they want to do sexually to you as you pass by. NO RESPECT AT ALL. Why are these men so vile?!? Were they not born by a woman? Do they not have a sister that they should and want to protect?
Well, just my luck. I wanted to cross the street but I didn’t want to make it too apparent and neither did I want to go out of the way to cross the street. Thinking that the ignorance would not be blatant or even arise because they were older fell on deaf ears. Not only was I grabbed but I was even insulted by one who deemed me “bourgeois” for not speaking.
That’s wrong with you black women. You think you are too cute to speak. I don’t talk to women like you anyway, I perfer mine red. You aint sh–t!
Damn, feelings hurt much?
Speechless, I treaded on but his words stuck. I could not believe that this imbecile insulted me because I did not speak to him. Does every person that speaks, warrants a response from me? NO. I couldn’t even believe that I had even pondered if I was in the wrong. SMH.
Why do I feel like Black women are the only one’s that get treated in such manner. Maybe I’m wrong, I wouldn’t know but when I observe other races and how men treat them, it is compeletly different. Yes, are there guys out there who are jerks and like to big themselves up around their friends regardless of race? Of course, but they are the minority. With every black guy who has approached me respectfully, there is 10 more who have not.
I’m starting to think that black men don’t like black women or if they do, they just don’t respect them. Now, for the women who answer to them and give them the time of day, please check yourself! It is beyond disappointing and frustrating when on a constant basis, these men think it is “acceptable forms” of showing interest.
If I hear one more honked horn, whistle, cat (or whatever animal they choose for that day) call, absurd and lewd comment, I am going to walk over and kick him/them in the/ir balls. LOL.
No, I am not a piece of meat. No, I am not a sperm receptacle. No, I am not to be admired solely on my physical appearance; I am more than that. My worth is not wrapped up in my derriere or any other physical feature. I will no longer sit back and be insulted by my own race while others just stare and watch in awe.
Why the Black race gets upset when other people stereotype and lable them ignorant, fools, etc does not surprise me. When I tell people that I’m Nigerian there is a huge difference on how I’m treated and I believe it’s becase I have my own culture and home training. I was never brought up to adapt the African American culture even though I was immersed in it.
Disappointment is the feeling that I have and I wish that these men will do better. Yes, it’s hot outside and the hotter it gets, the more skin that would be displayed. However, this is not your chance to act a fool; if you see something you like, you can admire it. If the person that caught your eye is too far away, no need to scream. Let he/she go or make the effort to approach…RESPECTFULLY.
I’m tired of this sh-t.
Venting session over.