Sarah’s Story

I was harassed by a man on the street on Tuesday night. I was unlocking my bike when a man came up to me.
This is the sequence of events as I remember it – it all happened pretty fast. He got uncomfortably close and mumbled “Are you black or white?” (it should have been obvious from looking at me – and I’m only so sure that’s what he said). I said a firm “Goodbye” to him 3 times, but he ignored and just stayed and mumbled. I told him to “F** off”. He grabbed my bike handles after I refused to engage with him. I told him to “F** off”. He yanked one of my brake cables off. Thankfully, 3 guys on the other side of the street say “Hey! Hey!” and started to cross. He darted and I biked away without looking back at him.
The whole incident was unsettling, but I left feeling more angry than scared.

When I got to the bike shop to fix my brake, I called 311 to report the incident. It was almost more stressful to talk to the lady on the phone and later to the police officer who got dispatched to me than it was to get harassed by a stranger because they had this whole attitude of “what do you want?” They didn’t seem to get that I didn’t want to prosecute this guy, I just wanted to get this incident documented because it happens to way too many women way too often. In surveys, over 90% of women report having been harassed in public places. Overall, I felt more ashamed for reporting a “harmless” incident than supported in my attempt to get it recorded.