I was out of D.C. for the summer and just read “Nice Ass!” (6/22). I’m disheartened at the lack of public outcry to this article. As a woman, sister, daughter, aunt, niece, confidante, and activist looking closely at nursing and public-health interventions around gender-based violence, I am seriously outraged.
I just returned from South Africa after working with and studying survivors and women who were victims of fatal sexual assaults. Nearly 70 percent of the women who were raped then killed were victims of people they did not necessarily know but knew by sight. Often, it was someone who called at them in the street.
Twenty years ago, we fought sexual harassment in the workplace. Today, we are accepting sexual harassment on the street every day. When we are silent, we are victims of a society that’s forgotten how to act in terms of protective policy around violence, leaving only its mostly female and transgender population vulnerable. And when we watch it happen as a silent bystander, we have also fallen victim.
Perhaps street harassment would be more of an outrage if Paris Hilton were sexually harassed by the general public instead of paparazzi cameras. Or perhaps if people got rid of their notions that one must be wearing certain clothing to get harassed. Or if all young women of color in D.C. and South Africa were to die thanks to people whose advances they didn’t, in their catcallers’ minds, satisfactorily respond to. Or maybe if we understood that you don’t need to be of a specific culture to harass others. Or maybe if instead men were harassed in the street by women.
I still must say thank you on behalf of all men, women, and transgender people in D.C. for at least raising and highlighting the issue around street harassment in the city. I personally have been so tired of changing my route, of listening to my headphones instead of the clangor of city sounds, and of thinking a bit deeper about what to wear on hot days.
It was also nice, at least, to see the article written by a man and his first attempt to begin to even grasp the complexity and gravity of this form of violence against women. Yet his desire to amuse himself further by testing verbal street harassment on women is an outrage. If he’d looked at some research, he might have discovered the detrimental effects of unwanted sexual advances on one’s mental, physical, and emotional health.
I strongly urge the City Paper to rewrite this article, assigning it to someone with a bit more writing skills and style, understanding of gender-based violence, sensitivity around cultural relativism in a divided city, activism and policy education, and ultimately, a desire to do more than just chuckle at a loosely finished journalistic product that people can read, laugh at, and recycle. There are tons of us in D.C. who’d love to help write it. But perhaps the writer and his cronies are still too busy immersing themselves in the novelty of harassing what they deem as “sexy” people on the street and accepting that it’s funny and OK because hey, all the Latinos are doing it nowadays, or he just tried on his new Axe deodorant, and it gives him more cojones and media muscle to do so.
Jeane Marie Garcia
As someone who has really enjoyed dining at Komi, I must take exception at Tim Carman’s inclusion of Komi in his article “One Toque Over the Line” (8/31). I last ate at Komi in March, when I took a co-worker out for her birthday. Either Komi has completely changed since then, or we ate at completely different restaurants. Olives were included in the mezzethakia course—not a single course, per se, but part of the first course, which consisted of seven or eight small plates (I lost count) of generally fantastic food (mmm, oxtail gyro). And we received a bowl of olives, not that I really cared, as I generally don’t eat olives. And unlike Carman’s friend, my dining companion and I left feeling quite full. Did she skip a course? No dessert? No wine?
Overall, it is the best dining experience I have ever had—great food, wine, service.
I do agree with your assessment of fancy junk food. Amen!