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For the past few months, street harassment blog Holla Back DC has been charting incidents of harassment by neighborhood on the blog’s Google map. Examining D.C.’s cat-calls, honks, and gropes on the level of the neighborhood—-and even the intersection—-is an important tool for women who walk. For some, harassment is even a neighborhood deal-breaker: More than one Holla Back DC contributor has cited street harassment as a reason for considering relocation. So which neighborhoods are most prone to harassment? Of the 96 incidents reported on the map:
One is in Bloomingdale. Two are in Virginia. Three are in Georgetown. Four are in Adams Morgan. Five are in Logan Circle. Six are at the Rhode Island Avenue Metro stop. Eight are in Dupont. Nine are in Southeast. Fifteen are somewhere along 14th Street.
Of course, the map also shows the neighborhoods frequented by women likely to report their harassment to Holla Back DC. It’s possible that the blog’s readers just happen to hang out a lot in Dupont, along 14th Street, and outside the Rhode Island Metro Stop. But the results still came as a bit of a surprise to me. How does D.C.’s gayest neighborhood experience so much harassment against women?
Women shouldn’t have to fear walking alone anywhere. And if the Holla Back DC map shows anything, it’s that harassment happens everywhere: outside a Metro stop, down the busiest corridor in the city, and around one of D.C.’s most progressive neighborhoods. I can’t account for the popularity of street harassment in Washington, D.C., but I have noticed that bystanders—-even progressive, socially aware bystanders who reject violence against women—-either don’t notice that it’s happening, or just don’t care. Women who suffer harassment have can holler back. Isn’t it time that onlookers do the same?