Essays — August 25, 2014 11:13 — 1 Comment

Street Harassment Lexicon – Piper J. Daniels

The following stories were gathered from twenty-three women living in Seattle, WA over the course of a single week. In order to protect the women behind these stories from further harm, all identities have been withheld.

It was 7:45 a.m. and I was walking my dog before work.

I was waiting for the #11 at 1:30 in the afternoon.

I was pumping gas in a quiet part of North Seattle.

I was at the QFC on Broadway and Pike.

I was at Carkeek Park on my lunch break.

I was outside a coffee shop in Georgetown at quarter to five p.m.

I was sitting with a friend at an outdoor café.

I was at an outdoor concert.

I was unloading things from my trunk.

I was standing outside the Wild Rose.

I was smoking outside the Unicorn at 10:30 p.m.

I was at Alki Beach. It was dusk.

I was in Ballard, walking late at night, taking only the well-lit roads.

I usually wear headphones during the day so I don’t hear the comments.

I sometimes pretend like I’m in my own world and can’t hear anything they say.

I can’t bring myself to tell you the worst of it.

It’s too embarrassing to share.

You wouldn’t believe it if I told you. Well, maybe you would believe me…

He said, “Heeeeyyyyyy bitch!”

He said, “Smile, it’s not that bad, baby.”

He said, “You look good, baby,” with a fool grin.

He said, “You look good, baby” while licking his lips.

He said to my friend, “You’ve got a real pretty friend there.”

He said I looked strong, like I lifted weights.

He said, “Mmmm, nice tits.”

He said, “I’d hit it. I’d hit that.”

He said, “Come sit on my lap.”

He called me “China doll.”

He said that thing about the sideways slit.

He said, “Hey Vanilla. I favor your flavor.”

He said, “Gimme some o’ that chocolate, bitch.”

He asked if I had jungle fever.

He said, “Do you want to be my cowgirl?”

He said, “How does it feel to look like livestock?”

He mooed and oinked from a passing convertible.

He made up a song about my tits, while his boys laughed and applauded.

He said to my boyfriend, “Congratulations,” while staring at my breasts.

He said, “Honey, I can smell your pussy.”

He said, “Have you ever been vandalized? Because my van’s parked out back.”

He said, “Boy, I’d love to wrap that long hair around my fist.”

He said, “I’ve got a gun in my jacket,” paused a beat, then said, “Just kidding.”

And then he walked away.

And then he peeled out of the parking lot.

And then he drove away.

And then he sped off.

And then I came out of the store to find his car parked behind mine, blocking me in.

And then I took off running.

And then I boarded the bus.

And no one on the bus would look at me.

And no one in the park would even look at me.

And the guy standing beside me was laughing at me.

And the guy sitting right next to me pretended not to notice.

And then I realized no one was going to help me.

And then I told him I had pepper spray.

And then I felt around in my purse for my pocketknife.

And it was like in a nightmare, where you’re trying to yell, but nothing’s coming out.

And there in the most crowded neighborhood in Seattle, I realized I was all alone.

And then I was alone, and I realized no one could save me but me.

“And in the end,” said Martin Luther King Jr., “we will remember not the words of our enemies, but the silence of our friends.”

Not the words of our enemies, but the silence of our friends.

Not the words of our enemies, but the silence.

When it comes to street harassment, bystander intervention works. If you see something, say something.

If you’re experiencing any of the behaviors listed below, please share your story confidentially at or publicly on twitter @WASH_seattle, #harassmentlexicon.


The next battle against street harassment begins this September, when WASH will be launching an international twitter “whiteboard” campaign. Supporters will be photographed holding a whiteboard (or paper, posterboard, other recordable surface, etc.) with their personal anti-street harassment slogan. Suggestions and downloadable signs will be available on the WASH facebook page:

These photographs will then be posted to facebook and twitter. Help us fight street harassment by posting your photo or making it your profile pic! It’s easy to do and it’ll go a long way to raising visibility and awareness for anti-street harassment.

Please send your questions and concerns to

With Love,
Women Against Street Harassment, working for a safer Seattle


Piper Daniels is a poet, a graduate of the University of Washington MFA program and a wonderful dancer.

One Comment

  1. R Knox says:

    Piper Daniels, I am appreciating the pieces you are writing. It’s helping me to see things. When enough people stand up, things will change.

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The answer isn't poetry, but rather language

- Richard Kenney