CRIME

Walking While Female: D.C. woman's sexual assault blog post goes viral

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A D.C. woman who was sexually assaulted in Dupont Circle last week spoke out in a blog post that went viral. And today she gave her first TV interview to NewsChannel 8’s Mike Conneen.

Liz Gorman, author of 'Walking While Female.'

Liz Gorman, 25, says hundreds of women have contacted her, many sharing their own stories.

“You should feel comfortable talking about this, going to the authorities, shining more of a light on this,” she tells Conneen.

On July 11, Gorman was walking toward Dupont Circle in the 1700 block of New Hampshire NW.

“This gentleman on a bike, he was also on the sidewalk, came up behind me and while I was walking and he was biking, reached his hand up my skirt,” Gorman says.

She says she chased down the suspect, but he got away on his bicycle.

She describes the suspect as a white or Hispanic male, with an average build, wearing an orange shirt and a baseball cap.

“This is like the tipping point for me. and that's why I wrote the essay,” she says.

In her essay - "Walking While Female" - Gorman detailed the incident, as well as the sexual harassment women deal with on a daily basis.

She shared the essay with a local advocacy group, Collective Action For Safe Spaces, which posted it on its blog.

“She's shown a lot of people that they have nothing to be ashamed of,” says Zosia Sztykowski of Collective Action For Safe Spaces. “That they can come forward with their stories.”

The blog post went viral and was picked up by the Washington Post, the Huffington Post, and others.

In the week since, Gorman says hundreds of women have contacted her and many have shared similar stories that until now they've kept secret.

“I do think that there's this culture of shame, that immediately I did something wrong or I was wearing the wrong thing or I was in the wrong place at the wrong time,” Gorman says.

D.C. police are investigating the case, interviewing an eyewitness, tracking down surveillance footage from the area.

Gorman says she wrote the essay to help herself process her feelings.
but now, she hopes it will encourage more women to stand up and speak out.

“Anybody that is harrassing you or touching you in anyway, that's a clear violation,” she says. “We're not asking for it, we don't want it. It's not right. It's not okay. It shouldn't happen.”

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