“An AdMo ‘Bro’ Attacked Me for Defending a Woman Being Dominated By Another Man”

Photo by PoPville flickr user Kaitlyn Karpenko

“Dear PoPville,

I’ve been a resident of Adams Morgan for 3 years now and this evening I witnessed something I’d never seen before.

Around 9:30pm this evening, I was walking eastbound on S Street NW, towards 18th Street and I noticed a Lincoln car was parked right at the intersection f 18th & S Street NW and the passenger side door was open onto the sidewalk. As I walked past the open door, I saw two figures, both African American, arguing and the man was on top of the woman (who was in the passenger seat) trying to force her to do something. It’s unclear exactly what he was trying to force her to do, maybe shoving her or physically dominating her in some capacity. Whatever the case was, she was screaming for him to get off her.

I stood and watched the scene unfold for about a minute, before realizing that this was a pretty bad situation. So, I pulled out my phone, and yelled that I was calling the police. After I yelled it a couple times and told the man he better get off her because there were other witnesses (including other cars nearby), the man got off the woman, got out of the car with his hands up and faced me. He had the car keys in his hand and essentially “surrendered” and I told him to start walking the other way. I said, “Look man, she’s upset. She doesn’t want you near her, so give her some space. Start walking or I’m calling the police.”

And the man walked away from the car when suddenly–another man, a white man in a red polo shirt and khakis and presumably college-educated, approached me from behind and started yelling in my face, “What the fuck? It’s always the man’s fault isn’t it?! This could be this guy’s car!”

Completely shocked, I said: “Are you kidding me?! He was on top of her while she was screaming for him to get off!” And then I told him to get lost, which he did because that’s what cowards do.

I waited another few minutes until the woman in the passenger seat (the victim) ensured me she was okay and thanked me.

My question to fellow Adams Morgan residents is what would you do?

I’m not someone who enjoy interfering in others private lives, but as a woman, I feel it’s my obligation to watch out for other women. I’ve been *lucky* (extra emphasis on lucky) to say I’ve dated some really big jerks, but I’ve never had them physically dominate me. Seeing this guy do that to a woman in public makes me think that worse things have happened in private and I can’t help but to somehow make it known that it’s not okay. Not one bit.”

79 Comment

  • “presumably college-educated”

  • You did everything right. You defused the situation and made sure that they knew their was a witness. Props to you.

  • #yesallwomen

    Thank you for intervening! You did the right thing!

    I once did something very similar, and was surprised no one around me backed me up. In my case, the man was physically pushing his very tiny girlfriend into a hedge of bushes. She was crying and whimpering as people walked by and just gawked. I’m glad I finally stepped up and said something. I felt very uncomfortable about intervening, but I just couldn’t do nothing. My heart was racing and my knees felt weak. I can’t imagine how I would have felt if I then got verbally attacked by someone else (a guy nonetheless) for trying to protect her.

    You did the right thing.

    Thank you.

  • You did the right thing. I’ve had a similar scenario where a woman near my home screamed for help and said she was being attacked. I immediately ran outside to assist. I would have called the cops in your case (mine ended up being a bro/sis spat that was resolved).
    Thank goodness the bro didn’t actually attack you.

  • Well, first off, I’m not sure where you live because you don’t say other than Adams Morgan, but 18th and S is NOT Adams Morgan, it’s Dupont Circle. The southern boundary of Adams Morgan is Florida Avenue/U Street.

    Secondly, I probably would have done the same thing you did. Yelled at the dude in the car, called the police and then told the Dupont Bro to F-off.

  • Thank you for taking action to help someone. If there isn’t anything wrong then the two people will walk away, no big deal. But if there is something happening, you helped someone in a dangerous situation. Everyone (rightfully) freaked out at the person who walked passed some laying on the ground last week. You did the right. Just because some preppy asshole who is interning at the Heritage Institute wants to get all MRA on you, doesn’t mean that you were wrong. He will probably drunk drive back to Ballston at the end of the night anyway.

  • Thank you for intervening when so many people would just walk past this. You ABSOLUTELY did the right thing!

  • burritosinstereo

    LOL at your initial outrage being that she misidentified the neighborhood. PRIORITIES!

  • Yes! Keep being that person that helps out his fellow human! We need more of you….

  • Good job, but your descriptions leave me worried. Why even point out the race of the men in the story?

    “presumably college-educated”,

    because he was white and had a polo?

    • “Why even point out the race of the men in the story?” Possibly because race tends to influence (rightly or wrongly) how people perceive situations, how one person responds to another’s comments, etc.?

    • +1 good job intervening, but why the need to label so much with your emphasis on race and bro-ness? And because you thought you were in AdMo (but weren’t) you ask only what AdMo residents would do?

      • I believe they wanted to look better in the story.

        Hey look at me I stood up to the scary black man, and a scary “Bro”.

        Internet please shower me with praise.

      • Perhaps to emphasize that when the bro complained, it was not a race thing, but some kind of gender thing? I mean it really is different sociologically than if it were a black guy saying it.


    • I think OP was trying to make a case for the fact that the actions of the “bro” were more surprising as he was a white man and in “preppy” clothing thus making him obviously college educated, smarter and more civilized (based on the stereotypes she prescribes to). And while it is not unlikely that two black people in a car would be engaging in the behavior described above, it is very shocking that a white guy in a polo is anything but the picture of politeness and understanding.

  • Yes you did the right thing by calling the police. However, inserting yourself into the situation probably wasn’t the best move (the guy with the car keys could have come after you..).
    Also: “And then I told him to get lost, which he did because that’s what cowards do” — did you only engage the Dupont Bro to pick a fight / were you looking for a fight? That’s a ridiculous conclusion to come to because he walked away from you…

    • HaileUnlikely

      Human beings are notoriously bad at predicting how they would act in situations that they aren’t actually in. If I was in the middle of trying to intervene in an assault and some previously uninvolved moron came up and started yelling at me, I don’t have any idea how I’d respond, but I’m thinking I probably wouldn’t go with the option that you seem to prefer and pretend he isn’t even there.

      • My comment is directed at the OP’s conclusion about why the uninvolved moron walked away from her. I’m not suggesting that she should have done anything differently with the moron, but assuming that he’s a coward because he removed himself from the situation as quickly as he came into it is absurd. In my comment, I didn’t show any preference for dealing with that person.

      • “Human beings are notoriously bad at predicting how they would act in situations that they aren’t actually in.” I really appreciate that you say this at all of the most appropriate times. (Zero sarcasm there.)

        • Emmaleigh504

          Me too. People need to be reminded of that more often.

        • Yall are crazy I know exactly what I’d do and it is fully accurate.
          If it was me I’d have done a karate move followed by a judo chop and then backflipped into a somersault at which point all the girls would swoon and I’d pick the one with the blondest hair and flattest butt to take home to my 80s movie badass bachelor pad (somehow a NY loft here in DC) at which point I’d high five my awesome wingman roommate and wink to the camera while saying my catchphrase and closing the bedroom door signifying my imminent coitus and casual awesomeness.

    • Anonomnom

      Kinda disagree with this comment. Saying she engaged in the fight with the Bro makes it sound like she was provoking it, when what really happened was some jerk came up to her face for being a decent human. Was calling him a coward OP being snarky? Absolutely. Was it justified? Yes, seems like he was a jerk. All in all, totally fine in my book.

      • Yes, that’s exactly what happened. Thank you.

      • I don’t think the OP called the bro a coward — she says: “And then I told him to get lost, which he did because that’s what cowards do.” (Unless what she actually said was, “Get lost, you coward.”)

  • TL;DR:
    “I did what I judged to be the risky but right thing to do, but then a dude who stood by doing nothing yelled at me for it. Now I question everything, because I have a weak sense of self. I mean, he really YELLED at me!”
    I kid, but come on OP. Stand by your actions, don’t seek approval from Popville commenters. You did good.

  • Thank you for stepping in. You did exactly what you should have done. Don’t mind the entitled bro/a$$. I always ask women if they’re OK in those situations, and I’ve been wrong in several occasions (mistaking play for domination) but it’s always better to intervene then to walk away.

  • So glad there are people like you in the city. Thanks for taking a stand and helping out!

  • I am male, and you did exactly the right thing – 100%! Mr. Red Polo shirt sounds like he has a few loose screws.

  • Ummm, the bro calling her out was unwarranted, unnecessary and lame. But to refer to it as an attack, as the headline of this post does, is totally hyperbole.

  • You did the right thing but to say that you were “attacked” is a bit ridiculous. He was probably drunk and made some dumb comment, you told him to get lost and he did. No big deal.

  • I interpreted “three years in Adams Morgan” as three years of seeing really crazy things, but nothing as crazy as she described in the story aboe

  • General Grant Circle

    This appears to be more Dupont ish – Admo you could just shout for a cop.
    I would suggest you simply call the police if you are on your own and are female and are physically smaller just to be on the safe side. But if you are in a group/an equally large guy/ Ronda Rousey go for it!

  • you did the right thing. thank you.

  • Thank you, you did the right thing, C.

    It really burns me up that people are picking apart the words you used for this or that, or even your post itself. Brush that off because they’re really missing the point (as others have said).

    I read Popville all the time but registered today so I could leave this comment for you. I also was the only person to intervene in an assault (happening in broad daylight in front of many people at Union Station), and because my yelling distracted and surprised the man, the police caught up with him and the woman broke free. I really don’t know what it was all about, or what happened after with them. But I was left feeling shaky, and really shaken up, for a while later, and that came as a surprise. It’s not how you expect to feel when you’ve done what you know to be the right thing. But I think it feels unnatural in our culture to intervene in other people’s stuff and to aggressively engage a stranger, and maybe more so when you are a woman doing that (as we both are). So I just wanted to tell you that I know the feeling you had (and I wasn’t even yelled at by some totally off-base jerk) and it’s OK. You did the right thing, you should do it again if you ever have the chance, and I think and hope that experiencing these feelings will make you stronger. This is how our culture changes for the better.

    • Thank you. I really appreciate you sharing that with me. That’s exactly how I felt–really shaky after the whole incident. And, you know, it took a considerable amount of courage for me to intervene. I put myself in a really vulnerable position with no support only to have someone verbally assault me. So, thank you so much for sharing this.

      • Thank you, C. Many people (men, women, big, small) would have put their head down and walked right on past, and who knows where this would have ended up. You handled it perfectly – intervened, deescalated, etc, only to get accosted. For men everywhere, I’m sorry that happened. And for all people/DCers, thanks again.

  • Are you sure you weren’t at FedEx field?

  • It appears the guy was trying to get his car keys from the girl. You did the right thing despite not knowing what was transpiring.

  • You absolutely did the right thing. It’s not often enough that people step in when they see something violent or absuve taking place against another person. What you did is really admirable.

  • just call the fucking police then start videoing that’s what they are there for!

  • Sexist Violent Misogynists:

    Come in all colors and with all education levels. College-educated men rape routinely.


    THANK YOU for being a stand up citizen.

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