Within 5 feet: Battling sexual assault up close

Liz Gorman was sexually assaulted July 12 at 3:30 p.m. in Dupont Circle. (Photo Courtesy of Liz Gorman)

Alicia Lozano, wtop.com

WASHINGTON – Liz Gorman never intended to become a spokesperson against sexual assault. That changed last week after she was violated in broad daylight on a busy D.C. street.

The 25-year-old photographer was walking in Dupont Circle on a bright, sunny Thursday afternoon when a man pulled up behind her on his bicycle. He reached up her skirt and through her underwear.

“He laughed and biked away,” she says. “That was it.”

Gorman was stunned, but not into silence. She chased the man, and called police when she couldn’t catch up. The next day, Gorman decided to take further action and wrote an essay for Collective Action for Safe Spaces about what she calls the “10-5 rule.”

“I am walking alone and see a man walking towards me at 10 feet. Maybe instead of looking straight ahead into the distance, I move my eyes to the ground. I slump my shoulders slightly … At 5 feet, I take a small breath and one of two things happens: nothing at all, which I consider a small victory or


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