Here’s What Riders Have to Say About Our RightRides DC Service!

Here's What Riders Have to Say About Our RightRides DC Service!

We rang in 2015 with another RightRides DC service date, and it was a smashing success! 36 people got free, safe rides home to all areas of NW and NE DC — an increase from 20 on our first service date on Halloween! We added an extra car to the fleet and an extra 30 minutes of service thanks to the generosity of our volunteers and especially our RightRides DC sponsor, Zipcar.

Here’s some of what the riders had to say!

The best thing about RightRides DC is….: 
“I don’t have to worry how me and my partner will be treated.”
“Safety first and foremost, very kind volunteers and a nice service – thank you!”
Why did you decide to use RRDC today? 
“I’ve been harassed both in Ubers and taxis.”  
“Free and would be safe for all of us.”
What can we improve about the service: 
“Nothing, you are perfect! <3″
“Offer it more often please!”

Help Us Make DC Bars Safer! Take Our Short Survey

Sexual harassment and assault in bars and clubs can turn a good night out sour in seconds — or create a hostile work environment for the bar’s employees. Moreover, research shows that alcohol is used as a weapon and a camouflage by people who perpetrate sexual assault. It’s no surprise that CASS regularly receives submissions from the DC community on unwanted sexual attention, including harassment and groping, that takes place in local bars and clubs. Sometimes, these incidents can end in physical assault.

The good news is that our city’s nightlife is full of amazing allies who work hard to create environments where harassment and assault is not tolerated. We at CASS want everyone in the city to get on the same page, which is why we established our Safe Bars program in 2013. Now, we’re working on a new advocacy project to start a culture shift in DC nightlife to make every alcohol-serving establishment safe and welcoming for everyone.

And we need your stories to get started.

Please take 5 minutes to fill out the survey below and share your stories of being harassed or assaulted in DC bars or clubs. Be sure to enter your email address if you’d like to hear more about our advocacy project. 

Thank you, as always, for sharing your words and experiences!

Introducing Our 2014 Annual Report: “What CASS Taught Me”

In case you didn’t hear the news, we raised $23,096 in one month thanks to the generosity of people like you. To say we’re blown away is an understatement! We’re putting every single one of those dollars to work to make DC free of public sexual harassment and assault.

We could talk at length about how grateful we are to have folks like you as supporters, but we decided it would be better to show you. We talked to the people who benefited from our 2014 programming and collected their accounts. Here’s our first ever annual report: “What CASS Taught Me.”

“There are thousands of people in our city who are taking control of their own safety by supporting each other,” says CASS supporter Stefanie. “I feel more powerful on the streets than I ever have, knowing that I’m one of them.”

We’re so lucky to have people like you in our corner. Read our annual report below, and look out for even more impactful work to end street harassment in 2015.

Download (PDF, Unknown)


We’re Growing — And We Couldn’t Have Done it Without You

A message from our new Co-Executive Director, Zosia Sztykowski

Becoming CASS’s first ever paid staff member was a massive highlight of my 2014. Looking back on the year that’s passed since, I’m filled with gratitude toward you, our community. Just take a look at our annual report to see how much your creativity and energy inspired us to do in 2014 — and this from a tiny organization that is driven largely by volunteers who donate their time and their voices

The courage held in this organization is why I love it so much. The source of that courage is you, the thousands of you who have shared your stories in the pages of this blog or on social media, and your energy in our workshops or advocacy. It’s why we can launch valuable programming, pass legislation that protects your rights, and stay fiercely accountable to our communities’ needs. And thanks to generous support you gave us at the end of the year, we’re growing.

As the new Co-Executive Director of CASS, my commitment to you in 2015 (and beyond) is to deliver even more innovative and impactful advocacy and programming to make this city a better place to live. And we’re going to do it with fearlessness, creativity, and joy — all the qualities that I see in our followers and supporters every. single. day.

I want to introduce you to two people who are going to help lead CASS toward the greatest impact.

Mindi Westhoff, Board Chair

Mindi Westhoff is a DC-based writer and photographer who has been volunteering with CASS for over a year. Her articles on relationships, body image and street harassment have been published on the Huffington Post blog, HuffPo.

Mindi  also works on the communications and management staff as lead emcee of District Karaoke, D.C.’s social, team-based karaoke league. She was selected to lead CASS’s Board of Directors in late 2014.

Ana Flores, Research Fellow

Ana is a Masters student studying public policy with a focus on women’s studies at the George Washington University. Before coming to DC, Ana completed her Bachelor’s Degree in women’s studies and French at California State University-San Marcos. She has worked in the social justice field for over 5 years. As a peer educator and women’s wellness coordinator at CSU-SM, she developed workshops and programming to educate students about feminism, LGBTQ life, and women’s holistic health. Her research interests center on violence against women, particularly violence against Native American women. She joined CASS as the Research Fellow early this year.
With your help, we’ll make 2015 a banner year for working to end public sexual harassment and assault in DC!



“What Do You Do When a Guy at a Bar Will NOT Take ‘No’ for an Answer?”

Location: Bar in NE, DC
Time: Late Night (12am-5am)

I know this is an unremarkable scenario, but bothersome nonetheless. On New Year’s Eve, I was at a bar along with some friends, dancing on and off to the live DJ music. As inevitably happens, a man came up to me during one of my breaks to invite me to dance – he didn’t say anything, merely holding out his hand. I declined with words – “no, thank you” – and looked away. Nothing noteworthy, except that – you guessed it! – he wouldn’t take no for an answer. He stood there, gesturing again, as I repeatedly demurred. Then he disappeared on the dance floor. When I resumed dancing, I could feel him staring at me intently, and then of course, he asked again. Understandable, but once more I declined.

Finally, as I was standing around in my coat waiting for my friends to leave, he appeared again. I explained that I was about to leave, but he insisted, over and over, even trying to grab my hand though I pointedly looked away from him. He desisted just as I was about to irritatedly snap at him.

In total, I had to rebuff him about five times, and while to most (especially the average male) this might seem like a harmless scenario, it isn’t: having my explicit refusal repeatedly ignored mirrors the harassment dynamic, and puts the woman in the position of either appearing rude or giving in to the guy’s pressure to get it over and done with. And of course, when he finally did dance with a woman, he engineered it as a “couples dance,” one arm around her waist, the other holding her other hand.

Is there a foolproof way to send a creepy, clueless man such as this one on his way? Because the repetitive verbal dance of “NO” is damn boring.

Submitted 1/06/14 by “Claire”

Do you have a personal experience with gender-based public sexual harassment or assault? Share your story to help raise awareness about the pervasiveness and harmful effects of street harassment. All submissions are posted anonymously unless otherwise specified.

If you experience or have experienced sexual harassment on the DC Metro system: Whether the event is happening at the moment or occurred months ago, we strongly encourage you to report to Metro Transit Police (MTP): or 202-962-2121. Reporting helps identify suspects as well as commons trends in harassment. You can program MTP’s number into your phone so you can easily reach them when needed.

If you need assistance in coping with public sexual harassment or assault, please contact the DC Rape Crisis Center (DCRCC) 24/7 crisis hotline at 202-333-RAPE (202-333-7279).