Following our post the other week about the Metro Transit police officer who used unnecessary force on a young woman, we received multiple accounts of just how badly the Metro Transit Police handle reports of sexual harassment and assault. We’ve heard from many of you that that Metro police are not taking reports seriously, that they dismiss reports as “no big deal”, and often engage in victim blaming behaviors.
Time and time again, WMATA has told us that they take reports to sexual harassment and assault very seriously. However, they are proving that more often then not, they completely disregard reports of bullying, sexual harassment, and sexual assault.
According to the DC and MD code, DC § 22-1312 lewd, indecent, or obscene acts are a crime:
Division IV. Criminal Law and Procedure and Prisoners.
Title 22. Criminal Offenses and Penalties. (Refs & Annos)
Subtitle I. Criminal Offenses.
Chapter 13. Disturbances of the Public Peace.
§ 22-1312. Lewd, indecent, or obscene acts.
(a) It shall not be lawful for any person or persons to make any obscene or indecent exposure of his or her person, or to make any lewd, obscene, or indecent sexual proposal in the District of Columbia under penalty of not more than $300 fine, or imprisonment of not more than 90 days, or both, for each and every such offense.
(b) Any person or persons who shall commit an offense described in subsection (a) of this section, knowing he or she or they are in the presence of a child under the age of 16 years, shall be punished by imprisonment of not more than 1 year, or fined in an amount not to exceed $1,000, or both, for each and every such offense.
(Thanks to reader, Hyrcan for that piece of information.)
Holla Back DC! urges WMATA, Metro employees, and Metro police to re-examine how they are handling these reports and to take ALL reports seriously.
If the Metro Transit Police have dismissed your reports of sexual harassment and assault tell us about it by taking a second to submit your experience. Your reports will help us hold Metro Transit Police accountable for their actions.