Tell WMATA Public Sexual Harassment is a Problem!

posted in: WMATA | 6
Sexual comments, leering, groping and public masturbation: sexual harassment happens a lot on public transportation in Washington, DC. Collective Action for Safe Spaces/Holla Back DC! has been tracking and speaking out on this issue for three years. Now we’re doing something more – testifying. And we need your help.
We need people to testify with us about the issue of sexual harassment on public transportation during the late afternoon of Wednesday, Feb. 22, for a public performance oversight hearing of the Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority (WMATA) held by the Council of the District of Columbia.
If we have enough people testifying, possible outcomes could be:
  • Council Member Muriel Bowser (who is overseeing the hearing and is from Ward 4) will be aware of the issue and could even propose legislation to help prevent sexual harassment on Metro.
  • Council Member Bowser could question the Director of Metro to find out why our concerns have not been addressed.
  • The Director of Metro could be more likely to address our concerns and take actions we recommend such as providing training for employees.
We are looking for people:
1) Willing to share a story or stories about sexual harassment on metro trains and buses,
2) Who can talk about sexual harassment they’ve witnessed,
3) Who can be part of the audience to help fill the room.
Testimonies are only 3 minutes long (about a page and a half). If you want to learn more about writing and presenting compelling testimony or want feedback on a draft, we will hold an optional training on Saturday, Feb. 18, 1-3 p.m. at the Southeast Library (across the from Eastern Market metro station). Susie Cambria will lead the training.

If you’re interested in providing testimony or helping to fill the room, please contact by February 17, and please share this announcement, especially with people in Ward 4 as that’s Council Member Bowser’s Ward and she’s up for re-election.

6 Responses

  1. Kristin Hoyer

    Thanks for doing this. My friend was sexually harassed on the Metro and this has to stop!!

  2. Peter

    Really? You think legislation will stop the problem? It’s already illegal. Be aware of your surroundings, call 911 when you see a problem and stop whining.

  3. Lisa

    If it’s already against the law, yet it’s still prevalent, which it is, that would suggest that further action is needed. You said yourself, cynically, “You think legislation will stop the problem?” which is similar to saying the current legislation is not, in fact, working. That is why we’re taking further action. If that doesn’t work, we’ll take even further action. If that doesn’t work, we’ll do even more. We just aren’t going to stop and aren’t going to go away while people are being harassed and harassers face no consequences.

    Note: If you’ve ever had someone wolf-whistle you, call you a c***, grope you as they walk by, on the street, and have called 911 about it, you would already know that’s a rotten idea. You are the only one who pays the price. The harasser is long gone, no charges are filed, and in the meantime, you’ve missed half your workday. Seriously, that was not thought through at all. The lack of any workable solutions is why we are working hard on this and it’s why we won’t stop.

    • Alex

      Yes, further action is needed. On your part. You need to become stronger as a person and learn to handle things better.

      Your entire second paragraph of the comment is nothing but a victim mentality ranting. You missed half your work day because your reaction to the comment, not because of the guy.

      • Kat

        I think one would miss half of his or her work day because of the time it takes to give statements and file police reports. And I can see from your comments that you’ve been on a trolling binge. Being stronger means FIGHTING BACK and part of that is using the legal system to make harassers pay.

  4. jaylin4dc

    I wish I could have attended this meeting because a metro driver at the L’enfant plaza stop pulled his window up to me on the platform, woof whistled at me to get my attention, then proceeded to hit on me (on duty, in uniform, at the drivers’ booth). This was a few weeks after the big red line collision a few years ago. The WMATA employees should at least 1) not harass people 2) do their jobs properly 3) be decent human beings. Systematic practice? or Indivdual incompetence?