City Council Here We Come


Collective Action for Safe Spaces attends February 22nd DC Council Performance Oversight Hearing on WMATA to Recommend How to Prevent Sexual Harassment and Assault

WASHINGTON, DC— During the DC City Council’s Performance Oversight Hearing of the Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority (WMATA) tomorrow, Collective Action for Safe Spaces (CASS), private citizens, and a street harassment expert will testify about public sexual harassment and assault that occurs on the transit system.

Across three years, CASS has received hundreds of stories about public sexual harassment and at least 30 percent of the experiences took place on or around transit stations, trains, buses or bus stops. CASS will recommend a three-pronged approach to curtailing these crimes.

“We want WMATA to institute a public service campaign, giving information on how to report sexual harassment and assault,” says Chai Shenoy, co-founder of Collective Action for Safe Spaces. “The fact is that this is a public safety concern—where obvious, egregious, and repeated acts are taking place in our transit system and not enough is being done to address these acts.”

Behind New York City, Washington, DC has the second largest transit system in the country, but among the top four largest transit systems, it does the least to address sexual harassment and assault. For example, while the three other cities, Boston, Chicago, and New York, instituted anti-sexual harassment PSA campaigns in 2008 and 2009, Washington, DC still does not have one.

In addition to a campaign, the advocacy group wants the DC City Council to urge WMATA to collect data on sexual harassment and train their employees and the Transit police on how to address sexual harassment and assault complaints. In addition, the training would underscore the importance of not sexually harassing passengers.

The hearing will take place on February 22, 2012 in the John A. Wilson Building, 1350 Pennsylvania Avenue NW, Washington, DC, Room 500 at or around 1 p.m. It will also be streamed live at

Collective Action for Safe Spaces is a grassroots organization that aims to empower the DC Metro area to build a community free from public sexual harassment and assault. It is accomplished through online activism, public policy and advocacy, community workshops, and innovative direct services. Find more information at or Twitter @hollabackdc.

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If you would like more information about this topic, or would like to schedule an interview, please contact Chai Shenoy at or (202) 556-4232.

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