Women’s History Month: DC’s History of Anti-Sexual Harassment Organizing, Then & Now

This month, CASS is celebrating five years of working to end public sexual harassment & assault in DC. But the movement to end street harassment in DC goes back DECADES!

In the early 1920s, the “Anti-Flirt Club” was founded in DC to protect young women and girls from unwelcome attention from men in automobiles and on street corners. The Anti-Flirt Club’s President, Alice Reighly, lived at 1400 Harvard Street in what is now Columbia Heights. In the past five years, CASS has held and helped organize a number of anti-street harassment events in the Columbia Heights area (as well as across the city!), including anti-harassment marches, community safety audits and peace vigils and protests in response to anti-LGBT violence.

March is Women’s History Month and, fittingly enough, this month marks 91 years since the Anti-Flirt Club held the first-ever “Anti-Flirt Week” to raise awareness around and prevent public sexual harassment in DC. We’re proud to partner with Stop Street Harassment to kick-off the 3rd annual International Anti-Street Harassment Week on March 30th. (See below for details!)

We’re proud to be continuing the legacy of anti-harassment work in DC. Check out our recent 12 Days of CASS campaign to see just some of the work we’ve accomplished in the last five years, from our work to make DC metro safer to championing the rights of survivors.

Here’s some anti-sexual violence programming and events that CASS has in store in the coming weeks.

Help Us Celebrate Our 5th Anniversary!
Thursday, March 27, 6:00-8:30pm
Our small volunteer staff has accomplished so much together in the past year five years. In the last year alone, we launched a program to train bar staff to prevent sexual assaultorganized survivors and activists to advocate for sexual assault reforms and conducted a number of community workshops! Come celebrate with us, and hear what else we have up our sleeves for 2014 and beyond.

Workshop: How to Empower Your Community and Yourself to End Street Harassment
Sunday, March 23, 1:00-2:30pm, Bloombars, 3222 11th St NW
This workshop will explore the emotional reality of street harassment and introduce prevention and empowerment strategies that can be used by people who experience sexual harassment in public. Focusing on tactics that build community rather than divide it, we’ll give you some tools to respond assertively to harassers, and discuss ideas for mobilizing your friends, family, and community to change the culture and end public sexual harassment and assault.

Reclaim Public Spaces: Sidewalk Chalking in Dupont!
Sunday, March 30, 2:00-3:30pm, Dupont Circle
On March 30, CASS is partnering with Stop Street Harassment to kick-off the 3rd annual International Anti-Street Harassment Week in DC. Join us in Dupont Circle to chalk and reclaim public spaces!

Community Conversation with CASS & FORCE: a Monument to Survivors of Rape and Abuse
Wednesday, April 2, 6:00-8:30pm, MLK Memorial Library, Room A-5
We’ll be talking with our friends at FORCE about their campaign for a national monument for survivors of rape and abuse. We’ll discuss ways to bridge the short term actions of the Monument Quilt with longer term goals of building a permanent monument. Help us brainstorm connections between our efforts and ongoing policy work, grassroots organizing, and campaigns with the common goal of eradicating rape.

Stay tuned for big updates on our work to pass a comprehensive Sexual Assault Victims’ Rights Amendment Act (SAVRRA), critical legislation to improve the treatment of survivors and the management of sexual assault cases in the District. More to come!