Dupont Circle Panera Fails to Take Sexual Harassment Seriously!

Location: DuPont Circle Panera (1350 Connecticut Ave NW)
Time: Daytime (9:30am-3:30pm)

I was studying downstairs at the Panera in Dupont Circle when I looked to my right and a man had his pants fully down and was masturbating in my direction. I screamed and ran upstairs to get a manager. The man walked past me and the manager on the stairs and I pointed him out. The manager asked if I wanted a cookie or anything. I told him I wanted him to call the police. He asked which seat the man was in so he could clean it off. I was crying and shaking and not sure what to do, so I left the Panera. Later I had composed myself and decided I wanted to report it. I called the police, who came to the Panera and told me they couldn’t file an official report if the man was gone. They also told me I should have called them right away so they had a chance of finding the guy, and that I should have captured what he was doing in a photo or video so they could have evidence against him. I tried to contact Panera about training their employees to respond to such incidents and didn’t get a response – but they did quickly delete my yelp review when I described what happened on the site. I haven’t been back to the Panera.

Submitted 8/4/14 by Anonymous.

TAKE ACTION! Take to Twitter to tell @panerabread that it needs to improve its response to public sexual harassment of customers!

Copy/paste: “Hey @panerabread: This story is not OK! What are you doing to take sexual harassment seriously? www.bit.ly/paneraSH #endSH @safespacesDC”

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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): www.wmata.com/harassment 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).

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