In addition to being International Guitar Month, National Welding Month, and National Pecan Month, April is Sexual Assault Awareness Month and the second week of April is Anti-Street Harassment week. It’s a time to honor the experiences of survivors and think about how we can all work to create a safer community. What do we need to change in our day-to-day lives, in our neighborhoods, in our government to support women and LGBTQGNC people?
To jumpstart that conversation, CASS has worked with Stop Street Harassment and WMATA to conduct one of the first-ever comprehensive transit safety surveys in the country to learn more about transit riders’ experiences with harassment on DC’s public transit and what we can do to help. If you ride the metro, you’ve hopefully seen the amazing anti-harassment ads that Collective Action for Safe Spaces (CASS), Stop Street Harassment (SSH), and WMATA created together. This report will inform both the next stage of our anti-harassment campaign on public transit and WMATA’s continuing efforts to train staff to respond to harassment.
Here are highlights from the study:
- About 20% of the people surveyed had experienced sexual harassment on public transportation. Women were three times more likely than men to have experienced sexual harassment on public transportation.
- 62% of people harassed on public transit had experienced it while on board trains.
- 77% of people never reported their experiences with harassment.
- 41% of people were familiar with the anti-harassment awareness campaign.
- People who were familiar with the campaign were twice as likely to report an incident of harassment.
We’re excited that the awareness campaign has reached so many people, but this data also shows that there’s more to be done. We need reach the 59% of people who are not familiar with the anti-harassment ads and ensure that people feel comfortable reporting harassment and safely intervening if they witness it. Tonight, we’ll be distributing information about the campaign at five Metro stops during evening rush hour. Grab some swag from us at the Metro Center, Takoma Park, Shaw, and Clarendon stops, and stay tuned to learn more about what CASS, SSH, and WMATA are doing to let our community know that sexual harassment has no place on public transit or in DC.
If you’ve experienced harassment on public transportation or anywhere else in DC, report it at wmata.com/harassment. We’re so ready to have an amazing, empowering, knowledge-dropping April, and we are excited for you to meet us on the streets this week.