New Posters Out Now!

We’re excited to debut new posters from the Safe Bar Collective and the DC Coalition Against Domestic Violence (DCCADV)! On the heels of Domestic Violence Awareness Month, these posters are raising awareness about strategies YOU can use when you see someone being harassed.











Designed by Baltimore-based muralist Maura Dwyer, with support from graphic designer Charrose King, the new posters also provide resources for survivors, including the Safe Bar Collective and the number for DC’s Victim Hotline (1-844-4HELPDC) — a free, 24-hour helpline providing resources to those who have been victimized

You may recognize some familiar faces on the posters, too! The designs were inspired by DC community leaders and friends of CASS, including two participants of our Safe Bar Collective program, Desiree and Reshay.

We know that stepping in to help stop harassment can be difficult for a variety of reasons, which is why these posters reference a variety of different strategies that we can employ while intervening. These include distracting the harasser, telling them to back off, and supporting the target.

This week also marks one year since the 2016 election, and there’s still a great need to cultivate safe environments in DC and across the country. So this November 8, volunteers will be plastering these posters throughout the city — in bars, coffee shops, community centers, and other public spaces.

Want to join? Email for more details. If you can’t make it, tell us in the comments where you’d like to see these posters in our community! And if you spot one of our posters around town, tweet out a photo and share your street harassment stories using #NopeDC.

We also encourage you to share your stories with us, or seek help and resources from DCCADV, the National Street Harassment Hotline, or DC’s crime victims hotline.

rethink masculinity: taking on emotional labor

Editor’s Note: This is part of a series from our Rethink Masculinity program with ReThink and DC Rape Crisis Center. The author, Stephen Hicks, is co-director of Rethink Masculinity and stylistically decided to not use capitalization.

i didn’t know about emotional labor until i joined the rethink masculinity course from CASS. the second class of rethink was about this foreign concept. i believe i heard the term emotional labor once and didn’t inquire further. 

go ahead, take a moment. it took me three decades, a handful of heartbreaks, and plenty of damage done to get a introductory tutorial in doing work that involved recognizing i had human emotions and needed to recognize human emotions in others. so, when i read the three articles we were assigned before class, i had a clay davis-like reaction.

the three articles:

for this venue, i’ll use this working definition of emotional labor I learned from the rethink masculinity class: 

defining emotional labor: the process of managing feelings and expressions in order to fulfill emotional requirements as part of a relationship, friendship or job. workers are expected to regulate their emotions with customers, co-workers and bosses. women are gender non-conforming people are expected to regulate their emotions for the comfort of men. emotional labor is required for any relationship to work.

emotional labor isn’t limited to cries and smiles. emotional labor can include planning dates, communicating one’s needs/desires/wants, calling grandma to cheer her up, and holding space for others to express themselves. hey, there’s even a checklist. it’s the action-oriented detail that keeps all kinds of relationships intact from romantic, platonic, familial, and professional. 

i immediately thought of how my former partner told me she was not my “container.” she was definitely present, but needed boundaries to my rampant unloading. and trust me, i unloaded. my job, my family, my friends, my roommates, and everything and everyone. me me me me and lots of grievances. i mistook my unloading as me practicing vulnerability and called it intimacy. and what made it worse, i wasn’t intentional about holding the space for her to share what she was thinking and feeling. way too lopsided. when i reflect on her words, she wanted me to do my own emotional labor and not simply unload onto her for her to be saddled with my unresolved woes.

also, i think of my mother, for she held (and continues to hold) the weight of sustaining the family throughout the good, bad, and mundane. her daily commute consisted of hour-long traffic jams to a workplace culture which didn’t value her vast expertise. and upon her return home, she shouldered the enormity of her sons’ classroom performance, extracurricular activities, in-school suspensions, and absent-father dramas. she’s now retired and her sons are out of the house, but she still invests in emotional labor — often going unreciprocated. 

to my former partner and my mother, thank you and i apologize for not doing more of my own emotional labor AND being there for you two. i want to make this right. 

on the macro-societal level, many of us cishet men are excused from this skill-building of doing emotional labor. we often don’t process emotions or hold space. as a consequence, women and queer folks are tasked with saving the day. they listen to us, schedule this and that, stroke our egos, and create comfort. they sustain us. in turn, we reap the benefits and return very little. i think there’s a multifaceted reason why we do this: part-immaturity, part-misogyny, part-you-are-so-much-better-at-this-adulting-and-caretaking-thing-i-will-freely-rest-on-my-laurels-yes-please-and-thank-you. 

fellas, it’s not too late for us to unlearn the old and practice anew. we should check ourselves. emotional labor doesn’t exist in a vacuum. we have to take responsibility for ourselves. emotional labor is a skill, which we should begin to hone. we have plenty of emotional labor to reciprocate. let’s start now.

Join Us to Help End Domestic Violence

October is Domestic Violence Awareness Month, and CASS is joining survivors, advocates, and allies to spread the word.

Did you know that one in four women and one in seven men will experience severe physical violence by a partner in their lifetime? For Black and Hispanic women, this number jumps to 30 and 33 percent, respectively. And for trans folks, it’s estimated that 30-50 percent have experienced domestic violence.

This is an issue that affects all of us, and it’s one we cannot be silent about this or any month.

Here’s a look at what we’ll be doing this month to help end domestic violence:

  • Stop Light Party – October 14
    Join us for a fun evening of building healthy relationships at our DVAM Stop Light Party!
  • Twitter Chat – October 17
    The National Network to End Domestic Violence’s DVAM Twitter Chat will be from 2-3 pm on the 17th in both English and Spanish. Use #Safety4Survivors to add your voice to the conversation. More information on the chat and NNEDV’s Week of Action is available here.
  • #PurpleThursday – October 19
    Wear purple to bring awareness to domestic violence. Share a photo of your #PurpleThursday style with us – tag us @SafeSpacesDC!
  • Safe Bar Collective Training – October 22
    We’re offering a public, discounted Safe Bar Collective Training. Groups of two or more bar/restaurant staff members can attend to become safety captains at their establishment.

Plus, we’re debuting a new poster in the coming weeks! Keep an eye out for ways you can be an active bystander.

If you or someone you know is experiencing domestic violence, we encourage you to seek out help and resources from DC Coalition Against Domestic Violence (DCCADV) and D.C.’s crime victims hotline.


Image courtesy of National Network to End Domestic Violence.

YOU have the power to stop harassment.

posted in: CASS Updates, Policy | 0

We’re about to step up our game to create policy solutions to prevent street harassment, and we need YOU!

The Street Harassment Prevention Act, which we affectionately call SHPA, will broaden the definition of street harassment to include our most marginalized communities. And the SHPA will create mechanisms of data collection and training requirements to make sure that everyone’s experience of street harassment is recognized and addressed.

CASS and our partner organizations who are working to pass SHPA know that we need holistic solutions to the problem of street harassment that rely on community-based initiatives rather than law enforcement.

We’ve already brought together a coalition and a hearing for the legislation. Now, we’re bringing together stakeholders and volunteers in mid-October to chart out strategy to pass and fund SHPA — centering the most impacted people in the process. We need YOU to join in that roundtable and coordinate the effort, or to add to our people power by stepping as a SHPA volunteer to make phone calls, lobby, flier, and get the word out!

Please contact CASS policy volunteer Leah at if you’re interested in either joining in the roundtable or signing up to volunteer to help us #PassSHPA!

Together, we have the power to make our streets safer for everyone.

In other things you can do right now:

1) Tweet your general support.

2) Call or Tweet at your councilmember and tell them why you support the bill. Check your Ward. If you or your friends live in Wards 3 or 7, call or Tweet at your councilmembers and tell them to #PassSHPA. At-large members represent all of DC, so everyone should call and Tweet at Councilmember Bonds.

Here’s a sample phone script: Hi, my name is _______ and I’m a DC resident. I’m calling to ask Councilmember [Your Councilmember or At-Large Councilmember] to pass the Street Harassment Prevention Act. In a time of rising hate and harassment that disproportionately affects women and LGBTQ people of color, we need community-based, non-criminal solutions like education, awareness, and training to make DC safer for everyone. Thank you.

Here’s a sample Tweet: Harassment is on the rise in the District. As a concerned resident, I’m asking you to take action – #PassSHPA! [Twitter handle of your Councilmember or At-Large Councilmember]

And here is the contact information you can plug in:

Ward 3: Contact Councilmember Mary Cheh at (202) 724-8062 or on Twitter at @MaryCheh
Ward 7: Councilmember Vincent Gray at (202) 724-8068 or on Twitter at @VinceGrayWard7
At-Large: Councilmember Anita Bonds at (202) 724-8064 or on Twitter at @AnitaBondsDC

24 New Members of the Collective Action Circle!

You’re awesome!

Thanks to many of you and your generous support over the last two weeks, we have 24 new members in our Collective Action Circle and we’re bringing in an additional $6,120 each year!

This outpouring of support will help us expand our staff and move into a new office space, so we can invest greater resources in awesome programs like the Safe Bar Collective and continue to build a strong, supportive community.

“I’m constantly inspired by the passion, skills, and commitment from the CASS community — and how it has continued to grow and evolve to tackle some of the biggest issues facing women and LGBTQIA+ people of color. Keeping the organization sustainable is critical to keeping our DC community safe and I’m proud to be a member of the Collective Action Circle” – Claire S. Gould

None of the work we do could happen without YOU. If you missed the campaign last week, you can still participate as a monthly donor here.

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