Bystander Intervention Training in Action

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Time: Night (7:30pm-12am)
Location: Petworth

I was walking home and heard sobbing and shouting from across the street. As I crossed, I saw a man holding a woman around her waist and pulling her down the block. I sped up until I was a little behind them and decided to intervene by asking ‘Hey, are you okay?’ as I learned in the CASS training.

The woman was crying very hard and didn’t answer me but her abuser let her go and came to yell at me. He called me a bitch and I backed up some and told him that he didn’t need to speak to me like that, I was just asking if she was okay.

As he was heading back to the woman, a police car came around the corner and parked near the couple. The officers got out and separated the couple, arresting him. Someone else had seen and called 911.

I went to speak to the woman and we sat down on a bench. She was in shock and panicking, we sat down and I introduced myself. We did some breathing exercises together to help her regain calm. I offered to stay with her until the police were done, she said yes so I did and we talked until she said was feeling more in control and able to head home.

I’m thankful that CASS helped prepare me to best support her.

Submitted 1/7/17 by “KS”

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).

“He continued to follow me, and I warned him I would call 911.”

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Time: Daytime (9:30am-3:30pm)
Location: Little Falls Park Trail, Little Falls Parkway & Dorset Ave

I was walking along a park path during the day when I came upon a man walking his dog in the park. The dog was unleashed, in a park with leash laws. As I passed, the dog ran toward me and started jumping on my legs and getting entangled in my feet.

I said, “Please get your dog under control.”

The owner scowled at me.

I said, “The dog needs to be on a leash.”

So, he put the dog on its leash. Then, he proceeded to shadow me from behind, within 12 inches of my body so that the dog could still jump on me and get entangled in my feet–yet, it was leashed. I turned around, faced him squarely, and said, “back off.” He didn’t move. As I began to walk again, he came closer and walked alongside me, again letting the dog get under my feet and standing within 12 inches of my body.

So, I stopped to let him pass.

And he stopped.

I turned to him squarely and told him to stop harassing me or I would take his picture. To this, he approached me to within 6 inches of my face and said, “Well, you want to take my picture.”

I backed up and photographed him with my phone. I have a very clear picture of him, his dog, and his face.

He continued to follow me for a few minutes and I warned him I would call 911. He didn’t stop, so I called 911.

They put me in touch with the Park Police.

Thirty minutes later the police finally arrived. They took an incident report and promised me a detective would get in touch about the incident. I requested that assault charges be filed and also citation for the dog off leash. But they don’t know his name and they don’t know where he lives. No one from the Park Police has called to follow up and receive the picture I took. I can follow up, but, I don’t want to waste my energy because it seems like the police don’t care about enforcing the laws. I told the officer who took the report: this type of behavior lies on the trajectory to rape.

It will stop. It is going to stop. I’m going to be part of the solution.

Submitted 12/21/16 by “Cheryl H.”

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).

“No one stepped in to help me.”

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Time: Morning Rush Hour (5am-9:30am)
Location:Southern Avenue Station Bus Bay

I’m sexually harassed on a near-daily basis as I walk through the Southern Avenue bus bay to get to the metro station, but today was out of the ordinary. Two guys walked past me; one made some comment directed at me that I didn’t hear, and the other asked me, “Can I call you?” I replied, “No. Go away,” to which the men responded by laughing and mocking me, repeating “Go away” in a high-pitched voice. It was eerily similar to an elementary school playground. Not one of the approximately 20 people waiting for buses stepped in to help me as I walked away.

Submitted 12/13/16 by “JW”

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).

“He promptly started rubbing himself.”

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Time: Evening Rush Hour (3:30pm-7:30pm)
Location: Between McPherson Sq and Metro Center

I’m 5 months pregnant and was happy to find one empty seat on the metro train. I sat down next to a man who promptly started rubbing himself over his jeans.

Submitted 11/23/16 by “BL”

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).

Take Action to Stop Hate.

I’m Nona Conner and, apart from my role as CASS’s Program Fellow, I’m an employee at Casa Ruby LGBTQ Community Center. This past summer, I worked with Casa Ruby’s staff to organize a fun-filled pool day at Banneker Pool. We carefully planned a day where we wouldn’t bring too much attention and could still have a good time.

As it turned out, all the careful planning we did was in vain because upon entering the facility we were misgendered by staff. We asked for directions to the woman’s bathroom, and we were sent to the men’s room. We decided to let that level ignorance go, and we proceeded to the pool. We had a ball until it started to rain so we had to leave.

Upon leaving, we were called a host of names from “failure” to “pedophiles” by the aquatic staff.

When the incident made it into the news, CASS partnered with local trans-led consulting firm Parallax to train DC Department of Parks and Recreation (DPR) staff on trans cultural competency and bystander intervention to prevent future incidents of harassment and to make DC’s parks, pools, and rec centers safer for our trans communities.

But this training was not enough to repair the harm caused to those of us who were harassed and misgendered that day.

Another staff member and I went to the Office of Human Resources and filed a discrimination complaint. It took two weeks to get a date for an intake where we shared our side of the story. Three weeks later, we had a mediation date where a mediator, the lawyer from DC Department of Recreation, and I met to come to a settlement for the unwarranted treatment from DPR’s staff. After a short but informative discussion, I was awarded a settlement for my pain and suffering.

I urge all who are mistreated in any way, shape, form or fashion to take action to stop hate.

Share your experience and get help filing a discrimination complaint here. We’re here to help.

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