We Want #NoMoreUpskirting in 2015

You might’ve seen the news by now: There’s a creep on the DC metro taking videos of unsuspecting female — mostly teen-aged — riders, and he’s posting the videos on a porn site.

There are still people in DC who think that women’s bodies are public property. With your support, we’re working to end sexual harassment on the Metro, and we’re providing safe alternatives for women and LGBTQ folks to get home through programs like RightRides DC.

We want to run RightRides DC every week in the new year. We really need your help! Make a gift to CASS right now to fuel RightRides DC in 2015. Even just $20 puts the fuel in one ZipCar to get women home without being sexually harassed!

Thanks to you, we now have people like Ramin on the streets. When he saw a man violently harass a woman outside of a Metro station, he stopped to support her. ”She tried to say she wasn’t wearing that short a skirt, but I said that wasn’t the problem,” he said. “I listened, and then repeated that it was not her fault.”

There’s one day left this year for you to support women and LGBTQ folks who are vulnerable to harassment. Please make a gift now.

P.S. Give $20 to stop sexual harassment now — and help us raise awareness! Share your stories of public sexual harassment on Twitter with the hashtag #NoMoreUpskirting and tweet that you’re supporting CASS today.

TAKE ACTION: Tell Mayor-Elect Bowser to Prevent Sexual Assault in DC!

TAKE ACTION: Tell Mayor-Elect Bowser to Prevent Sexual Assault in DC!This past year, Collective Action for Safe Spaces (CASS) helped form the Survivors Campaign (DC JSC), a grassroots coalition working to increase and codify the rights of and improve services for survivors of sexual assault in the District of Columbia. The DC JSC saw a huge success in its first campaign to pass the Sexual Assault Victims’ Rights Amendment Act (SAVRAA). Signed into law this summer, SAVRAA is groundbreaking legislation to protect survivors in DC, including helping decrease the backlog of rape kits in the District and codify a survivor’s right to an advocate.

But there’s more work ahead! Now, we’re telling Mayor-Elect Bowser to ensure implementation of SAVRAA and make sexual assault a priority focus area of her administration, and we need your help!

Join us in urging Mayor-Elect Browser to ensure successful implementation of the Sexual Assault Victims’ Rights Amendment Act of 2014 (SAVRAA).

We’ve written a letter to Mayor-Elect Bowser stressing the need to fully implement SAVRAA and improve DC’s response to sexual assault. With your support, we can let the new Mayor know that she can be one of the first leaders of any city in the country to make sexual assault prevention a key focus area. 

Tell Mayor-Elect Bowser: Sexual assault affects us all. Please prioritize the implementation of SAVRAA, and make combatting sexual violence a key part of your work to promote public safety in the District!

Thank you for your time and support. Together, we can create a safer DC.

Signed,
DC Justice for Survivors Campaign members

P.S. Are you on Twitter? Click here to send a tweet to Mayor Bowser!

Finding Non-Criminal Solutions to Street Harassment

Here at CASS, we think that the key to ending public sexual harassment and assault is true collective action, action that values every voice — including yours — and center the experiences of the most marginalized. In our writing, workshops, and more, we encourage you to find creative, community-based solutions to make your neighborhood, school, or workplace more safe. Calling upon law enforcement is just one intervention out of many.

We think that offering this variety of interventions is empowering and effective — and the research agrees — but there’s more to it, and it’s time we made that explicit. We stand in solidarity with the many survivors and community advocates from communities of color who routinely experience harm from a legal system that perceives them as more “criminal” than others. From their work, we know that the criminal legal system perpetuates and inflicts structural and interpersonal violence against women and LGBTQGNC individuals. We share – and are working to realize – their vision of a world where we overcome the racist and sexist legacies of our nation’s criminal legal system; where individuals are held accountable for harm they cause, and justice works to restore communities instead of tearing them apart.

While developing our strategic plan over the past year, we reviewed our organizational values. And, though we have always stood against further criminalization of harassing behaviors in public, it wasn’t explicit in our original value statements. Starting now, we want to be clear about committing to working with you to find non-criminal solutions to the problem of public sexual harassment and assault. After lengthy discussions and drafting sessions, we’ve added the following statement to our organizational values:

CASS acknowledges that the criminal legal system perpetuates and inflicts structural and interpersonal violence against women and LGBTQGNC individuals, especially those who are people of color. For this reason, CASS does not support further criminalization of public sexual harassment and assault as a strategy to end public sexual violence, and encourages the community to look outside the criminal legal system to address the entrenched structural aspects of this violence. CASS also values the right of every survivor to choose the path that they feel will lead them to healing. In cases in which survivors choose to engage with the criminal legal system, CASS is committed to ensuring that its responses are survivor-centered and trauma-informed. (Emphasis added.)

This is about holding ourselves, and you, accountable for hearing every voice. Some of you may not identify with this new value. Others may find that it resonates deeply. Wherever you stand, we hope that you are with us when we say that it’s only with every voice valued and accounted for that we can address this complicated and entrenched problem. This includes the voice of the person standing on the street corner with you, the person driving the bus, the cyclist next to you, and the law enforcement officer in your neighborhood — people who share your experiences, and people who don’t.

In this same vein, we want to be clear that CASS will always support the right of every survivor to choose the path that will lead them to healing, including the choice to engage with the criminal legal system. We are committed to working alongside survivors and advocates in our community to ensure that the system’s response to these survivors is trauma-informed and survivor-centered.

Check out our organizational values to learn more, and reach out to us at info@collectiveactiondc.org with your thoughts, questions and comments.

PHOTOS: We Showed DC That #ItTakesAllofUs!

#ItTakesAllofUs

• Because in order for all of us (and our families, friends, and neighbors) to be safe, we have to change our culture.
• Because we may all experience gender-based violence, but not all our experiences are the same.
• Because culture change is hard work, but it is not impossible.
• Because all of us have the capacity to make a difference — but we are a LOT more powerful when we do it together.

Here’s our recap of our July 26th event, #ItTakesAllofUs, where you joined us in conversations and workshops to help end sexual violence! The more work for all of you to make DC a safer city, the more we realize how rare and special it is to get together and talk about what we believe in. That’s why it was so incredible to see about 35 of you join us for #ItTakesAllofUs.

On that beautiful day in Malcolm X Park, we shared our stories and skills for every day violence prevention with each other. Most importantly, we committed to working together in the future toward our vision of a city free of gender-based violence. You truly inspired and energized us and we can’t wait to imagine with you again soon!

Want to bring our experienced trainers and facilitators to your next meeting or event? Contact Zosia; zosia@collectiveactiondc.org.

collective action for safe spaces street and sexual harassment in dc

collective action for safe spaces street and sexual harassment in dc

collective action for safe spaces street and sexual harassment in dc

collective action for safe spaces street and sexual harassment in dc

collective action for safe spaces street and sexual harassment in dc

collective action for safe spaces street and sexual harassment in dc

collective action for safe spaces street and sexual harassment in dc

collective action for safe spaces street and sexual harassment in dc

collective action for safe spaces street and sexual harassment in dc

collective action for safe spaces street and sexual harassment in dc

collective action for safe spaces street and sexual harassment in dc

collective action for safe spaces street and sexual harassment in dc

collective action for safe spaces street and sexual harassment in dc

collective action for safe spaces street and sexual harassment in dc

collective action for safe spaces street and sexual harassment in dc

collective action for safe spaces street and sexual harassment in dc

collective action for safe spaces street and sexual harassment in dc

collective action for safe spaces street and sexual harassment in dc

collective action for safe spaces street and sexual harassment in dc

collective action for safe spaces street and sexual harassment in dc

collective action for safe spaces street and sexual harassment in dc

How Uber Can Take Action Against Sexual Assault

How Uber Can Take Action Against Sexual Assault

According to media reports and court documents, an UberDC driver was arrested Saturday on a sexual abuse charge after a woman reported the assault to police last month.

We were deeply saddened this week to read the news of a sexual assault allegedly perpetrated by a UberDC driver. According to media reports and court documents, an UberDC driver was arrested Saturday on a sexual abuse charge after a woman reported the assault to police last month. We hope this tragedy will help Uber realize the necessity and urgency of providing safety measures to protect its riders — an issue that CASS has raised with the business numerous times in recent years, including as recently as this spring.

We first reached out to Uber after an UberDC driver was charged with sexually assaulting a female client in December 2012 in Cleveland Park. At the time, we urged Uber to consider mandating anti-sexual assault training for its drivers, a measure that we successfully encouraged Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority (WMATA) to implement the same year, which is currently being rolled out. We contacted Uber again earlier this year when the company instituted its $1 “safety fee,” again asking the company to give the community what it really wants in order to feel safe and implement sexual harassment and assault prevention training for its employees.

In order to help illustrate the pressing need for increased safety measures from Uber, we surveyed community members about what safety measures they wanted to see from the rideshare service. According to our survey findings, DC community members strongly want Uber to take preventive measures against sexual assault and use greater transparency when speaking about its safety measures and what it’s doing to address sexual assault. Specifically, community members and Uber clients want to see Uber implement anti-sexual assault trainings for drivers and staff. They also want Uber to establish an online portal, similar to WMATA’s, so that patrons can anonymously report sexual harassment, thereby helping Uber gather information and better address the issue. The message is clear: DC community members want more commitment to safety from transportation services like Uber.

Recently, we’ve seen positive action on behalf of DC businesses in recognizing their part in ending sexual violence. Over the past year, a handful of bars and restaurants have participated in our Safe Bars program, which trains and empowers staff at alcohol-serving establishments to recognize and respond to incidents of sexual harassment and assault. And in addition to WMATA and its ongoing anti-sexual harassment work, we’ve worked with companies like Pepco and Bare Minerals to address sexual harassment. We hope that Uber will also rise to the occasion.

We know only about this most recent sexual abuse allegation against Uber because the survivor chose to report to authorities, but not everyone makes that choice, for a variety of reasons. With sexual assault being one of the most underreported crimes, many similar incidents may go unreported. Safety measures like staff trainings and a process for reporting sexual harassment and assault would help show Uber’s commitment to keeping its clients safe. In the meantime, we at CASS look forward to launching RightRides DC this fall, a program that will provide free and safe late-night rides home for women and LGBTQ folks. No one should fear sexual violence, and everyone deserves a safe ride home. We hope that Uber makes steps to show the community that they feel the same.

Want to help us launch RightRides DC this fall? Donate now.
DonateNow