At CASS, we know the impact of public sexual harassment and assault reaches far beyond the initial feelings of fear, anger, or annoyance it can elicit in those who experience it. Research shows that experiences of harassment cause “insidious trauma” and lead to heightened anxiety over physical safety, especially among African American women, who also report more harassment experiences.

Our new policy paper–sent to the DC Council, to make the case for a roundtable on the issue this fall–shows there is a definite clear pattern.Street harassment is experienced by a majority of women in DC and a large number of men, especially those who are young and/or come from marginalized communities, including the LGBTQ community. It seriously impacts peoples’ perceptions of personal safety and their physical and mental health. Fundamentally, harassment limits these individuals’ access to public space and important economic, educational, and social opportunities that should be available to everyone.

The experiences collected by CASS collected experiences via the website or our surveys occur at all times of day, in all parts of the city and surrounding areas. The personal stories illuminate the complexity of the issue and the trauma experienced by targets of harassment.

We want to hear from you! Shoot us an email with your thoughts at

Read the full paper here (or below).

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