“Do You Know This Man?”: Bystander Who Intervened

Location: Ben’s Chili Bowl, Washington, DC
Time: Evening Rush Hour (3:30pm-7:30pm)

I had just ordered my food, and I was walking with my toddler to sit down at a table. A man came extremely close to me as though he was going to touch me saying “Come here,” and “What’s your name?” I responded, “I am having dinner with my toddler. Please leave me alone.” and tried to rush past him. A staffer came over and asked me, “Do you know this man?” When I replied “not at all,” he physically stepped between us, said something calmly and quietly to the man who was harassing me, and he escorted the man out. I’m shaken up by the experience, but so grateful for the bystander who intervened.

Submitted 10/22/15 by “JR”

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).

“I ran after him to confront him, and he turned around [and] punched me in the face.”

posted in: U Street | 3

Location:  14th & U Street NW – Outside McDonalds
Time: Late Night (12am-5am)

I had been getting a lot of guys calling out to me all night and I was tired of it. I was with 3 friends waiting for a cab when a man called out to my friend from inside his car something along the lines of “hey baby, want a ride?” When I told her to turn around and ignore it, he called me a “fat bitch.” Out of frustration, and yes it was a mistake, I walked over to his car and dumped my cup of soda all over him before he drove away.

About 10 minutes later, still waiting for a cab, the man, who was middle aged and about twice my size, walked up from nowhere and dumped a drink over me, again calling me a bitch. I ran after him to confront him, and he turned around, punched me in the face, grabbed my shoulders, and threw me to the ground so my head slammed against the pavement. He ran off, and the only thing any of the 50+ people waiting at the corner and bus stop did was help me pick up my glasses.

The McDonalds security guard didn’t believe me at first and then told me I needed to find the police because he couldn’t do anything. The police, who were very hard to track down, recommended I not file a police report because they would have to take me in because I assaulted him first.

Submitted on 11/13/12 by “CEO”

Do you have a personal experience with gender-based public sexual harassment or assault?
Submit 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:
Please consider reporting to Metro Transit Police: www.wmata.com/harassment; 202-962-2121.

 

VIDEO: Watch Us Speak Out Against Harassment on the DC Metro!

When feminist activist Ben Atherton-Zeman asked us if we wanted to produce a public theater piece he’d written to address harassment on the Metro, we said ABSOLUTELY! Even though WMATA has made huge strides towards addressing public sexual harassment and assault, we continue to receive submissions from people who were harassed or otherwise violated on Metro cars or buses. We were so excited to bring our message to the people who matter most: YOU.

In August, with the help of our good friend Holly Kearl, videographer Micah Bochart, and volunteers John Bartelloni and Graham Boyle, we took our act onto actual Metro cars. The skit shows how intrusive and humiliating public sexual harassment can be, as well as the empowerment that can come from “hollering back” and bystander intervention. Check it out!

Micah Bochart, Holly Kearl, Ben Atherton-Zeman, Zosia Sztykowski

ABOUT HARASSMENT ON THE DC METRO SYSTEM

    • In the hundreds of incidents of public sexual harassment CASS has collected since 2009, at least 30 percent took place on or around Metro transit stations, trains, or buses.
    • According to Metro, 84 cases involving sexual offenses were reported to Transit Police in 2011. They included one rape and 40 cases of indecent exposure or other sexual acts. Of the 40, 12 involved arrests.
    • Until this spring, Metro did not track sexual harassment complaints. Our metro skit aims to bolster WMATA’s recent efforts to tackle harassment on the Metro system.

WANT TO PERFORM THE SKIT ON YOUR OWN TRANSIT SYSTEM?

Contact CASS or Ben for the script and guidance on how to pull it off!

“You should be ashamed.”

How many individuals feel when facing street & sexual harassment…

Location: Near Whole Foods in Foggy Bottom
Time: Night (7:30pm-12am)

I was eating outside at the Whole Foods on 22nd St. in Foggy Bottom. A rather obese 60s male sat down nearby and proceeded to make bizarre and inappropriate comments to virtually any young single woman who walked by. Only later I thought that I should have said, “What if that was your daughter walking home from work. You should be ashamed.”

Submitted on 7/14/12 by “Eric Lamar”

If you experience or have experienced sexual harassment on the DC Metro system:
Please consider reporting to Metro Transit Police; www.wmata.com/harassment, on Twitter at @WMATAharassment, or 202-962-2121.

Do you have a personal experience with gender-based public sexual harassment or assault? Submit your story to help raise awareness about the pervasiveness and harmful effects of street harassment. All submissions are posted anonymously unless otherwise specified.

“You can delete the photos you’ve been taking of women’s body parts, or I’m going to announce to everyone exactly what you’re doing.”

posted in: WMATA | 12

Location: Metro – Orange Line towards Vienna starting at Farragut West Metro stop; confrontation occurred near Courthouse stop
Time: Night (7:30pm-12am)

Fourth of July, coming back from the National Mall. Group of us were on a crowded train and an older guy in his late 50s/early 60s, balding white hair, 5’2″, with a European (non-British) accent was using one of those super-zoom point and shoot cameras to take photos of women’s body parts. I didn’t say anything at first because it looked like he could have been taking some urban/street photography photos. But after noticing him taking photographs of exclusively women and specific body parts, I decided to confront him.He was sitting on the aisle seat, first row next to where the map is displayed at each end of a metro car, so he had a lot of open space to take his photos. I went up to him and bent down and said, “You can delete the photos you’ve been taking of women’s body parts, or I’m going to announce to everyone exactly what you’re doing.”

I knew that if he was a real urban/street photographer, he would have responded by defending his body of work. Instead, he feigned not understanding English, and I instead announced it aloud for everyone on my half of the car to hear. He brought up going to the police, and I said it is perfectly within his First Amendment rights to take photos of people in public who have no expectation of privacy, but I was going to let everyone know what he was doing. He tried denying taking photos and I stood directly in front of him, facing him – he kept wanting to go to the police (probably knowing he is within his right), and I kept suggesting he get off the train.

Eventually, he got off at Virginia Square, and it appears the women directly around him kind of had an idea what he was doing and mouthed/said thanks. The two big takeaways for me were: Take a photo next time of the guy in the act (or just a pic of him) – urban/street photogs (real ones) are often confused for these “bottom feeder” photographers.

As a photographer myself, I loathe being associated with these guys. But as long as the person is in public and there is no reasonable expectation of privacy, they are not technically doing anything illegal. If they were using the camera to commit a crime like upskirt photos, that’s a different story and the cops should be called in immediately. These photographers are cowards and shrink away in the face of confrontation.

Submitted on 7/5/12 by “WC”

If you experience or have experienced sexual harassment on the DC Metro system:
Please consider reporting online to Metro Transit Police, on Twitter at @WMATAharassment, or at 202-962-2121. [WMATA’s Anti-Sexual Harassment Policy, implemented in Spring 2012, is a result of CASS’s campaign. Read more here.]

Do you have a personal experience with gender-based public sexual harassment or assault?
Submit your story 
to help raise awareness about the pervasiveness and harmful effects of street harassment. All submissions are posted anonymously unless otherwise specified.

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