We’re Testifying at DC City Council Tomorrow! Some Pro Tips.

We are SO excited about the DC Council street harassment roundtable TOMORROW, Thursday, December 3rd at 10am. This will be the first roundtable ever to address public sexual harassment and assault and will be our chance to tell DC City Council to step up and take action on this important issue.

If you’re signed up to testify, we’ve got a few tips on how to testify like a pro. If you’re not testifying, skip to tip #5 for information on virtually cheering for CASS and the roundtable.

Tip #1: Pat yourself on the back.

Give yourself a hug. High-five yourself. Because by testifying you’re helping to make DC a safer place to live for everyone.

Tip #2: Practice

Your testimony must be three minutes or less, so practice in the mirror a few times to make sure you’re within the time limit and comfortable with what you’re saying.

Tip #3: Bring copies of your testimony

You should have 8-10 printed copies of your testimony with you at the hearing to be distributed to the Councilors. And don’t forget one for yourself! Your copy can have larger type or spacing so that it’s easy for you to read.

Tip #4: Speak from the heart

Testifying can be intimidating, but remember that everyone in the room is there to listen to what you have to say. Your experiences offer an invaluable perspective on this issue and the needs of DC citizens. Take deep breaths and talk slowly and into the microphone so that everyone can hear you.

Tip #5: Tweet!

The roundtable is a wonderful opportunity to connect with the City Council in person, but we’ll also be hashtagging up a storm on twitter. Even if you can’t make the hearing, use the hashtag #raisethebar to tweet @councilofdc, @safespacesDC, and @ your council member. Let them know how excited you are that they’re supporting CASS in making DC safer for women and LGBTQGNC people.

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Today Is #GivingTuesday! Here’s How You Can Help Make Our Bars Safer.

Just this year, we’ve heard stories from 54 people who were sexually harassed in DC bars and nightclubs.

We know that’s just the tip of the iceberg.

That’s why we partnered with Defend Yourself to develop our Safe Bars program. While we’re advocating for policy solutions to make DC nightlife safer, we’re training bar staff to use bystander intervention skills to stop sexually aggressive behavior and prevent assault.

Please make a #GivingTuesday gift of $54 now, and your dollars can be matched! If we’re in first place on Razoo’s small nonprofit leaderboard then we’ll win an extra $4,000 — meaning every dollar you give today will be matched up to $4,000.

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Your gift today helps us make DC nightlife safer for people like Katelyn. She was at a nightclub in Dupont Circle when two men cornered her.

“They started touching me (one grabbed my thigh, the other my shoulders) and I resisted, shaking them off,” she wrote. “This angered one man and he scratched my face while trying to grab me.”

Give now, and help us #RaisetheBar for DC nightlife to make safety a priority!

Also, if you’re in DC tonight, come stop by Right Proper Brewing Company in Shaw for happy hour! We’ll be enjoying discounted happy hour specials, amazing raffle prizes (including this Cats Against Catcall-ender), and great company.

Cat Calendar

Work in a Bar? Participate in our Focus Group to Help End Harassment in Bars!

We’re working to make DC bars a safer place for everyone, and we need your help. Do you work at a bar or know people who do?

For years, Collective Action for Safe Spaces has been working hard advocating against public sexual harassment and assault in the District. We’ve made great strides, but we still have a ways to go before DC the safe space we know it can be. As we shared in an earlier post, we’re teaming up with Councilmember Brianne Nadeau and a number of local organizations to convene the first-ever DC City Council roundtable on street harassment and assault.SafeBars- 1 line

Among the many agencies that will be attending the roundtable, there will be a representative from the Alcoholic Beverage Regulation Administration (ABRA) present.

We developed our Safe Bars training program in partnership with Defend Yourself to address the problem of sexual harassment at bars — and equip bar staff with the skills to intervene to prevent assault. Next, we want to work with ABRA to incentivize bars to participate in this training.

You can help in two ways:

Attend our bar owner/manager/staff focus group on sexual harassment and assault in bars
Tuesday, November 24 from 11:30 AM – 12:30 PM
1615 M St NW, Ansel Adams Gallery Meeting Room
SIGN UP

AND/OR

Attend and/or testify at the DC City Council roundtable on street harassment and assault
Thursday, December 3 at 10 AM
John A. Wilson Building, Room 500, 1350 Pennsylvania Ave. NW
SIGN UP

Thank you for your help in fighting harassment and assault in DC!

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Hello, It’s Me: I Was Wondering How You Want to Be Part of #GivingTuesday?

We asked you what you wanted us to focus on in 2016, and you said *drumroll please…* Safe Bars

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We’ve heard from more than 50 people who have experienced harassment in DC bars and nightclubs this year, and we’ve responded by partnering with Defend Yourself to develop the Safe Bars training program. Safe Bars equips bar staff with the skills to intervene and prevent sexual harassment and assault in alcohol-serving establishments where people — and overwhelmingly women (90%!) — are at high risk.

We want to raise $11,300 for Safe Bars on #GivingTuesday. Are you ready?

Here are FOUR great ways to get involved:

    1. Mark your calendar for Tuesday, December 1, and pledge to give.
    2. Fundraise for us! Here’s how:
      • Create your fundraising page. Visit our #RaisetheBar campaign page on Razoo, and hit the “Fundraise” button under “Join This Team!”
      • Come up with a gimmick. Can you run a mile for every hundred dollars your friends give? Or maybe you’ll send embarrassing Christmas cards to everyone who donates to your page? Get creative!
      • Set a goal, and get yourself started with your own personal gift on December 1.
      • Ask your friends to give!
    3. Use our hashtag on #GivingTuesday to share why you want to #RaisetheBar to make safety a priority for DC nightlife.
    4. Join us for happy hour on #GivingTuesday to celebrate, raise more money, and check out adorable cat photos (fighting catcalls, of course).

So are you ready for December 1? We are!

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Women & Bicycles Add Tools To Their Anti-Harassment Toolbox

Last month, a group of women-identifying cyclists from the Washington Area Bicyclist Association (WABA) gathered in the basement of the Petworth public library to attend CASS’s street harassment workshop.

While cycling can be fun and empowering, it can also be frustrating and even down right scary.

CASS’s workshop introduced prevention and empowerment strategies that could be used by people who experience sexual harassment in public, both on and off bicycles.

WABA Training 3

Here are 4 verbal methods you can use to engage the perpetrator:

  1. Look at the person and say “Hello”. Give them a respectful “hello” or “how are you?”This method is great for three reasons. First, It’s proactive. Second, it firmly establishes you as an agent in the space, instead of an object moving through it. Third, it opens up the possibility that there could be a community here that includes everyone. Instead of wresting power away from each other in this back and forth struggle, it opens up the possibility that we could share it, or even build it together.
  1. Be assertive and make a direct command. “Leave me alone!” “I’m not interested.” “Don’t talk to me that way.” Be sure to breathe and act calm and confident even if you don’t feel that way. When you deliver these responses, you want to do so with a strong voice, strong body language, and eye contact if you feel comfortable doing so. No “please” or “um”.
  2. Name the behavior – LOUDLY—so that everyone can hear you. “You’ve been following me for six blocks! Stop following me!” This response is good because it holds the harasser responsible for their behavior and it demands that the behavior stop.
  3. Add body language to your verbal response. Put up a “stop sign”. Put your hand in front of your chest, palm out, arm extended and look at the harasser and say “stop right there.”

We acknowledge that when you’re on a bike, harassment can happen very quickly. Either you’re zooming by the harasser or they are zooming by you. This can make it hard to respond. However, the more you practice these responses, the more quickly you’ll be able to deploy them when the time comes.

And most importantly, in all cases, you should choose the response that makes you feel the most safe and in control.

For more information on CASS’s Trainings and Workshops visit our website or contact us at workshops@collectiveactiondc.org.

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