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.


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


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

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

SafeBars- 1 line

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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Thank You, Hank’s Oyster Bar, For Being A Safe Space!

Thank You, Hank's Oyster Bar, for Being a Safe Space!
Thank You, Hank’s Oyster Bar, for Being a Safe Space!
  • What role can bar staff play in ending sexual violence?
  • What techniques do they already use to intervene in uncomfortable or even dangerous situations?
  • How can we learn from each other to add more?

These are just a few of the questions we posed during the bystander intervention workshop we conducted Monday with Hank’s Oyster Bar, a DC bar and restaurant located in Capitol Hill, Dupont Circle and Alexandria, Virginia. The workshop — in which we trained about 20 of Hank’s bartenders and managers — was part of our Safe Bars program to teach bar staff how to recognize and respond to incidents of sexual harassment and assault among staff and patrons.

The responses we heard from Hank’s employees were *amazing!* All of the trainees had stories of how they had stepped in to protect patrons who were being targeted for harassment. We spoke with Hank’s staff about the most current research on sexual assault, including its link to alcohol, and shared steps to intervene in and stop incidences of harassment.

It’s inspiring for CASS to be able to facilitate conversations like these and open up spaces for bar staff to continue to learn from each other about how to prevent sexual assault. We send a huge thank you to Hank for working with us and being a safe space for women and LGBTQ individuals in DC.


Safe Bars, a project of Collective Action for Safe Spaces (CASS) and Defend Yourself, draws from research showing that bartenders, bar staff and young adults who patronize alcohol-serving establishments are key populations to address in preventing sexual violence. In addition to research on bystander intervention, Safe Bars builds on the success of similar bar-focused anti-sexual assault programs in Arizona and Boston.


If you work at a bar, club, restaurant or other alcohol-serving establishment and you’d like to become a Safer Bar, we’d be happy to come and work with your staff. If you’re a member of the community and want to help us spread the word about Safe Bars, tell us of a bar you think needs this training, or support Safe Bars in any other way, contact Zosia at zosia@collectiveactiondc.org.

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