Thank You, CASS Community!

Happy National Volunteer Week!

As you know, CASS is volunteer-run nonprofit. This week, we send an especially HUGE thanks to the DC community members that volunteer their time to make our work possible! This includes the over 400 community members that signed onto join the DC Justice for Survivors Campaign (DC JSC), which yesterday succeeded in helping pass landmark sexual assault reforms in DC.

We’re so proud! Thank you to all the volunteers that support us. We couldn’t do this work without you!

TAKE ACTION: Tell DC Council to Stand With Survivors On Tuesday!

We’re elated to report that - following over a year of hard work by CASS and our coalition partners - the Sexual Assault Victims Rights Amendment Act of 2013 (SAVRAA) is poised for passage by the DC Council this Tuesday, April 8. SAVRAA is critical legislation to protect and ensure the fair and just treatment of those who report sexual assault in the District. Our city needs this legislation urgently.

Unfortunately, the Metropolitan Police Department (MPD) is attempting to weaken or delay passage of SAVRAA through behind-the-scenes maneuvering. We need your help to tell DC Council to stand with survivors and not weaken the bill!

Sign our letter to DC Council! 

There is power in numbers, and your voice makes a difference. Please sign on to show your support and then tell your friends, families and colleagues to do the same!

Next, join our Thunderclap!

The Thunderclap makes it a one-stop process for you to voice your support and make a difference. Be sure to click “ADD MY SUPPORT” in addition to creating a tweet or Facebook post – we need that in order to have your action count!

Last way you can help? SHARE this page on Facebook, Twitter, email, etc! You can also keep the momentum going by sending our sample tweets now through Tuesday!

Formed by Collective Action for Safe Spaces (CASS), the DC Rape Crisis Center (DCRCC) and National Organization for Women, DC Chapter (DC NOW), the DC Justice for Survivors Campaign (DC JSC) is a grassroots coalition of sexual assault survivors, direct service providers, advocacy organizations, allies and community members working to increase and codify the rights of and improve services for survivors of sexual assault in the District of Columbia. 

“I Deserve to Walk Down the Street & NOT Have A Stranger Grab My Ass.”

Location: 12th & F St NW (Metro Center)
Time: Daytime (9:30am-3:30pm)

I was approached by the perpetrator and asked for money. I said no and he waited to make the comment, “I thought you were with a black man.” He then followed me [and my partner] 2 blocks to the corner off 12th & F st NW. We stopped for a light and he ran his hand between my ass cheeks. He was confronted by my partner and ran across the street.

Submitted 2/17/14 by “Julia R.”

Take a stand against public sexual harassment and assault: Donate now.

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: Whether the event is happening at the moment or occurred months ago, we strongly encourage you to report to Metro Transit Police (MTP): or 202-962-2121. Reporting helps identify suspects as well as commons trends in harassment. Recommended tip: 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).

Why We Won’t Be Rising This Year

Here at CASS, we always say that your stories matter. We believe in this so much that we ask you to raise your voice and speak out about your experiences of public sexual harassment and assault on our blog. And time and time again, be it in our WMATA advocacy or our community workshops, you’ve proven to us how much a few voices – or even just one – can change the city we live in.

But if our voices matter, then it also matters when and how we use them. This is why, when February 14 rolls around, CASS will not be participating in V-Day’s One Billion Rising campaign. The ways in which this campaign has co-opted or erased the community-driven work of people of color — while representing this erasure as the price to pay in building a universal movement — have been well-documented since the campaign’s beginnings, and the conversation is far from over. The movement to end gender-based violence can and should involve learning, solidarity and alliances across communities and borders. But CASS recognizes that not all communities experience gender-based violence in the same way(s), and that effective and sustainable responses to violence must, by definition, be community-driven.

Instead of supporting One Billion Rising this Friday, we will use the small platform we have to show our solidarity with the good work of activists and organizations that are responding to the needs of their communities in innovative ways.

CASS staff is working hard to ensure that our values of diversity and accountability inform everything that we do. We’ll be updating our anti-racism policy and other related materials in the coming weeks — keep an eye on our blog! And, as always, if you have any questions or comments, we’re here to listen. Email with your thoughts.

TAKE ACTION: Sign On To Support Survivors in DC!

In December, survivors, advocates, and organizations (including many of you!) joined together at a public hearing to tell DC Council, in no uncertain terms, that our community wants justice for sexual assault survivors. The DC Council Committee on the Judiciary and Public Safety hearing regarding the Sexual Assault Victims’ Rights Amendment Act (SAVRAA) of 2013 was a resounding success. But there is still more work to be done.

Since the hearing, we’ve heard from even more individuals and organizations wanting to support needed changes to SAVRAA. To accommodate this growing movement, Collective Action for Safe SpacesDC Rape Crisis Center (DCRCC) and National Organization for Women DC Chapter (DC NOW), survivors and community advocates have launched the DC Justice For Survivors Campaign (DC JSC). Through this campaign, we will work to ensure that DC Council passes the strongest bill possible to protect and increase the rights of survivors.

What we’re asking of you:

Add your name to the DC Justice for Survivors Campaign (DC JSC) as a supporter.

You can sign on behalf of an organization or as an individual/community member. Your name, organization (if applicable), and Ward number will be included in this first letter sent on behalf of the DC Justice for Survivors Coalition to the Mayor and all members of DC Council. Be sure to read the letter we’re sending to DC Council, which outlines our support for SAVRAA as well as recommendations to improve the bill, including:

  1. Remove any exception to a survivor’s right to a sexual assault victim advocate;
  2. Establish a comprehensive external sexual assault case review process, and
  3. Require the inclusion of an independent consultant to assist MPD with implementation of reforms. 

Next, get involved in our organizing efforts!

If you want to do more, be sure to select “I want to get more involved” when you sign your name to the letter. Want to take an extra step? Send this page to any friends, neighbors and colleagues you who know might also show their support! We’re especially looking for sign-ons from DC organizations. The more support we have, the stronger the bill we have for survivors.

By signing on, you are supporting the DC Justice for Survivors Campaign’s (JSC) organizing principles, goals, and recommendations for a stronger Sexual Assault Victims’ Rights Amendment Act (SAVRAA). Your signature makes a difference, and by signing on to the DC Justice for Survivors Campaign, you are helping to make history here in the District.

In The News

For more info on the DC Justice for Survivors Campaign, see our press release.

The DC Justice for Survivors Campaign (DC JSC) is a grassroots coalition of sexual assault survivors, direct service providers, advocacy organizations, allies and community members working to increase the rights of and improve services for survivors of sexual assault in the District of Columbia. Formed by Collective Action for Safe Spaces, (CASS), the DC Rape Crisis Center and DC NOW, the DC JSC believes that sexual assault survivors must receive fair and compassionate treatment from first responders, service providers and members of law enforcement and the justice system. We believe there should be greater transparency by agencies and organizations that work with survivors of sexual assault to reduce revictimization.