“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).

4 Ways Street Harassment and Domestic Violence Intersect

CASS Board Photo

Today DC is decked out in purple for Purple Thursday, an awareness day organized by the DC Coalition Against Domestic Violence (DCCADV). We at CASS are lending our support because we believe that street harassment and domestic violence are intrinsically linked.

1) Victim-blaming is rampant in both.

“Why didn’t she leave?” is a common question people ask when they hear about domestic violence. Take the very public cases of Rihanna or Janay Palmer, for example.

Similarly, men and women who experience street harassment and share their stories often get asked questions like, “why did you wear that outfit?”, “why didn’t you take a self-defense class?”, or “why can’t you take that as a compliment?”.

These questions put the blame squarely on the survivor, not the perpetrator. Such questions allow the violence and harassment to continue and they create an environment where people who speak out aren’t taken seriously.

2) Both are products of rape culture.

Common to both is a sense of entitlement and the need to exert power over someone else. Street harassment contributes to a society that allows a rape culture to thrive–a world where men feel comfortable giving unsolicited sexual advances to women they don’t know in public is the same world where men feel comfortable with rape. As Phaedra Starling writes:

A man who ignores a woman’s NO in a non-sexual setting is more likely to ignore NO in a sexual setting, as well…if you pursue a conversation when she’s tried to cut it off, you send a message. It is that your desire to speak trumps her right to be left alone.

3) Victims do not feel safe.

Domestic violence victims usually do not have any place to go where they will feel safe. Because of the ongoing history of the abusive relationship, the perpetrator knows all of the victim’s options and can follow the victim there. It takes money, a support network, and time for detailed planning to ensure that a victim can escape.

At CASS, we know that people who regularly experience sexual harassment in public often feel unsafe or vulnerable — and this can affect how how they live their lives, limiting their choices of where to go and how to get there.

4) Bystanders can make a difference.

Bystanders can make a big difference in ending the social acceptability of domestic violence and street harassment by speaking out. At CASS, we encourage men and women to share their stories with us and to attend trainings, like Safe Bars, to learn how to identify and intervene to prevent sexual harassment and assault.

 

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Time to Sing Your CASS Off!

Sing Your CASS Off

Here at CASS, we believe strongly in owning our space, in self-expression and in the healing power of art and music. It is with that in mind that we are partnering with our friends at District Karaoke to host a fundraising event like no other.

For one night only on Thursday, Oct. 22, performers from across the DMV will come together for a karaoke battle royale. Sing Your CASS Off is an interactive karaoke event that gives every audience member a vote, alongside a panel of guest judges, to determine the city’s true karaoke champion.

Tickets are now on sale, and include seated and standing options. We invite you to enjoy complimentary drinks, hors d’oeuvres and a night of singing, dancing and costumes as iStrategyLabsDC BrauCongressional Chorus, Zipcar, FemEx, DC Bocce, representatives from the Washington Nationals and our very own CASS staff and board members compete for karaoke glory.

All proceeds from the event will go to sustain and grow current CASS programs, such as RightRides DC, a safe rides program for women and LGBTQ-identifying individuals, a sexual assault prevention training program for bar staff and continued Metro campaigns in partnership with WMATA.

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Followed By Car in Petworth: “Get in, Baby.”

Location: Petworth, Washington, DC
Time: Evening Rush Hour (3:30pm-7:30pm)

After work I decided to go for a brisk walk. It was broad daylight. I was walking down 9th Street when a car pulled up. The man rolled down the windows and was trying to coax me into the car with him. I could hardly hear what he was saying, but it was something along the lines of “get in, baby.” I ignored him, and he continued to follow me in his car. Finally I saw a man and his pregnant wife walking. I started screaming and making a scene. I screamed “GO AWAY!” at the man in the car repeatedly. He did not react other than to smirk until the couple came over and offered to walk with me until I felt safe.

Submitted 9/15/15 by “Anonymous”

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).

Home Isn’t Safe: “I felt like a sexual object… in my own front yard.”

Location: 12th St. NE & Girard St. NE, Washington, DC
Time: Evening Rush Hour (3:30pm-7:30pm)

Tonight, I was walking into my own front yard and saying “hi” to a neighbor (also female) who lives in my building while we retrieved our keys from our purses to go inside. Someone yelled, “Hey, ladies, looking good!” at us. I looked at her and said, “Did that come from a car?” Her: “I think so, there’s no one walking by.” While I did look at the cars waiting for the light to change with a stern and unamused look on my face, there was no way I could determine who yelled out at us. I felt like a sexual object that received passing commentary in my own front yard.

Submitted 9/10/15 by “TD”

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).

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