DC Hollaback Confronts Harassment at Metro Stations

REPOSTED FROM SAN LUIS OBISPO

The Metro Station and the citizens of DC are in a current debate over what constitutes as sexual harassment: is it mere flirtation or unwanted attention? Surprisingly, many officials have defended the right to sexually harass, implying that too much sensitivity has blurred the distinction between compliments and harassment. They have yet to explore how someone might feel when a stranger approaches them in a confined space (often at night) and makes them feel uncomfortable and scared.

The DC chapter of Hollaback, also known locally as CASS (Collective Action for Safe Spaces), has decided to take the matter to local government. With claims that transit police are not tracking reports of harassment and giving little consideration to gender-based harassment, activists are seeking out transit employee training, governmental action, and awareness. Hollaback has also pointed out that while New York, Boston, and Chicago have all instituted PSA campaigns against this issue, DC is still lacking anything to address a serious and frequent problem.

When reading Hollaback reports in cities where public transportation is an essential part of daily life, it is evident that there have been countless situations where a person feels violated, vulnerable, and unsafe. The DC chapter is commendable for taking action and going to their government. The Gender Equity Center for Cal Poly is also planning to talk to our city council on how to make this town safer for all people. If you feel that you have something to say about town safety, harassment, or you just want to show support, it is highly suggested that you attend this meeting. More information will be released in the coming weeks.

To inquire further about DC, check out the live feed of the DC meeting and this great Washington Post article.

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2 Responses

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  1. Amanda F. says:

    I was in DC for a summer internship and nearly every day a man (and sometimes women) would try “flirting” with me, and many times they would follow me out of the metro station, sometimes for a few blocks. Officials need to work against this!

  2. Enna says:

    It’s not just what is said, it is how it is said and the context. Compliments don’t have to be spoken in the Queen’s English but some men do have to think about their tone and body langauge. Being sexually explicit in my view is just pervy.

    There is a man in newsagents I sometimes go to, he has said some flirty things but they have been said in shy-geniue way. He says a joke then after seeing me smile says “you have a beautiful smile”. Now he is good at reading body-langauge and knows how to make a woman feel flatered and safe. If more men were like him the world would be a better place.

    Officals need to know the difference between something that would make a woman (or man) feel unsafe or uncomfortable.

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