Providing free training across the District to teach safe intervention when experiencing or witnessing harassment in public spaces
(WASHINGTON, DC) – Today, the District of Columbia Office of Human Rights (OHR) announced its partnership with L’Oréal Paris and non-profit organization, Hollaback! to provide free training on street harassment prevention and bystander intervention for up to 2,000 District employees and residents by December 31, 2021. This announcement comes on Purple Thursday – a national day of action and support in ending domestic violence and after the third anniversary of Mayor Muriel Bowser signing into law the Street Harassment Prevention Act (SHPA) in September 2018. SHPA is a first of its kind legislation that created a legal definition for street harassment and established an Advisory Committee to assess its prevalence in the District and recommended solutions.
In 2019, 69% of surveyed District residents reported they had experienced verbal street harassment in the city in the prior six months and 40% had experienced physical street harassment, as detailed in the OHR report, The State of Street Harassment in DC. However, over the course of the year 2020, significant shifts in the victims and types of street harassment occurred nationally and locally.
“The COVID-19 pandemic unearthed many challenges for us all, but one of the most harmful was the resistance to mask mandates and harassment due to harmful disinformation, faced by our communities of color, most specifically Asian and Pacific Islanders,” said OHR Director Mónica Palacio. “The deeply rooted biases that sometimes divide us can cause harassment to escalate to violence and our hope is to turn the tide by increasing solidarity and fighting against hate.”
In its 2021, similar shifts were observed worldwide and according to a global study conducted by, L’Oréal Paris in partnership with Ipsos, 78% of Americans said they felt less safe in public spaces, compared to pre-pandemic times. In fact, 72% of respondents agreed that wearing a mask has allowed people who harass to hide themselves and feel untouchable. OHR’s alliance with L’Oréal Paris and Hollaback!’s Stand Up Against Street Harassment campaign and training program is a response to the constant evolution of street harassment and unites the District with other jurisdictions, like New York City, in its strong commitment to addressing identity-based issues of public safety.
“D.C. has been a leader in the national conversation on street harassment for over 10 years. The city has been so deeply thoughtful on how we can support people who experience harassment without further criminalization, and their work is a model for governments globally,” said Emily May, Co-founder and Executive Director of Hollaback!. “On behalf of L’Oréal Paris and Hollaback!, we’re so honored to partner with the District government to bring Stand Up Against Street Harassment to scale. Together, we will equip District residents with tangible tools they can use to safely respond when they witness or experience harassment.”
Over the coming months, OHR is collaborating with District agencies and local organizations to bring bystander intervention training and resources to residents and city workers through the L’Oreal Paris’ Stand Up Against Street Harassment program. This October, several community-focused virtual sessions will be available for District residents, workers and visitors. On October 21, 2021, a free, one hour bystander intervention training will be held and open to the public as a part of DC’s Domestic Violence Awareness Month events and activities hosted by the DC Coalition Against Domestic Violence. To register for the training, hosted by Hollaback! visit, bit.ly/StandUpOct21.
For more on the District’s efforts to combat street harassment and to register for bystander intervention training with Hollaback!, visit ohr.dc.gov. To learn more about L’Oréal Paris’ “Stand Up to Street Harassment” campaign and training program across the globe visit StandUp-US.com.
About the District of Columbia Office of Human Rights
The District of Columbia Office of Human Rights (OHR) was established to eradicate discrimination, increase equal opportunity and protect human rights for persons who live in or visit the District of Columbia. The agency enforces local and federal human rights laws, including the DC Human Rights Act, by providing a legal process to those who believe they have been discriminated against. OHR also proactively enforces human rights in the District through Director’s Inquiries, which allow it to identify and investigate practices and policies that may be discriminatory.
Hollaback! has a mission to end harassment in all its forms by transforming the culture that perpetuates harassment and discrimination. We carry out this mission by building the power of everyday people to create safe and welcoming environments for all. We believe we all have a role to play in disrupting harassment and building a culture where it is no longer seen as “just the price you have to pay” for being a woman, LGBTQ+, a person of color, or any other marginalized identity. We teach people to take action, and to reach across their own identities to ally with others and establish a united front against harassment each time we witness it. For more information or how you can get involved, please visit www.ihollaback.org
About L’Oréal Paris
The L’Oréal Paris division of L’Oréal USA, Inc. is a total beauty care brand dedicated to empowering women by offering luxurious and innovative products and services available in the mass market. The brand’s signature tagline, “Because I’m Worth It,” was born in the United States in 1973 to celebrate the beauty and intrinsic self-worth of women, and for more than 100 years, L’Oréal Paris has been providing women around the world with products in four major beauty categories: hair color, haircare, skincare and cosmetics. With L’Oréal’s invention of hair color in 1909, the brand continues to serve as a leading innovator of hair products across color, care, and styling with brands such as Superior Preference, Féria, Colorista, Elvive, the Ever Collection, and Elnett Satin Hairspray. L’Oréal Paris provides scientifically-advanced skincare products that are tested to address individual skin concerns through its renowned brands Revitalift, Pure-Sugar, Pure-Clay, Age Perfect, and Sublime Bronze. L’Oréal Paris’ iconic cosmetics include best-seller Voluminous Lash Paradise, as well as the Infallible, True Match, Colour Riche, Voluminous, and Visible Lift collections. For more information about L’Oréal Paris and to receive personalized advice, expert tips, and exclusive content, please visit www.lorealparisusa.com or follow on Instagram (@LOrealParis), Twitter (@LOrealParisUSA), Facebook (@LOrealParisUSA), and Pinterest (@LOrealParisUSA).