For immediate release: April 4, 2017

Metro Transit Police partner with advocacy groups to raise awareness about sexual harassment today, April 4

Metro Transit Police Department is partnering with advocacy groups in support of Sexual Assault Awareness Month and Anti-Street Harassment Week, including outreach at several Metro stations this afternoon.

Today, April 4, Metro Transit Police officers will join with Collective Action for Safe Spaces (CASS) and Stop Street Harassment to raise awareness about sexual harassment at Metro stations in Maryland, Virginia and the District. The outreach is intended to reinforce the message that public transit is a safe space for every rider, and to encourage anyone who feels that they are the victim of harassment to report it to police.

“Everyone deserves to be treated with respect and have the right to travel without being harassed or intimidated,” said Metro Transit Police Chief Ron Pavlik. “We encourage anyone who feels they have been the victim of harassment to report it regardless of whether you believe it rises to the level of a crime.” 

While reports of harassment declined by 32 percent last year, MTPD considers any report of harassment "one too many," according to Pavlik.

Metro Transit Police will hold outreach events today from 4:30 p.m. – 6:30 p.m. during the evening rush hour at five Metrorail stations including:

  • Gallery Place
  • Shaw-Howard
  • L’Enfant Plaza
  • Rosslyn
  • Silver Spring

Metro’s outreach efforts are part of a multi-layered campaign to combat sexual harassment that began in 2012, including enhanced ways for customers to report harassment incidents (text message, web portal), employee training and in-system advertisements. 

"Groups in 36 countries are taking action right now for International Anti-Street Harassment Week,” said Holly Kearl, founder of Stop Street Harassment and International Anti-Street Harassment Week. “We are proud to join the week locally by collaborating with WMATA and CASS for a 5th year in raising awareness about sexual harassment and assault on the Metro and what riders can do if they see or experience it.”

Any customer who is harassed, threatened or assaulted is urged to report it to Transit Police immediately:

CALL 202-962-2121

TEXT MyMTPD (696873)

ONLINE wmata.com/harassment

In the fall, Metro launched a new anti-sexual harassment PSA on display in buses, trains and stations through the Metro system. The ads are designed to raise awareness that every rider deserves to be respected and has a right to speak up and report harassment. The ads developed in collaboration with CASS and Stop Street Harassment, feature people of different races and genders to illustrate that harassment affects people regardless of group or sex. 

"With a spike in incidents of harassment across the DC area, it's essential for local agencies to increase efforts to address community safety,” said CASS Executive Director Jessica Raven. “WMATA has been a leader in training staff and raising public awareness about sexual and gender-based harassment, and WMATA's anti-harassment campaign, in partnership with CASS and Stop Street Harassment, is a model for others to replicate.”