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WMATA Stepping Up Efforts to End Sexual Assaults on Transit Lines

The Washington Metropolitan Transit Authority (WMATA) recently launched a new campaign to combat sexual harassment and assault—especially toward some of the most marginalized members of the community.
November 16, 2016, 5am PST | James Brasuell | @CasualBrasuell
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"More people experience sexual assault on Metro trains and buses than you might think, and the victims are often women, trans people, and people of color," writes Jessica Raven, citing the shocking example of a sexual assault at knife point on the Red Line earlier this year. There's also Metro Transit Police data showing "that most incidents of public sexual harassment and assault occurred on the busier Red and Orange lines, most frequently during rush hour," adds Raven, and a study of sexual harassment on the system that shows one in five Metro or Metrobus riders have experienced sexual harassment on the system.

To combat the violence, the WMATA has launched a new awareness campaign, working with Collective Action for Safe Spaces (CASS) and Stop Street Harassment. The new campaign builds on past efforts "to demonstrate its commitment to serving those who are most marginalized and most likely to be targeted by sexual and gender-based harassment," explains Raven.

On November 4th, an awareness campaign launched with ads featuring the faces of trans women of color and Muslim women. The ads, which appear on trains, at Metro stops, and on buses, come on the heels of incidents where these identities were targeted at DC's Shaw Library and Banneker Pool.

While approving of the tone of the campaign's content, Raven also suggests five additional measures, including new training for staff, supervisors, and police, to fully eradicate the problem.

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Published on Monday, November 14, 2016 in Greater Greater Washington
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