It's no secret that sexual harassment has been a growing problem at offices and other places of employment across the Untied States. Is there the same issue in public, such as Metro in D.C? The most common reason for sexual harassment in public places can be the misplaced compliment being termed as sexual harassment. It's public exposure to sexual harassment that is being addressed by a group called Collective Action.
wusa9.com reports that Collective Action is going before the Washington D.C. City Council in the coming week to request that the city start a public broadcast awareness system on Metro. They plan on discussing the evidence of hundreds of letters from concerned citizens that have been sexually harassed while riding on the Metro system. Nearly 1/3 of those letters have been from incidences aboard the Metro busses and trains.
It's understandable to have some sexual harassment or random crime, but a full 1/3 of the complaints being centered on a single location is something the CA feels needs immediate attention. The CA has even named the platforms themselves as being a busy location for sexual harassment.
Holly Kearl is the CA spokeswoman, she claims that the group is aiming its guns towards real sexual harassment, not serious compliments. The sexual harassment acts they named include public masturbation, groping on packed busses and trains, as well as getting rubbed against on nearly empty trains. Sexually harassing comments still haven't escaped their crosshairs. They also feel that badgering people for dates and "sexual favors" is wrong all the same as a physical act of abuse or harassment.
The official city records shows that the Metro officers arrested 22 individuals for sexual harassment sexual crimes, including rape. The official records also document that there were another 41 sexually related assaults and over 40 cases of flashing and other non-violent acts.
Even though these numbers may seem large, the Metro claims the issue isn’t really an issue at all. There are over 340 million Metro trips every year and for less than a hundred sexual crimes a year, that makes the averages very low. The numbers do suggest this low average, but the Collective Action group argues that the incidents that don't get recorded are the ones they are worried about most.
There is some truth to what they worry about, such as the fact that Metro doesn't record verbal harassment on their official records. The CA also argues that the numbers are so low because the vast number of sexual harassment victims never reports the incident(s) they are involved in.
It's because of all this that the CA will show specific letters that they plan on showing to the Council. The CA is going to try to encourage the City Council to start a PSA campaign to rid Metro of the high number of sexual harassment crimes. The other big question for City Council is the request for better sexual harassment training for Metro workers. Being able to identify a sex crime is just as important as preventing the sex crime itself.