“Today, DC City Council is hosting the city’s first-ever roundtable on public street harassment”

Photo by PoPville flickr user Joe Flood

From a press release:

“Today, DC City Council is hosting the city’s first-ever roundtable on public street harassment. The roundtable discussion, which is co-hosted by the Judiciary Committee and the Committee on Housing and Community Development, will hear from DC residents, activists and City Council members about the prevalence of harassment on our city’s streets and public spaces like bars, nightclubs, and public transit—as community organizations like Collective Action for Safe Spaces (CASS) and partners propose solutions to make public spaces safe for everyone.

“By hosting this panel, DC is only the fourth city in the country to elevate the issue of public sexual harassment and assault, more commonly known as street harassment,” said Jessica Raven, Interim Executive Director of Collective Action for Safe Spaces (CASS). “We receive dozens of stories every month from members of our community who have been made to feel unsafe by behaviors ranging from catcalling and unwanted comments to unwanted touching, groping, public masturbation and assault in our city’s public spaces. And that’s just a fraction of the untold incidences that happen every day in DC.”

CASS is partnering with Stop Street Harassment, Defend Yourself, DC Rape Crisis Center, the Women’s Information Network, the DC Coalition Against Domestic Violence, Casa Ruby, the Network for Victim Recovery DC and DC City Councilmember Brianne Nadeau (D-Ward 1) to work toward noncriminal, community-based solutions to this problem, such as bystander intervention trainings for bar staffs who often witness sexual harassment and can play a key role in preventing sexual assault.

The roundtable is scheduled for December 3 at 10am in Room 500 of the John A. Wilson Building (1350 Pennsylvania Ave, NW).

Read Jessica Raven’s full testimony, as prepared.

6 Comment

  • Thank you for posting about this! As a female DC resident who walks and takes public transportation, I’m pleased to see the Council taking street harassment seriously.

  • If anyone who was able to go I would be interested to see a post here about how it went.

  • justinbc

    It’s nice they’re acknowledging it, that’s a good step, but do they actually have any power to do anything? Or is this more like a sounding board?

    • They are focusing on non-criminal and community responses. In my experience, the fastest way to get a man to stop harassing you is for another man to intervene. So bystander training is important.

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