An initiative by Metro is revealing just how often people are sexually harassed while riding mass transit, and after nine months, they’ve gathered an additional 99 complaints from victims online. But that resulted in only one arrest.
Sexual harassment is the problem, and despite Metro’s proactive campaign, it’s still difficult to get victims to report incidents like unnecessary touching or rubbing.
When asked if she feels safe riding public transit, Emily Parker of Laurel says, “Not all the time, specifically if I’m traveling alone at night.”
As part of educating riders, Metro launched a web portal and email address last March, describing crimes and encouraging victims to file reports with Transit Police.
According to a new report coming out Thursday, 99 riders did file sexual harassment complaints. Of those, 22 resulted in formal police reports, but only resulted in one arrest. That’s disappointing to advocates trying to create a culture of no tolerance.
“For one thing, it’s very uncomfortable to talk about,” says Zosia Sztykowki of Collective Action for Safe Spaces. “A lot of victims blame themselves. People they report to reinforce that feeling, unfortunately.”
Female riders seem to be very aware of the campaign.
“It’s good to be aware, good to be aware of it,” says Amanda Miles of D.C.