Metro ramps up anti-sexual harassment campaign, adds posters in every train

Metro will encourage victims of sexual harassment in its public transport system to report the cases. The transit authority is using posters to draw attention to its campaign. Jordan Emont | Assistant Photo Editor

This post was written by Hatchet staff writer Julie Alderman.

A Metro anti-sexual harassment campaign launched in April is ramping up awareness efforts in the weeks ahead by expanding its presence throughout the rail system.

Caroline Lukas, a spokeswoman for the Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority, said posters on how to report sexual harassment will be plastered in every Metro car in the coming days.

Posters are already up in some stations, including Metro Center, and on all buses, Lukas added. She could not specify when the Foggy Bottom Metro stop would see the campaign posters, noting it would depend on available space.

Taped announcements on the sexual assault awareness efforts will also blare in every station over the speaker system.

Since the campaign launched five months ago, over 70 reports of sexual harassment have been brought to WMATA’s attention, Lukas said. Of the 70 cases, 34 were criminally sexual and eight were criminal but not sexual – meaning unlawful touching occurred but it was not sexual in nature.

Cases generally occur in the trains themselves, Lukas said, but there is no station-by-station breakdown.

“People have more mobility on the platform than in the train,” she said, adding that the costs of the program are minimal. She declined to provide an estimate.

Since WMATA did not previously track of every sexual harassment in the past, there is no baseline to determine whether reports have increased or decreased.

The Metro Transit Police Department declined to comment on the assaults, deferring questions to WMATA’s media relations team.

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