Foggy Bottom Metro hosts street harassment awareness event

Virginia resident Ivan Olaciregui accepts a street harassment awareness bracelet from a University Police Department officer as part of an outreach event during Sexual Assault Awareness month. Kiana Robertson | Hatchet Staff Photographer
Virginia resident Ivan Olaciregui accepts a street harassment awareness bracelet from a University Police Department officer as part of an outreach event during Sexual Assault Awareness Month. Kiana Robertson | Hatchet Staff Photographer
Updated: April 15, 2015 at 11:51 p.m.

This post was written by Hatchet reporter Melissa Schapiro.

Metro Transit Police want you to know harassment is not OK.

Metro Transit Police organized a weeklong anti-street harassment campaign along with two harassment prevention advocacy groups as part of Sexual Assault Awareness Month. As part of the campaign, a University Police Department officer and advocates from Stop Street Harassment and Collective Action for Safe Spaces passed out pamphlets and bracelets promoting harassment prevention outside the Foggy Bottom Metro station Wednesday.

Officers from Metro Transit Police visited four other Metro stations Wednesday, including Silver Spring and Metro Center, according to a release.

Passersby could also get teal anti-street harassment T-shirts if they posed for a photo wearing the shirt. Officers at each Metro station passed out brochures with information about resources specific to that area, and the brochures were printed in English and Spanish. The UPD officer at Foggy Bottom distributed a pamphlet that outlined the University’s Title IX resources.

The UPD officer declined to comment on the event because officers are not allowed to speak with the media.

A key component of the campaign was to make sure Metro passengers know their options for reporting harassment, which include emails, a phone hotline, a text messaging system and an online reporting form. The online reporting form also allows passengers to upload a photo or video of the perpetrator. Passengers can also report incidents of harassment to Metro Transit Police in stations.

Metro has also posted anti-harassment posters in stations. The posters, which were a collaboration between Metro Transit Police, Stop Street Harassment and Collective Action for Safe Spaces, included the slogan, “If It’s Unwanted, It’s Harassment.” The posters will appear in stations for the next three months.

Holly Kearl, the founder of Stop Street Harassment, said the response to the posters has been positive.

“People are grateful that Metro is paying attention to this issue and taking it seriously,” she said at Wednesday’s event.

She said social media has helped residents may more attention to issues like street harassment.

“Social media is enabling us to mobilize people to collect stories and really show that [street harassment] is a problem,” she said.

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