Stop Street Harassment is based in the Washington, D.C.-area and has led or co-led various initiatives there in partnership with Collective Action for Safe Spaces (CASS).
In 2012, SSH’s founder Holly Kearl was a board member of CASS and was part of a core group of three CASS people who organized a strategy to get the Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority (WMATA) to address sexual harassment on its buses and subways.
Kearl was one of six people to testify in February 2012 about the problem during WMATA’s performance oversight hearing before the DC City Council. Because of the strong testimonies, concern of the DC Councilmember committee chair, media coverage, and public support, within two weeks, WMATA put together a task force and started making changes.
They launched an online report form and began tracking verbal (as well as physical) forms of harassment. In the spring, they launched an ad campaign that is still on-going as of May 2013. They have held various outreach days with CASS and SSH and held a joint community forum. During 2014, every frontline Metro employee received sexual harassment training.
WMATA holds an outreach event at Metro stations each International Anti-Street Harassment Week.
In January 2016, WMATA will conduct its first-ever transit survey on sexual harassment.
DC City Council:
In December 2015, two SSH board members testified at the first-ever DC city council hearing on street harassment.
In 2012, CASS and SSH worked with then Ward 4 Councilmember (and current mayor) Muriel Bowser to pass legislation to improve a law against public indecency. She introduced it in April 2012 and it passed as part of an omnibus bill in February 2013.
Safety Audits and Logging:
Using the model created by METRAC and used by the United Nations, for International Anti-Street Harassment Day 2011, SSH co-led community safety audits with CASS. Ten teams of 3-5 people evaluated different parts of the city during the afternoon of March 20 and in the evening of May 5. A Washington Post report covered the audits and our efforts were featured in a Washington Post Magazine article in August 2011.
Because not all Wards of DC were audited and because not everyone turned in their findings, we did not feel we could move forward with recommendations, but it was a good starting point for examining the city.
In fall 2011, SSH and CASS led a street harassment logging exercise where people could record instances of street harassment that occurred during a one-week period.
Rallies & Marches:
SSH rallied with SlutWalk DC in front of the Chinese Embassy in March 2015 in protest of the jailing of Chinese feminist activists simply for distributing information about sexual harassment at transit stops (they were later released).
SSH joined CASS and local activists to organize a city march in June 2011 called Our Streets Too! Batala, an all-women’s percussion band played before the march and at the end of the march, there were skill shares like self defense with Defend Yourself and op-ed writing with SSH. Around 75 people participated in the march. (Photos by Mark Hutchens.)
In May 2015, SSH joined Feminist Public Works and CASS in tabling at Awesome Con (a comics convention in Washington, DC)
In spring 2016, SSH founder Holly Kearl was a review panelists for the DC Commission on Arts & Humanities’ Zero Street Harassment public arts grant.