As a daily bus rider, I’m comforted knowing that DC’s public transportation thinks sexual harassment is kind of a big deal.
The Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority (WMATA) is by far my least favorite thing about living in DC. Moving here from Chicago where the public transportation fare is cheaper AND more efficient, I wasn’t concerned with DC’s clean train cars and faux leather seats. I prefer to not wait 30 minutes for a bus or spend half the cost of my rent on public transportation.
But the advertisements on the WMATA trains and buses have always made an impression on me. More than just retail and online food companies, WMATA advertisers included domestic violence hotlines, LGBTQ homeless youth service providers, and even humanist groups challenging young people to reject the notion “God.” So I wasn’t surprised when I saw this ad on a bus on my way home.
This campaign is the result of a partnership between WMATA and Collective Action for Safe Spaces (CASS) that started in 2012. The campaign was the result of CASS pushing WMATA to implement a policy on sexual harassment and assault. It makes me feel good to know that WMATA cares about rider safety and takes sexual assault seriously. I also like to think that because the campaign doesn’t target one specific demographic that it may prompt some people think critically about sexual harassment and acknowledge why it’s in all of our best interests to proactively fight against it.
Sesali is a writer and living testament to the fact that you can take the girl out of Chicago, but you can’t take Chicago out of the girl.