Man exposing himself on Metro highlights larger issue

Metro is tackling sexual assault incidents after recent incidents

WASHINGTON (WUSA9) - Sexual harassment is a big deal to Metro. It's so big that the agency surveyed a thousand riders.

One in five said it happened to them. Two thirds said they experienced sexual harassment on a train and about a third of people said they've experienced it on the bus.

Metro even broke this down by type of harassment: Most of it was verbal assaults, many riders report being rubbed on and public masturbation, like in the latest cases, was not that common.

RELATED: Man arrested for exposing, touching himself on Metro trains

But here's the problem: These numbers could be a lot smaller than reality.

Metro thinks so many incidents are not reported and it has a new campaign reminding riders to report sexual harassment.

Here's Metro's three tips: 

  1. If it happens to you, call it out. Say hey-- that's inappropriate. Often just a simple exclamation can stop it. 
  2. Recruit help. Involve others who are seeing or hearing harassment. Victims advocates say there's power in numbers.
  3. Report it. Metro has a hotline, a text line and a web portal. Or you can simply tell a Metro employee.

"If we all together speak out against harassment on public transit then we can all together make a system that's safe for everyone," said Jessica Raven, Collective Action for Safe Spaces. 

Victims advocates say this is a good start, but Metro's duty is not over.

There has not been a new sexual harassment survey in more than a year. They also want more announcements in stations.

© 2018 WUSA-TV


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