DC asks residents to stand up to street harassment

What’s known as street harassment happens all too frequently, and D.C. leaders are asking residents to help address the issue through a new bystander intervention training program.

Street harassment could include suggestive comments, inappropriate touches or gestures, or being followed, according to the nonprofit Hollaback!, which hosted a training session for Ward 1 residents Tuesday night.

“This is … a very important milestone in the passage and implementation of the Street Harassment Prevention Act here in the District of Columbia,” said Ward 1 Council member Brianne Nadeau during the training. “We’re doing a bunch of trainings District-wide right now… and hopefully we can do more in the future.”

The training aims to help bystanders intervene if it’s safe to do so. It suggests causing a distraction by pretending to be a friend, asking for the time, or to help by finding an authority figure or documenting what’s happening.

A report last year from the D.C. Office of Human Rights found that 69% of respondents experienced verbal street harassment and 40% had experienced physical street harassment in the previous six months.

John Aaron

John Aaron is a news anchor and reporter for WTOP. After starting his professional broadcast career as an anchor and reporter for WGET and WGTY in Gettysburg, PA, he went on to spend several years in the world of sports media, working for Comcast SportsNet, MLB Network Radio, and WTOP sports.

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