Target: Phil Mendelson, Chairman of the Washington, DC City Council
Goal: Create a task force dedicated to stopping street harassment.
Washington, DC has a serious problem with street harassment. Women there report being catcalled, followed, assaulted, and even spat on. Street harassment is sexually aggressive behavior that ranges from verbal catcalls to physical assault. Women in Washington, DC and across the nation have long been plagued by it. However, there is a ray of hope: the Washington, DC City Council is considering the creation of a task force devoted to stopping street harassment. The implementation of this task force would give the city’s female citizens the protection to which they are entitled.
According to the non-profit organization Stop Street Harassment, 65 percent of women in the U.S. have experienced street harassment. For 41 percent, that harassment was physical. Washington, DC is even worse than most cities. One resident said, “I’ve never felt as unsafe as I do here.”
Harassment produces a host of negative consequences for its victims. These consequences include body-shame, fear of men, and restrictions on women’s movement. For example, a woman may be forced to change her regular route to work or school because she is afraid of meeting her harasser. For some women, such as sexual assault survivors, these consequences are even worse. One survivor said, “Every time a man invades my personal space, refuses to listen when I tell him to leave me alone or verbally assaults me, I am reminded of my previous traumas. The constant triggers brought on by street harassment cause me to live my life in constant hyper-vigilance.”
No woman should be made to feel afraid in her home, workplace, or city. Urge the city council to give female citizens the security they deserve and fight street harassment.
Dear Chairman Mendelson,
The prevalence of street harassment in Washington, DC must end. Women in DC are regularly catcalled, followed, assaulted, and even spat on. This is unacceptable. Every citizen is entitled to feel secure where they live and the women of DC do not. Implement the street harassment task force you discussed and make DC safe for its inhabitants, both male and female.
Street harassment is a nationwide issue. Sixty-five percent of women in America have been street harassed and 41 percent have been physically harassed. However, there is an especially high occurrence of street harassment in Washington, DC. One woman living in DC said, “I’ve never felt as unsafe as I do here.”
Street harassment is all about making women feel unsafe and afraid. It isn’t about sex, it’s about power. That is why the task force you are considering is so necessary; power must be taken away from the harassers and returned to those they have abused. Show the women of DC that you care about their welfare and take the steps necessary to protect them.
[Your Name Here]
Photo Credit: Paul Vereijken