D.C.

Metro sexual harassment: WMATA upping efforts to combat incidents

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Chai Shenoy vividly remembers the night she walked onto an empty Metro train on the Red Line, only to encounter a strange man. She quickly became one of many victims who say they were sexually harassed on trains throughout the city.

(Photo: Heather Farrell)

"All of a sudden, I see from the corner of my eye that he has spread his legs, and that he wasn't wearing any undergarments," Shenoy said.

Shenoy is not alone, but now she and other victims of sexual harassment in the rail system have more people on their side to help.

Holly Kearl, a board member with Collective Action for Safe Spaces, says her organization hears from Metro riders who have been victims of sexual comments, groping and following.

"We've heard from women who have stopped taking bus routes or Metro entirely because of bad experiences they have had," Kearl said.

Metro officials say they've heard the concerns of the sexual harassment victims. The agency has set up a new email address - harassment@wmata.com - to report incidents. WMATA is also working on a new website tackling the issue and transit police officers will be stepping up patrols of buses and trains.

Employees on trains, buses and in stations will also be getting better training on how to deal with harassment when it happens.

"We, as D.C. Metro riders, are not going to take this and not going to tolerate this anymore," Shenoy said.

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