PRESS RELEASE
For Immediate Release
November 29, 2016

Metro Vancouver Transit Police and Women’s Organizations Launch Poster Campaign Raising Awareness of Sexual Harassment and Assault on Public Transportation

Vancouver, Coast Salish Territory-After four years in the making, Metro Vancouver will now have an important tool in the effort to end sexual harassment and assault on public transportation

Sexual harassment and sexual assault on public transportation is an everyday occurrence for millions of girls and women living all over the world.

The problem of sexual harassment and assault on public transport has basically been trivialized and ignored. In 2015, Metro Vancouver reports of sexual harassment and assault to police services increased 28% according to Metro Vancouver Transit Police. And even with the increase reports TransLink, the crown corporation responsible for public transportation essential ignored the daily sexual harassment and assault experienced by women on their transportation system, until today.

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BWSS attended press conference with Metro Vancouver Transit Police and Ending Violence Association to launch a poster campaign designed bring awareness, to act as a means for prevention and offender accountability.

The Metro Vancouver poster campaign comes at a time when an international poll found that 32% of women in London say they have been verbally harassed on public transport; 19% were victims of direct physical abuse. In Paris, where 85% of the women polled expressed little confidence in receiving help by a member of the public if they were in trouble. In Mexico City, 1 in every 10 women reported being physically assaulted on buses and trains. In India, where 5.5 million women enter the workforce each year, more than 50% express high concerns about the safety of their commute. According to Hollaback Vancouver, 58% of women surveyed indicated they did not feel safe on transit.

“Although statistics are helpful to illustrate how common sexual harassment and assault on public transportation is for girls and women, they cannot convey the negative impacts on women’s health and well-being” said Rona Amiri, BWSS Violence Prevention Coordinator “Despite the high levels of incidents, sexual harassment remains mainly unreported. Women tend not to report the majority of incidents, sometimes amid concerns that they would not be taken seriously.”

“An important first step has been achieved today in the acknowledgment by the transit authority of the reality for women and girls using public transportation in Metro Vancouver” said Angela Marie MacDougall, BWSS Executive Director “Sexual harassment and assault public awareness campaigns are necessary actions against silence and ignorance.  Helping to create an environment where those that would perpetrate could no longer be guaranteed they could assault women and girls with impunity.”

“Raising awareness also makes space for those that witness sexual offenses to also take action Said Samantha Kearney, Manager of BWSS social enterprise, My Sister’s Closet Eco-thrift Boutique “An awareness campaign makes visible the culture of violence that women and girls experience on the daily helping to validate and embolden women in their resistance.”

Since 2012, BWSS has been advocating with Translink for this day and we recognize this is a first step toward shifting the culture on public transportation in Metro Vancouver where women and girls can travel the city, to get to work, to get to school to do their everyday tasks with an increased sense of safety.

Media enquiries

Angela Marie MacDougall, Executive Director, Battered Women’s Support Services

Tel. (604) 808 0507 E-mail: director@bwss.org

Resources

https://www.bwss.org/wp-content/uploads/2015/11/BWSS-Transit-Tuesday-Brochure.pdf

http://womensinitiativeedmonton.ca/addressing-sexual-harassment-on-the-streets-and-on-transit-a-concern-for-the-city/ Edmonton

http://www.huffingtonpost.ca/2015/08/19/edmonton-transit-campaign_n_8011396.html

http://www.mbta.com/about_the_mbta/news_events/?id=26580&month=4&year=13 Boston

http://www.metro.us/local/activists-public-advocate-announce-new-mta-measures-to-curb-sexual-harassment-on-mass-transit/tmWnja—77P48aZsrlHZg/ New York City

http://www.collectiveactiondc.org/our-work/wmata-anti-sexual-harassment-campaign/ Washington, DC

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/women/life/transport-for-london-launches-hard-hitting-sexual-harrassment-campaign/ London, UK

http://montrealgazette.com/news/local-news/montreal-police-urge-transit-users-to-report-sexual-predators-help-victims Montreal

Previous articles and sexual harassment and transit

http://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/transit-sex-assault-1.3737055

http://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/british-columbia/sexual-harassment-on-the-rise-on-transit-say-police-1.2494499

http://bc.ctvnews.ca/startling-spike-in-sex-assaults-harassment-on-public-transit-1.1765761

http://rabble.ca/whatsup/dialogue-cafe-sexual-assault-safety-and-public-transit

On the BWSS website

https://www.bwss.org/sexual-assaults-womens-safety-on-public-transportation/

https://www.bwss.org/sexual-harassment-on-public-transportation-is-a-problem-we-must-solve/

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