Transportation in major metropolitan areas, such as Philadelphia, inevitably brings crowds.
Fortunately, Philadelphia has a vast transportation system including buses, railways, trains, subway trains, trolleys and ride shares that conveniently run throughout Philadelphia and the surrounding suburbs. Regrettably, sexual harassment and assault are commonplace from railway platforms to ride shares. Feeling unsafe using public transportation can have unintended negative effects, from limiting career options to increasing travel costs. From verbal abuse to being followed, from unwanted sexual comments to physical assault, the stories are strikingly similar and happen way too often. A study conducted by Smart Assets found that approximately 171,000 Philadelphians utilize public transportation to get to work, making it the fourth largest group of any city in the country. Additionally, a 2000 survey found that 87% of American women between 18-64 have been harassed by a male stranger on the street or public transportation and more than half of those individuals had been sexually assaulted in such an exchange. Despite these high levels of incidents, sexual harassment on public transportation remains mainly unreported. During each trip Philadelphians, and visitors, interact with fellow passengers, drivers, safety officials, conductors and ticket takers; most if not all of whom are complete strangers. Imagine if all of those individuals were adept at spotting, intervening and preventing cases of sexual violence…
Safer City Philadelphia transportation training is a program that has been developed for local forms of transportation, including buses, trains and ride-share services to train providers to better spot, intervene and ultimately prevent sexual harassment. When service providers are appropriately trained to spot sexual harassment, there is an opportunity to take action and stop sexual assault before it takes place. The transportation officials of Philadelphia keep the city running and work tirelessly to get us where we need to go. The skills involved in this training focus on methods from bystander intervention and de-escalation to preemptively making rides safer for city goers.
For so many Philadelphians, transportation is an everyday necessity and WOAR believes keeping it safe from sexual assault and harassment is an equal necessity.