Metro to hand out pamphlets in anti-sexual-harassment push

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Transportation,Kytja Weir

Metro officials, including General Manager Richard Sarles, and activists are slated to hand out pamphlets Monday afternoon at the Gallery Place station, highlighting the agency’s new effort to combat sexual harassment on the system’s trains and buses.

The fliers are part of the agency’s stepped-up response after criticism it wasn’t doing enough to help educate staff and riders about the problems of riders getting harassed, groped and even assaulted.

Last month Metro created an email portal for reporting such cases. The agency is now tracking verbal harassment, not just sexual assaults, in its crime statistics for the first time. It plans to report them publicly each quarter to the board of directors.

It has formed a task force and plans to train workers on how to take riders' complaints more seriously, after advocates reported that some employees laughed at complaints or even harassed riders themselves.

And later this month, it plans to post posters modeled off those used in Boston’s T in buses and stations.

Sarles and the groups also will be handing out teal ribbons with the fliers to mark the beginning of Sexual Assault Awareness Month, Metro spokesman Philip Stewart said.

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