MBTA Launching Campaign Against Sexual Harrassment | NECN
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MBTA Launching Campaign Against Sexual Harrassment

MBTA officials say that the initiative is meant to improve passenger safety and encourage people to report incidents of sexual harassment

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    The campaign will run until February (Published Thursday, Nov. 3, 2016)

    The MBTA and supporting organizations have launched a anti-sexual harassment campaign, aimed to encourage riders to report cases of harassment and assault.

    "Our goal has always been and will continue to be to provide a safe transit environment for all to enjoy," said MBTA Transit Police Chief Kenneth Green.

    The campaign, in conjunction with the Boston Area Rape Crisis Center (BARCC) and Boston Center for Independent Living (BCIL), focuses on people with disabilities.

    "People with disabilities experience sexual violence at two times the rate compared to people without disabilities," said Shelley Yen-Ewert, BARCC project director.

    Sheryl Mendlinger rides the T a few times a week and thinks the campaign is a great idea.

    "It's giving a voice to people who may not have felt like they could actually come forward and say something," said Mendlinger.

    While talking about the campaign, Mendlinger recalled an uncomfortable situation she experienced while riding the bus 30 years ago.

    "All of a sudden I felt somebody's hand, a gentleman's hand, on my knee," said Mendlinger. "I felt extremely embarrassed and I didn't know what to do."

    Officials say victims are sometimes to fearful about being believed, that that don't report harassment.

    "It's very important that people contact us and reports he is it's an unreported crime," said MBTA Transit Police Superintendent Richard Sullivan.

    Officials say on average for the last five years, 57 assault and battery cases are reported each year.

    "We're hoping with campaigns like this, that the awareness raises to the level where every time it happens someone is calling us," said Sullivan.

    When the MBTA launched a similar campaign in 2008 reports increased by 32% and arrests increased by 40% within 18 months.

    The campaign will run through February.

    To learn more or report a crime click here.

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