The CTA has redoubled its effort to combat harassment on trains and buses by expanding and updating its “If It’s Unwanted, It’s Harassment” public service campaign.
The campaign will feature a series of messages that will appear on buses and trains and at train stations beginning today. The campaign will serve three purposes:
- Encourage customers to report incidents that they experience or witness.
- Educate customers on what to do if they believe they are victims of harassment.
- Create awareness by putting would-be offenders on notice that harassment of CTA passengers will not be tolerated.
I like that the CTA recommends calling 911 if your immediate safety is threatened. Also, the CTA gets fairly explicit in defining examples of unacceptable behavior:
- Verbal or physical threats
- Inappropriate touching
- Indecent exposure
- Sexual advances
- Inappropriate photographing
- Unwelcomed physical proximity
- Inappropriate or sexual comments
- Obscene gestures
Here are examples of the updated ad campaign:
As the last ad suggests, reporting incidents is critical. Though not every harassment incident will be considered a criminal offense or result in arrest, the information provided to the CTA and to police is helpful because it can help determine if there’s a larger pattern of activity that needs to be further investigated by either the CTA or police.
The CTA even answers likely questions by harassment doubters on its campaign Web page, including, " Perhaps it was an accident…it was crowded?" and "Maybe the person was just a little too friendly?"
The CTA has partnered with three organizations in developing the campaign - Alternatives, Inc., the YWCA of Metropolitan Chicago and the Chicago Department of Public Health.
As a husband and father of a daughter who has heard harassment stories from these two women in my life, I am thrilled with this revitalized and revamped campaign.
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