DC council member proposes new bill to eliminate catcalling, street harassment

- Catcalling on D.C. streets by District workers could soon be a thing of the past. D.C. lawmakers are reviewing legislation that would mandate all city employees to undergo street harassment training. And if they get caught harassing other people in public, they would have to face consequences.

“If we can train all of them on what is appropriate conduct and how to be good, helpful bystanders, then we have an army of people in the city looking out and helping create our safe spaces,” said Councilmember Brianne Nadeau.

The Ward 1 council member introduced the anti-street harassment bill this week. She said several personal confrontations on city streets led to her proposed legislation.

“Walking down 16th Street and being harassed by a government worker on duty in uniform,” she explained. “When I was commuting every day on the Metro, every block I would be harassed. One day, I was walking to work in my professional attire and somebody commented and I asked them not to do that. The response was, ‘Well if you don't want us to comment, why do you dress like that?’

“I was on the Metro one day standing on the platform and a man asked me for my number and I said, ‘No,’ and he actually spat on me.”

Nadeau said women, minorities and the LGBTQ community is most vulnerable to the harassment.

“I have lived in D.C. for the past 15 years, and since I moved here, I have had the experience of being harassed on the street pretty much everywhere I go and I know I am not alone,” Nadeau said.

Nadeau said she is waiting for a hearing on the bill. Once that happens, it will then go to the full council for a vote. She is hoping it all takes place this year.

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