News and culture through the lens of Southern California.
Hosted by A Martínez
Airs Weekdays 2 to 3 p.m.
Crime & Justice

What to do about harassment on Metro trains and buses




Selinsgrove, PA (April 4, 2014) -- The Susquehanna University Women's Studies Program held its second annual Chalk the Walk event for International Anti-Street Harassment Week. Students and faculty wrote anti-street harassment messages in chalk on the main walkway through campus.
Selinsgrove, PA (April 4, 2014) -- The Susquehanna University Women's Studies Program held its second annual Chalk the Walk event for International Anti-Street Harassment Week. Students and faculty wrote anti-street harassment messages in chalk on the main walkway through campus.
Paul Weaver / Weaver Photography/Flickr

Listen to story

05:51
Download this story 5MB

Riding the train to the beach and Santa Monica pier sounds very exciting.

But it's important to remember that for some people, a train or bus is a way to get between home and work. It's not always safe, either.

L.A. Metro estimates around 20 percent of all female riders experience some kind of harassment while riding.

"When I had to take the train home late at night, there was this man following me," rider Roxanna Garza told KPCC. "I didn't file a police report because I felt like I would be making a big deal out of nothing. People staring at me and following me on public transportation has always happened."

Metro recently launched a campaign against sexual harassment on trains and buses called, "It's Off Limits."

"We want people who see it to also be a part of this process," says spokesperson Paul Gonzalez. "Either speak up - 'Hey, leave that lady alone!' - or even stand up against it."

It acknowledges that stopping harassment is a bigger job than just for a transit agency, but for a whole culture.

"We really have to talk as a society that there is an issue," says Genevieve Berrick from Hollaback L.A., an organization dedicated to combatting the harassment of women. "L.A. Metro is one of the tiny, tiny handful of transport agencies in the world that's even acknowledged that there's even an issue."

Some riders told KPCC that they would like to see more law enforcement officers patrolling buses and trains, but Gonzalez says that strategy wouldn't completely prevent all incidents.

"They cannot be everywhere," he says. "That's why we want other people to work with us to make Metro as safe as possible."

Here is some advice from experts on what do to if you're subject to harassment or see someone in need.