BART launched a first-of-its-kind campaign Friday that seeks to combat gender-based violence on public transit, provide non-law enforcement resources to victims and rigorously track complaints so data can inform future policy.
The campaign, dubbed #NotOneMoreGirl, calls for placing more than 300 posters on traincars and stations beginning Friday that feature images, slogans and designs produced by young women and local artists.
BART also added a sexual harassment category to its mobile watchdog reporting tool and created a landing page on its website for all resources regard gender-based violence, including access to support that doesn’t involve the police.
“Until all our girls are safe, none of us is safe,” BART board member Lateefah Simon said at a press conference Friday at West Oakland Station.
The campaign comes after a survey found nearly 10 percent of BART passengers experienced sexual harassment while riding a train or at a station in 2020 including unwanted sexual advances, cat-calling or gawking.
This was the first time ever BART asked riders a survey question about gender-based violence.
Across California, 77 percent of women surveyed had endured sexual harassment in public space, and 29 percent had experienced it on public transit, according to a statewide assessment on the topic.
The campaign is a partnership between the rail agency and a host of community groups including Alliance for Girls, Betti Ono, Black Girls Brilliance and the Unity Council’s Latinx Mentorship and Achievement Program.
It recoginizes the experiences of a range of BART riders who identity by different races and genders and may be more likely to recieve verbal attacks, harassment and violence.
“Let’s get one thing clear: gender-based violence and sexual harassment doesn’t only impact cis women and girls,” said Haleema Bharoocha, senior advocacy manager at Alliance for Girls. “It impacts our trans community, gender non-confirming community and gender queer community.”
To round out the campaign, Board President Mark Foley and Vice President Rebecca Saltzman plan to introduce two new proposals at upcoming board meetings later this month.
One initiative would seek to hire transitional-age youth to serve on hiring panels for the agency’s newly formalized community ambassador program, which sends social workers and crisis intervention specialists to calls regarding behavioral or mental health, homelessness and substance use.
The other would add a prohibition of sexual harassment to the rider code of conduct.
“Let me be clear, sexual harassment has no place on BART,” Foley said.
Bharoocha called on public transit agencies across the Bay Area to follow suit with their own campaigns.
“These are basic things and a starting point for transportation agencies,” Bharoocha said. Everyone can and should be doing this.”