You Have the Right to a Safe Ride
Anyone can experience verbal or physical sexual harassment. It’s not okay, and it's not just part of riding the T. The MBTA, Transit Police Department, and riders—including you―all have a role in ending sexual violence.
If it happens to you or someone else, report it to stop it. You can call 617-222-1212 or use the MBTA See Say app. The MBTA Transit Police take all forms of sexual violence seriously, and the Boston Area Rape Crisis Center (BARCC) is here to support you.
What is sexual violence?
Sexual violence, broadly defined, is a sexual act against someone’s will. Sexual violence can look like someone intentionally brushing up against you on a crowded bus, exposing themselves on the platform, or making unwanted sexual comments to you while you wait for the train.
Survivors and offenders can be of any background, gender identity, ability, etc. Many groups that society has discriminated against experience sexual violence at alarmingly higher rates. This includes people with disabilities, who experience sexual violence at two times the rate compared to people without disabilities (National Crime Victimization Survey, 2007 and MA DPH, 2011). People with disabilities encounter many barriers to seeking support.
For these reasons the MASS Collaboration highlighted people with disabilities in several of this year’s MBTA ads that raise awareness of sexual violence. By increasing visibility of this issue, we are working to decrease barriers faced by people with disabilities.
How to respond when you witness sexual violence
Sexual violence and harassment are used to take control over others by making them feel scared or uncomfortable. Many offenders rely on the assumption that observers will not act. We can all help make the T safer for everyone in our communities and create an environment that does not tolerate sexual violence.
Without putting yourself in harm’s way and if you feel safe, here are some things you can do when you witness sexual violence:
- Call 911 if you need immediate help.
- Tell an MBTA employee.
- Use a call box to alert the MBTA Transit Police.
- Take a photo or video and send it to the MBTA Transit Police.
- Use the MBTA See Say app to report.
- Indicate that you notice what is happening. For example, move so that you can make eye contact with the person being targeted.
- Point out the incident to those around you.
- Ask the person being targeted if they need help.
- Create a distraction, such as asking for directions or starting a conversation.
Reporting an Incident to the MBTA Transit Police Department
If you want to report an incident, use the MBTA See Say app or call the Transit Police Department.
Emergency phone number: 617-222-1212
Reporting an Incident to BARCC
No matter what kind of sexual violence or when an incident took place, you can get support from BARCC. Call their 24-hour hotline to talk to someone who will listen, help you understand your options, and support you in the healing process. You can call BARCC for support if you experience or witness sexual violence or are supporting someone who has experienced sexual violence. BARCC also offers counseling, medical accompaniment, legal assistance, community education, help with financial and housing issues, and more.
BARCC’s 24-hour hotline: 800-841-8371
TTY: 617-492-6434 (9:00 a.m.–5:00 p.m.)
At both MBTA Transit Police and BARCC, requests for accommodations will be honored as much as possible.
MASS Collaboration partners:
This project was supported by Grant No. 2014-FW-AX-K006 awarded by the Office on Violence Against Women, U.S. Department of Justice. The opinions, findings, conclusions, and recommendations expressed in this publication/program/exhibition are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the views of the Department of Justice, Office on Violence Against Women.