In 2008, the Rogers Park Young Women’s Action Team (YWAT) developed a survey to explore the prevalence of sexual harassment and assault in the Chicago Public Transit system. This youth-led participatory action research project administered online and paper surveys and collected information from over 630 public transit riders. In May 2009, YWAT released a report indicating that a high number of Chicagoans had been harassed or assaulted on public transit.
In response to these findings, the YWAT launched the Girls for Safe Transit campaign. This campaign is dedicated to reducing harassment and assaults – particularly gender and discrimination based – on public transportation in Chicago. The campaign has been focused on raising public awareness, community building, and facilitating changes that ensure girls and young women in Chicago can get from one location to another safely and securely.
In order to kick off our “Girls for Safe Transit” campaign, we organized a community forum at Loyola University to give young women and men a chance to share their “CTA stories.” We asked speakers to share their stories about sexual harassment and violence on the CTA (trains and buses). This film was shot and edited by student producers from Free Spirit Media about YWAT’s public forum. The forum took place on May 22nd 2008.