The Stop Sexual Assault and Harassment in Transportation Act was introduced today by Rep. Peter DeFazio, and endorsed by the National Center on Sexual Exploitation, a non-partisan nonprofit in Washington DC.
Alarmed by incidents of sexual assault and harassment occurring in public transportation—especially on airlines—NCOSE has long advocated for the transportation sector to do more to protect the traveling public.
“Perpetrators of sexual assault and harassment, emboldened by the confined space of modes of public transportation, as well as the darkened cabins on night flights and late-night commuter transportation, take advantage of such circumstances to engage in sexual assault and harassment of both passengers and personnel. The responses of transportation carriers to these incidents are, all too often, grossly inadequate,” stated Lisa L. Thompson, Vice President of Policy and Research for the National Center on Sexual Exploitation (NCOSE).
“In the aftermath of #MeToo, NCOSE has learned of incidents of sexual assault of adults and minors, as well as sexual harassment including such behaviors as unwelcome sexual advances, exposure in view of the general public of sexually explicit materials, indecent exposure, and unwelcome verbal or physical conduct of a sexual nature perpetrated against both passengers and transportation carrier personnel,” Thompson explained.
“This legislation addresses such situations by ensuring that transportation carriers have the policies and training in place to respond swiftly and appropriately when such incidents occur.” Thompson continued, “This bill makes it clear that #TimesUp for perpetrators of sexual assault and harassment who commit their crimes while utilizing forms of public transportation, and that public transportation carriers must do their part to protect the wellbeing of both passengers and personnel. The National Center on Sexual Exploitation (NCOSE) applauds Rep. Peter DeFazio for his leadership in introducing this much needed legislation.”
Due to its failures to robustly address incidents of sexual assault and harassment, United Airlines is a current member of NCOSE’s 2019 Dirty Dozen List. For additional information about sexual assault and harassment on planes and in airports, see NCOSE’s Fly Free campaign.