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As an urban university nestled in a bustling city, VCU is committed to having all members of the community feel safe in public spaces. The Whistles Against Street Harassment (WASH) initiative aims to improve the safety of our VCU community by (1) providing a whistle, a practical and easyto- use tool that the target or bystanders can use to disrupt street harassment, and (2) raising awareness and dialogue related to street harassment and public safety. RAINN defines street harassment as “unwanted comments, gestures, or acts directed at someone in a public space without their consent.”1 Street harassment is not limited to gender- or race-based intimidation; however, it negatively affects the entire community. In a recent web-based survey, VCU students, faculty, and staff identified the top safety interventions on the Monroe Park and MCV campuses to be pedestrian safety (33%), increased lighting (26%), addressing street harassment (25%), more police visibility in the evenings (25%) and additional patrols in VCU parking lots (20%).2 The WASH initiative aims to reduce, and ultimately eliminate, street harassment on our urban campuses.
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VCU Grace E. Harris Leadership Institute Publications