Violet agents against sexist violence and LGTBIphobia in the Barcelona metro

Purple point that the City Council of Santa Coloma de Gramanet will install in massive events.TMB

Barcelona Metropolitan Transport (TMB) launches a pioneering measure in public transport to fight against sexual harassment and LGTBIphobia. As of this Monday, the seven Santa Coloma de Gramanet metro stations (on Line 1 and Line 9) have seven purple agents to reinforce information and care for people who are victims of sexual harassment. These agents, in the first place, serve as support to the victims and, later, they are in charge of making the referral and the accompaniment to the competent authorities in each case. “Public transport has to be a safe place for everyone, regardless of their sexual orientation or gender”, stressed the president of TMB, Laia Bonet, during the presentation of the initiative.

The project was born in a context where 57% of women declare having suffered some type of accident in the last two years while traveling on public transport in Barcelona. These data were revealed by the first Survey of Sexual Harassment in Public Transport, coordinated by the Institute of Regional and Metropolitan Studies of Barcelona (IERMB) in September 2021, which also pointed out that the means of transport where more cases occur is the metro (with 60%), followed by Rodalies Renfe (22%). Likewise, according to the 2016 Sexist Violence Survey, the subway or the bus account for 21.6% of the cases of women who suffered harassment in public spaces.

But in addition to cases of sexual harassment, the newly released purple points will also have the function of advice and information in the event of LGTBIphobic aggression. And it is that the Observatory against Homophobia, this last type of events increased by 1.5% in the first quarter of 2021 compared to the previous year.

The new purple agents are TMB professionals who have been trained by the resource center for women, Ciba, in promoting zero tolerance against any manifestation of sexist violence or LGTBIphobia. Marta Rubio, automatic line operations technician, was one of the 40 workers trained in this first round: “Our training has mainly consisted of having more tools to be able to act in these cases with more personalized attention. Despite having our internal TMB protocol, as La Ciba is specialized in sexist violence, they have given us more means to be able to help the victims in terms of who they can contact after the aggression, for example”. TMB’s idea is to extend this training to all subway workers.

The measure has been launched, in the form of a pilot test, in the seven Santa Coloma metro stations, but the idea is that all the network stations have the presence of these violet agents. Likewise, TMB has announced that it wants to place purple dots at stations when a massive event takes place that involves a lot of passenger traffic.

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The public company also plans to expand the installation of surveillance cameras (which are currently more than 8,000, between trains and stations), greater lighting in the stations and the constant awareness campaigns launched by the company.

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Violet agents against sexist violence and LGTBIphobia in the Barcelona metro