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This is an update to the post “I didn’t think he’d be able to get one past me” from December 4th.
WOW. I just wanted to write and give an update to my story. As I said, I was so shaken up that I didn’t have the mind to get off the train after the assault and find a police officer. I knew that I would definitely report it but the man was pretty non-descript and got off amidst hundreds of other people so I didn’t think it would matter if I reported it right then or the next day.
It happened on Wednesday evening during rush hour and I found the number for the NYC sex crimes hotline (212) 267-RAPE finally yesterday and called. They were so nice and called me back after having spoken with the transit precinct in my area that would handle the situation. She asked me if I would be willing to go out there and look through some mugshots and press charges. I was beside myself–I felt grateful someone had even answered the phone, let alone that they were taking the situation seriously. I said absolutely and took the train straight out to the precinct, which is actually located in the Van Wyck Blvd. subway station in Queens.
The officer was expecting me and got some initial information and had her partner take the full report. I described the guy to the best of my ability–I gave estimates of his weight and height and I could remember some of the details of his face and what he was wearing. She asked if I would be able to pick him out of some photos and I said sure I would try. She asked why I didn’t report it after it happened because there had been an officer on that platform at that time and it could have facilitated the process. I just told her because I was shaken up and didn’t think it would make a difference. I just wasn’t prepared for something like that to happen and didn’t want to get off at the same stop as the creep, either.
The two detectives I needed to speak with had gotten called out to something so she said unfortunately I would need to come back to look through the photos and I said that wasn’t a problem and her partner offered to walk me out to the train. As we were walking out the two detectives walked up and I was elated. I couldn’t believe the good fortune. They took me into their office and apologized for having me repeat the story but they needed to get as many details as possible. They set me up on a computer and offered me water and asked if I needed to use the phone since there wasn’t any cell phone reception down there. We entered some search parameters in the database and I began clicking through dozens of pages of criminals. There were whole pages of people who looked nothing like my assailant and I just clicked through. Given the nature of the crime I wasn’t so sure he would be in the system–because he hadn’t committed a rape or outright exposed himself and I know that “smaller crimes” like public groping and indecency are reported, let alone prosecuted, with much much less frequency.
I asked how advanced the system was and if I could set aside certain photos that were more similar than others just to kind of give them a more general idea of what he looked like but unfortunately that wasn’t really possible. There were thousands and thousands of photographs and so another detective entered some more specific criteria and revised the search while another brought out a new binder with print outs of criminals that have been arrested more recently. I was pretty sure the mugshot efforts would be futile but I was so grateful for the incredibly respectful and smooth experience I was having with reporting such a gross and heinous, albeit sometimes shrugged off, crime. I really couldn’t believe it.
I opened the binder and started flipping through a few pages while the detectives pulled out even more binders that I could look through next. I had maybe flipped through about 10 pages and I turned a page and my heart just nearly stopped. My legs went absolutely limp and I could feel the adrenaline coursing through my body. My heart started racing and my hands were shaking and I said “omigosh–my heart is racing and my legs are limp and there’s adrenaline pumping and I don’t know why I would have this experience if this weren’t him” And the female detective laughed and said “Well that’s a pretty good sign.” And I said “that’s the guy.” And the male detective asked me with what percentage of certainty I could say that it was him and I felt so surreal, couldn’t believe I was actually picking someone out of a book of mugshots and that out of a city of 8 million people, this perp was actually in the book, and I said “100% that is the guy.” He had been arrested only once before, three years ago, within a week of the crime against me, for something similar. His physical statistics matched what I had given them in my report almost to a T. In the report I had remembered some freckles on his nose and we zoomed in to the photo and sure enough-little brown freckles.
So there’s a search warrant out for this guy and one of the officers had just seen him on the train the day that I went in. He’s definitely out there and no stranger to NYC’s pervy little world. They said that if and when they pick him up they’ll bring him in and I’ll stand behind a glass window and I’ll pick him out of a lineup. I have no idea what to make of the situation–filing the report for my own personal sanity and reponsibility and having an officer take it down and not shrug it off or tell me there was nothing they could do about it was beyond my own wildest expectations. That all this has happened as a result is absolutely incredible and mind boggling. If this creep is picked up and released or picked up and questioned and it makes him think twice about prowling around and spreading his misery and disease to others I will be happy. If this creep is picked up and I am able to press charges…well I have no idea what kind of effect that would have on me. But a big amount of justice took place yesterday and for that I am happy.
In today’s AMNY: Transit cop charged with raping teen. Thanks to Heather Haddon, one of our HOLLAheroes, for reporting this awful crime. When station booth attendants are being cut left and right, every man counts.
“A 29-year-old transit cop charged with raping an 18-year-old woman is scheduled to face a judge on Wednesday.
Shawqi Ahmed, an officer since January 2006, was arrested by the NYPD Friday. Ahmed allegedly met the woman at a Brooklyn club on Thanksgiving and raped her in an apartment later that night, according to published reports. The NYPD would not confirm the details of the incident yesterday.
“It’s particularly a travesty considering this was someone people depend on to keep them safe,” said Emily May of Holla Back, a Web site documenting harassment and sexual abuse in New York City.
The case will go to a grand jury at Kings County Criminal Court, a DA spokesman said.”
Sunday December 6, 2009 6:28 PM By Heather Haddon
I’ve lived in NYC for five years and felt very fortunate that I had not yet experienced a sexual assault on the subway, as most of my friends have. I feel as though I am a very alert person but these perverts are just too good at being perverts and it snuck up on me.
A five foot tall man with a cap got on the W train at 59th St/Lexington during evening rush hour without any bags and carrying nothing. I was standing right by the door and I got a bad feeling about him as he got on, especially seeing the sideways glance a middle school age girl was giving him as she backed away from him and moved onto the train. I didn’t think he’d be able to get one past me so I carried on, reading my book and keeping a sideways glance on him.
The car was packed and he was so sly–inching closer and closer as I silently questioned if he was too close. His face was getting all contorted and he was breathing weird but out of the corner of my eye I could see that his face and torso were facing forward, so it didn’t appear he was pressing himself up against me. But I’m wondering where his body is and so I look down to see how he is turned and I see his big giant erection. This is when I flip out and start shoving him and hitting him away from me, pushing myself to the other side of him and shouting YOU FUCKING PERVERT GET THE FUCK OFF ME. I have always been prepared to be very loud and vocal if this happened to me and so I said very loudly “THIS FUCKING CREEP IS RUBBING HIMSELF UP AGAINST ME, THIS FUCKING PERVERT.”
I don’t think anyone flinched. The doors opened and without turning around to look at me he sheepishly crawled off the train like a fucking animal on a full moon. One woman did applaud my having vocally publicized the violation but I didn’t feel I had done enough. Incredible how someone can commit a sexual assault and leave the situation with the victim feeling as if they had done something wrong. There are some very sick and diseased souls in this city and I can only hope that this experience will allow me to help another victim cope in the future. I knew about Holla Back NYC before the assault but I honestly was so shaken up that I couldn’t collect my senses enough to take a photo or try to follow him and call the police. I just wonder what he did on the platform before he got on, and where he went next.
Submitted by Sarah
Submitted by Sally N.
Living in New York CIty, I’ve dealt with so much street harassment that I’ve come to feel it’s not even worth the effort to say or do anything in response… I just continue walking and hope that a terrible tragedy befalls the catcaller/hisser/groper/leerer/perv as soon as he’s out of my line of vision. Still, I’ve never really felt unsafe because I stick to populous, well-lit areas.
That all changed about a week ago when I was walking near the corner of 34th St. and 2nd Ave. around 2 pm on a Saturday. As I turned the corner from 2nd Ave. onto 34th Street, the creepiest-looking toothless man started yelling and cussing at me as he walked towards me, aggressively calling me a bitch and making a scene. No one who was walking by did a thing or even looked our way. Anyway, I just sneered at him, and then he really got in my face, yelling “BITCH! BITCH! BITCH!” over and over again. I flipped him off and kept walking because this guy seemed pretty unstable and I didn’t want to get into a physical confrontation with him.
As he passed me (he was walking in the opposite direction), I heard him continue to yell increasingly obscene slurs. I turned around and saw him making repulsive gestures with his hands that obviously simulated rape. Then he yelled, “I’M GONNA STICK MY DICK IN YOUR ASS AND PUT IT IN YOUR MOUTH,” along with other absolutely repulsive things.
A few seconds later, after he was a bit farther down the block, the shock of this harassment had worn off and I was just plain furious. I backtracked and, because he was walking slowly, turned around to see him him turn the corner onto 2nd Ave (the corner I originally came from). I walked really slowly and kept my eye on him until he took a seat on a planter near the corner. As I walked toward him, I kept my eyes on my cell phone, pretending I was texting. Then I stopped, and when he noticed me there (I was about 30 feet away), he started yelling “BITCH!” over and over again at him.
I glared at him, and the only thing I could think to say to him that wouldn’t gratify him was just to say calmly and very condescendingly, “You are so, so sad.” Then I walked away, hearing him yell maniacally at me as I walked away. It was gratifying to have the last word, and to keep my cool and show him that no matter what he yelled, I would neither stoop to his level nor give him any indication that his behavior was acceptable.
I think the worst part of this incident, however, was that I felt completely humiliated, as if my old gray sweatpants and faded windbreaker had somehow invited this harassment. It was degrading just to repeat to my boyfriend the things this guy had said to me. Unfortunately, I didn’t hear about HollaBack until after the incident (I saw the New York Times article that mentioned it) so I didn’t take a pic… but I wish I had. I would’ve taken an entire photo album (joking… kind of) especially to warn other women in the Murray Hill area who might come across this jerk.
Looking back on it, I’m not sure if I would approach anyone like that again simply because I don’t want to risk putting my life in danger. Even now, as I write about what happened, my pulse is racing, both out of anger and from a feeling of being threatened by this loser.
I also didn’t know until a few days ago that calling 911 to report disorderly conduct could’ve resulted in a ticket for the perv. I’ve resolved to call 911 in the future when I’m harassed, because let’s face it: seeing one of the multitude of pervs in NYC being accosted by the police would be infinitely more rewarding than saying anything to men like the one I faced that Saturday.
Submitted by Allison
Not only does street harassment make you feel degraded. It is embarrassing, particularly when everyone around you is simply ignoring the situation. None of us should be alone in this, let Allison know that you have her back by donating here!
Amy Zimmer, a member of our HOLLAfame, wrote an article yesterday in the Metro about our new IPhone app!
Here’s the story:
“NEW YORK. HollabackNYC, the Web site that encourages people to upload pictures of their harassers, is developing an iPhone app. They hope to use GPS mapping, to tag people’s pictures and reports, to an online map. E-mail alerts will be sent out in real-time. The data would be compiled in an annual report sent to police, public officials and the media.”
RightRides has generously offered to incubate this initiative, but we need help. Hollaback has been running with zero budget for four years, but we need funds to make this a reality. Help us out by donating!
Yesterday there was a public hearing on harassment and assault in the subways. There, the police called sexual harassment “No. 1 Quality of Life Offense.” Hey NYPD, people talking loudly on their cell phones is a quality of life offense. Harassment and assault is violence.
Still, we are glad the NYPD has taken notice and grateful for all the press on the issue:
“Subway Perv Reports Going Up” Metro International. (Check out the sidebar on the next generation of Hollaback!)
“Sexual Harassment Is ‘No. 1 Quality of Life Offense’ on Subways, Police Say” New York Times. (Check out the mention of New Yorkers for Safe Transit, co-founded by HollabackNYC!)
“Complaints of sexual abuse on subway worst in Manhattan” New York Post
“Gal’s wild ‘goosed’ chase” New York Post (Note: Oraia is helping us launch the Hollaback Iphone app!)
“Police: Subway Sexual Harassment the Top Quality of Life Concern” AMNY. (Check out the quote from Tara Rose, who submitted her story to HollabackNYC a couple weeks ago!)
“Sexual Harassment On Subways An ‘Underreported Crime‘” Gothamist.
This little man apparently wanted to have a measuring contest with my horse. He lost.
Submitted by Kit
Submitted by Sally N.
i was parking in the parking structure at work at university of Michigan hospital. as i turned around the corner i saw 3 men walking up the ramp towards the door of the hospital. as i drove by one of them yelled something about showing him my titties. i stopped my car and yelled “are you talking to me?” and he says “show us your titties, cigarette girl.” i told them to go fuck themselves and then i went inside and told security. they sent an officer out to talk to them and also kicked them out as they didn’t have any reason to be there. the officer asked if i wanted to press charges but i said no. i didn’t want to deal with the “justice” system. although after reading this site i wish i would have since so many women don’t really have this opportunity.
Submitted by Chelsea