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Hi Holla Back,
The incident I’m writing to you about happened a few months ago. I wish I had known about your site at the time- I just read about it today on Jezebel. After reading through many entries on your website I decided to write in and tell what happened to me. My story is very similar to Sarah’s from December 4, 2009. I wonder if perhaps it was the same man.
I was commuting to work one morning last winter on the downtown W train between 59th and 23rd. The train wasn’t packed tightly, but it was rush hour so it was standing room only. I had a seat on the bench. I vaguely took note of a man standing a couple of feet away. Not sure why exactly, but I suppose subconsciously alarm bells were going off in my head. He wasn’t really dressed appropriately for the season, and he wasn’t carrying a bag or anything. He was wearing jeans and a very large baggy hooded sweatshirt with one of those kangaroo pockets in front. When the woman sitting next to me got off he immediately, very quickly, took her seat with his hands in the pocket of his sweatshirt, He sat there, just like that, with his hands on his lap in the pocket of his sweatshirt, the whole time. Out of the corner of my eye I observe his hands moving in his pocket. His head tilts back, his facial expression almost pained, and he moans several times very faintly. Now, a more experienced NYer would have seen this coming a mile ahead. I had only been in the city for about a year at that time and was still incredibly naive. As it slowly dawned on my stupid, sleepy, brain what was happening, I stood up, shocked, and waited by the door for my stop. Still reeling, I continued to observe him. There is absolutely no doubt in my mind he was masturbating. With an entire train of commuters around him. I look back and think what an idiot I was to have done nothing. I should have said something. I should have yelled. I should have taken a picture. I should have immediately gotten off the train and found a cop or told an MTA employee. But in that moment I felt totally powerless by the shock, disbelief, and humiliation. And somewhere in the back of my brainwashed-girl-head I didn’t want to embarrass HIM. What the fuck?! I have since observed this same technique of public masturbation on another occasion. I want the women of this city to be aware that this is happening. To know this is unacceptable. And to REACT.
I hope my story can help someone else. It took me far to long to realize what was happening, and I was so shocked by it I couldn’t act. I know better now. I’m going to pass along the link to your website to all my lady friends. Hopefully we can make a difference.
I was taking the D train at Coney Island with a friend of mine. We were sitting and chatting, waiting for the train to move. Suddenly a man in his late 50s or early 60s to mid 60s came on the train and sat right across from me and my friend. We didn’t take note of it, even though there were clearly many other available seats. So we just ignored it. Anyways, we continued to chat until a few moments later, I felt I was being watched. So I looked across from me and I saw the old guy staring at me. Then I noticed his legs were spread wide open and he had his hands down by his crotch, so I wondered why and looked down. I was disgusted and shocked at the same time. His penis was hanging out of his pants and he was furiously rubbing the head. I freaked out and screamed. My friend asked me what happened cause she wasn’t facing the guy. So I told her what I saw and she freaked out as well, too scared to look. We both quickly ran to the end of the train. But still, the guy had his eyes on us and was staring back. In fact, his expression appeared as if he was ready to ” release. ” After we got to a stop, my friend and I ran to another cart. Thankfully, the old guy didn’t follow us. After we got off our stop, I was emotionally and visually scarred for the rest of the day. I can’t understand why it happened. I didn’t wear anything relieving at all. In fact, I was covered head to toe, the only thing exposed was my face. My clothes were also not form fitting either. It was around winter, in mid February, so I wore lots of layers. I had gloves and hat on. Ever since then, I became even more paranoid about taking the train.. I really wish something could’ve been done. I’m glad I’m not the only one in NY that has experienced this kind of situation. Better now, we can all work together and fight against this.
I really wish I knew about this website before the incident happened. I wish I did something at the time, but like many other women here, it’s a powerless situation.
Submitted by Virginia
This happened on the F train on Wednesday morning, April 14, I think this guy got on at Roosevelt (I guess around 7 or 7:05?), and he got off at Union Turnpike at 7:15 or 7:20. The lady next to him was sleeping and leaning on him and her arm was slipping over her leg next to his, so he moved his arm over hers and was trying to hold her hand. I was looking at him b/c I’m like aren’t they strangers, why is he trying to touch her?
Then he just kept staring at me, and eventually put his hands down his pants for like 10 seconds. When we rolled into Union Turnpike he looked like he was getting ready to get up and so did I b/c that was my stop too so he hesitated and kept sitting there and would stand up. When I stepped off the train and looked back, he of course got off the train without her b/c he didn’t actually know her. I turned around and got back on the train and woke her up like hey wake up don’t miss your stop, and the guy next to you was practically holding your hand while you slept – but she was so sleepy it didn’t register.
Then I tried to report the incident to that hotline that the MTA has been advertising for sexual misconduct, and the lady that took my call was stone cold, couldn’t give two shits, and just told me that if the lady was an adult she has to report it herself. When I called right back to ask if that guy had touched himself in front of everyone, why can’t I report it, and she said that lady has to report it. I called back the next day and it was another operator, and she told me I could submit the picture to any precinct, and she told me where the nearest one is.
Take a few minutes and remember his face and if you see him on the train or in the neighborhood, stay away from him or get a cop or something if one is nearby.
Submitted by Christine
Today, I had gotten on the R train going to queens from 23rd and broadway, I dosed off and woke up to this man, sitting a few seats in front of me, glaring. It weirded me out but I didn’t think too much of it. I had closed my eyes for another few minutes and when I opened them, he was leaning against the door still glaring at me. Then I started noticing his arm moving, then ultimately realizing that this nasty asshole has his penis out and is seriously masturbating in front of me. I’m mortified, in complete shock. I didn’t think to take a picture, this was the first time anything like this has happened to me. He ran out once we reached the station. I filed a police report and a detective is meeting me after work tomorrow to take the train to see if I can spot the guy again. I feel victimized. Ladies, please stay alert. Carry mace with you. And don’t be scared to tell anyone; especially the police or mta. These men are scum and they deserve to rot.
Submitted by Char
This jackass starting touching himself while I was at the Neptune Diner today. There were a lot of little kids running around – the more noise they made the more he did it. We told the host and he was in the process of being tossed as we left.
Submitted by Martha
It was about 9am this morning and I got off at 72nd street to transfer to the downtown 1. The platform was pretty packed and I though to myself that a train hadn’t come in a while, regardless of how packed it was I was going to get on. Lucky me (I thought at the time) the train showed up a couple of minutes later. We all crowded on. And if you’re in NYC you know the trains can get super packed at this time. I was right at the door and someone squeezed in behind me. I didn’t give it much thought. A little into the ride i think i felt something on my butt but I couldn’t be sure because I had on a long, down coat (thank the Lord for this). I started to feel uncomfortable and I pushed my pelvis forward so that my ass was no longer rubbing against anyone. I also moved myself to the side a little but there wasn’t anywhere to go.
At the next stop the guy got off and I looked dead at him and saw that his hand was covered in cum. I panicked and looked at my coat and sure enough there was cum all over my coat.
Ladies, this guy is still out there and I’m going to keep my guard up and if I see him again (and I feel that I will) I’m getting a picture. I was in complete shock when this happened so I was a bit flustered but now during my commutes I’m going to try to find him. That smug look as he got off is forever etched in my mind.
Submitted by J.
From the New York Daily News today:
Cops are searching for a subway pervert who they say exposed and fondled himself in front of an 18-year-old woman in Queens.
The sicko sat across from the teen on a Queens-bound G train at the Woodhaven Blvd. station in Elmhurst on Nov. 7 at about 3a.m., cops said.
He allegedly stared at the victim and pleasured himself.
The woman bolted from the train when the doors opened and boarded a Brooklyn-bound train out of the station, police said.
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
As a high school student coming from suburbs riding to school into Manhattan fifteen years ago it was a shock to see a grotesque looking man performing this action [masturbating] “in front of me”. It was then again years later commuting to Manhattan to work and seeing another disgusting grin faced gray haired man coming into my train car sitting on the other end of the train and committing the same act. In fear I slowly moved head away and tried to remain my composure . Later that afternoon I tried to report the incidence to a train conductor but since it was late in the day too late for anything to be done… back then cell phones didn’t have that camera feature that could allow you take the pictures and report them, something I could have really used…
Submitted by Jacqueline
I’m beginning to hate men, I am beginning to hate walking outside. I am turning into a racist. I’m becoming an asshole. I wish I could carry around a sword.
Today on the F train towards Jamaica at about 8:00am, a man with reflective shades sat in front of me in a crowded train. It seemed strange that he had been wearing reflective sunglasses in the morning in an underground train. I soon realized that after a couple of minutes, he was masturbating. At this moment, I leaned in and yelled if that’s what he’s doing. He could not respond; however, because this is the second time this has happened to me, I decided to yell some more. I was enraged. I am so sick and tired of being harassed. I’m becoming an asshole with no tolerance for this type of behavior. So, I continued to yell at this man until the entire train knew what he was doing. I woke the lady next to him to inform her that she had been sitting next to an pervert masterbater. Then, I proceeded to curse this guy out some more. Then to my surprise another man on the train started to yell at him saying that if he doesn’t stop that he was going
to hurt him.
ATTENTION: WOMEN PLEASE SAY SOMETHING !!!
I think what surprised me the most was not that someone stood up with me, but that it was a man. None of the women on the train said anything when they heard and understood what was happening to me. Are we that afraid? We need to ban together and look out and help each other. When I see other women getting harassed, I always jump in to help. Where are the women to help me? How can we curb this type of harassment, if not everyone tried to change it.
What can I do to help change this?
Submitted by Michelle