At around 9:45pm I got on the Q train’s first/last stop at 57th Street heading to Brooklyn. The doors are all closed save for one at the end and only half of the double doors at that. This is normal. All the doors are opened just before the train leaves. It usually sits there for a while until another Q train pulls in. So I’m sitting in the car by myself next to the window reading a book when I hearing someone tapping on the window. I choose to ignore it because something tells me it is trouble. Well this person taps again and again and again. Finally I just turn my back towards the window and pretend to read because I’m nervous by now. What does this person want? The tapping persists until another guy walks in and I think this other person by my window will leave but the tapping continues.
Suddenly, all the doors open and my heart drops. A short sleepy-looking man holding a crumpled piece of newspaper in his hand walks in and sits right by me. I’m thinking that he’s probably a homeless guy asking for money until he removes that piece of newspaper and shows me his penis, hanging out of his pants. Oh so this is why he was trying to get my attention. He makes sure that the other guy, sitting not too far away, doesn’t see what he’s doing by creating a “wall” with that newspaper. I can smell the alcohol on him and he acts so nonchalant, which feeds my anger and indignation.
A few years ago a man in an old Mustang stopped me on the pretense of asking for directions so that I could see him masturbating. When he drove off I remember feeling so disgusted and victimized that I resolved never to let that happen again.
Here was a guy exposing himself to me in a similar situation. So I decided to take action. I had read about women empowering themselves in situations like these by taking pictures of the perpetrator so that gave me strength. I move so that I am sitting directly across from him and took three photos with my cellphone. I then walk quickly out of the train and break into a run to find the train conductor. I find a woman operator and explain my situation. She says something about the police not being around when you need them. I walk with the woman and point out the man with the beret holding the newspaper, who had come out since I left and she suggests I move into her train car. Moments later she comes back in and speaks into the PA system that the next stop will be 42nd Street. The train starts to move and I wonder what happened to the creep. Did the police apprehend him? Then the train operator comes back out and tells me “Thanks miss, that guy didn’t get on this train.” I am baffled. Shouldn’t more be done to stop him? I look out the window as the train pulls away and I see that same creep now sitting on a bench unbeknownst to the people around him.
All I can do is post on this blog for the whole world to see. Ladies, beware.
Submitted by Clara