Thank you for providing a forum for this. I hope that by gathering these stories, we can not only demonstrate the problem and it’s consequences, but find creative ways to stop this kind of thing from happening, or at least make it easier to catch the perverts who do things like this.
I was on the 1 train around 11:30 PM last night. The train was not very full and I grabbed two seats at the end of the car, sat down, and started doing crossword puzzles on my phone. Around 135th street I noticed a man was sitting accross from me. He was wearing button fly jeans and “adjusting” himself. At first, I thought he was just impolite, but continued to grab at his crotch, and he began to demanded my attention, and it became clear that this behavior was directed specifically at me.
I looked around the train and noticed that it was full of men, the closest of whom sat on the other side of the door 3 or 4 seats away. It seemed to me like a couple of them knew what was going on, but no one paid attention or offered to help in any way. I thought about moving, but I thought, “If I move, then he wins. He knows he’s gotten to me, and that’s what he wants.” So I stayed where I was and tried to seem focused on my game, but instead started snapping pictures.
The man slid over so he was directly in front of me, moved his bag to the public side of his body to shield himself from view when he pulled out his penis. Then he started waving it around in front of me, sucking his teeth, saying, “hey, hey” under his breath, and making kissing noises at me. I focused more intently on the screen, not giving him any attention, but clocking the subway stops until I got off the train at 191 Street.
When I got off the train, I ran one and a half cars down to the conductor, and told him about my experience and where the guy was. I told him I had pictures, did he want to see them? He said no, and that he would deal with the man. Feeling really pissed and disturbed, and without recourse, I went home and talked to my roommate who encouraged me to call 311 – the New York Subway has an entire ad campaign designed to address these issues, I figured there must be a way to report this behavior. 311 connected me to 911 and a half hour later the cops showed up at my door.
The police officers wanted nothing to do with me. They immediately started to tell me that there was nothing they could do, that even if I filed a report nothing would come of it. They asked me what did I really want to come of this: “you want him to be arrested, right, well that’s not going to happen.” And I could tell they just didn’t want to file the report. I said make me a number- I want to be counted, and I would absolutely like to file a report. They hemmed and hawed and said that they don’t really handle this kind of thing, they just do street business, and since this was underground it’s not really even in their domain. The case would have to be transfered to the transportation division and they didn’t even know what division of the transportation division it would go to. Plus, it wasn’t even a felony – a felony would be investigated, really, this is just a misdemeanor, and “why didn’t you just move?” Essentially, they were telling me that my case was going to get lost, no one would investigate it, no one could take my pictures – they didn’t even have the technology to do that kind of thing, the guy would never be found, this stuff happens, these guys just do stuff like this and there’s nothing they can really do about it.
I filed the report anyway. I got the badge numbers of the cops. I found out the division I need to follow up with. And I’m posting all of this here.
There must be a recourse for women in my position on the subway. Until there is, the authorities are basically condoning this behavior. I hope someone catches this guy. I hope the conductor did something. As for the Police – our so called protectors? Shame on them.
Submitted by Sevrin