I’m conducting research for a street harassment article and I’ve gotten totally sidetracked by a story that escaped my attention last September.
As I’ve noted before, men groping women on the Tokyo subway system is a huge problem. There are even women-only cars to try to combat it. Well, last September Tokyo stepped it up a notch to hold “Groping Prevention Week” because men were organizing online and plotting out the best places to grope women!
“The growing problem of groping on public transit has been exacerbated by the internet, as Japanese authorities have reported there are over a hundred websites in Japan designed for gropers — to swap information on the best train lines and travel times to cop a feel, and exchange stories and images of sneaky squeezes.
Guilty gropers face a fine of $6,000 and up to six months in prison, but it is believed that thousands of women keep uninvited train touches quiet due to modesty.”
“Some gropers, encouraged by the websites, have been organizing into gangs to surround a victim while accomplices block the view of fellow passengers. Police warn that convicted gropers face up to 6 months in prison and a $6,000 fine. The crackdown—described as “groping prevention week”—snared its first groper within minutes: a 30-year-old man charged with grabbing a 15-year-old girl.”
Via Japan Today:
“The Tokyo Metropolitan Police Department launched an anti-groping campaign on Monday, with some 200 people including high school girls handing out fliers and tissues at Ikebukuro station and plain-clothed officers being posted aboard trains on lines which run through Tokyo.
Police said that plain-clothed male and female officers trained in anti-pickpocketing and other crime-prevention measures would patrol carriages [and] they would beef up their uniformed presence at major stations nine lines…Police said the number of incidents is increasing, and there have already been nearly 1,000 reported cases of groping or photos being taken up skirts in the first half of this year.”
So gropers have figured out how to use the Internet and are using it to get organized? Hmm. It is a high tech country and look at Japanese games like RapeLay…I guess it was inevitable. Let’s hope the crackdown by police lasted longer than a week (can’t tell from my google searches) so more of these idiots are arrested and others are deterred.
And let’s hope that would-be-gropers in other countries don’t get any ideas about organizing. Although, maybe that would be better. If we found their sites and figured out their plots, it would make it easier to fight back and rally together protesters, police, and the media to shame and arrest them! Because that’s one of the worst things about street harassment (including groping), not knowing when or where it will happen and then being too shocked and paralyzed to do anything when it does. So please, harassers, if you’re going to grope, stalk, and harass us, at least let us know so we can be prepared to fight back.