Monday, June 26, 2006

Getting off at Richmond

From the New York Times today:

Women Have Seen It All on Subway, Unwillingly

It is a hidden reality of the New York City subway system, and perhaps mass transit systems everywhere since the first trolley car took to the tracks. It begins with a pinch or a shove, someone standing too close. But it can be much worse.

This week, as the Police Department announced the arrest of 13 men charged with groping and flashing women in the subways, women around the city nodded. Yes, they said, this had happened to them. Yesterday. Last month. Last fall. Twenty years ago.

"Every girl I know has at least one story," said Barbara Vencebi, 23, a studio photographer standing outside the No. 6 train station at 116th Street in East Harlem yesterday.

It is a crime abetted by the peculiar landscape of the underworld that is the subway system, by the anonymity of a crowded car where everybody is avoiding eye contact. And by the opportunity for a quick escape at the next stop, to disappear behind a pillar, into a tunnel, up an escalator.


Fortunately for me I don't think I'm considered particularly frottable nor worthy of a flash, and so I can make my way on packed trains without too much concern. I suspect that many others are not as fortunate. Presumably the experience is the same on Melbourne trains as it is on the New York subway, although thus far it's not something I've heard much about. Certainly an enthusiastic frotteur would find ample opportunities on packed suburban services, but thus far I've remained oblivious.

Enlighten me, fellow travellers.

5 comments:

Mothy said...

Ari,

Nasty topic.

"Nine passengers were raped and 168 sexually assaulted last year as sex crime on the network increased dramatically."

2004 Crime Stats on public Transport (having trouble finding more recent)

And who could forget
The Diplomat's Son

Then there's the anecdotal - an aunt who had a guy "shuffle the deck" in a poorly concealed manner behind a magazine while starting at her. She got off at the next station and called a friend to come and get ehr. Until then she'd caught the train to work every day and didn't own a car. She bought one within a week.

Mothy
Note: Mistakenly posted this response over at WEEK BY WEEK who were calling for Bach to resign.

weekbyweek said...

Which Bach were we calling to resign? JS Bach?

Anonymous said...

I one copped a headjob on a train. It was a good one too, but the carriage was pretty much empty. Does it still count?

Anonymous said...

"Presumably the experience is the same on Melbourne trains as it is on the New York subway"

That's a pretty big presumption...

Rebekka said...

I have been catching the train to and from work for the past six and a half years every weekday (other than if ill or if on holidays). Before that, I caught the train to and from uni every day for considerably more years than it should have taken me to get a three year degree. Being carless, I usually catch a train at least twice in a weekend as well. Recently I caught a steam train to Glen Waverley. In all that commutin' time, not one person has ever "shuffled the deck", exposed themselves, or tried to touch me in an inappropriate manner.

Perhaps I am more scary than weirdos on public transport?

O God, perhaps I am a weirdo on public transport! Although I have seldom tried to touch anyone inappropriately on public transport.