Quick Hit: Boston targets harassers on subway

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Big ups to MBTA!
Boston transit officials have launched a campaign against sexual harassment on the subway. While the “grope patrol” (as they like to call themselves) makes me giggle a little, the campaign has already begun to make a difference in encouraging women to come forward when they’re harassed on the train:

“The number of reported groping incidents — from the relatively minor to the really lewd — has doubled. Some women have even preserved clothing, which police officers need for evidence, while others are sending in pictures of guys they snap on their cell phones.”

They must have gotten that idea from the Hollaback ladies of Boston!
Via NPR.

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21 Comments

  1. LogrusZed
    Posted May 29, 2008 at 6:22 pm | Permalink

    That’s a great advert/PSA. Too bad mouth-breathers don’t read.

  2. baphomet
    Posted May 29, 2008 at 7:26 pm | Permalink

    it’s because just recently a teen girl (i think age 15) reported a man groping her on the train. :/ it’s really scary, especially since it’s a line i regularly take and i’ve definitely experienced creepy people talking to me / getting too close. i’m so glad they are taking action on this.

  3. exelizabeth
    Posted May 29, 2008 at 8:05 pm | Permalink

    I heard this and am really glad Boston is doing it, but I was a little annoyed with the report’s tone. It just seemed a little too amused, like they were doing a funny human interest story. At one point the (female) reporter asked the undercover cop if she’s disappointed when no one tries to grope her. I was like, WTF? Groping is not a compliment, it’s a violation.
    Although it did make me think of the groper sting on Reno 911, where they’re trying to catch gropers on the bus and Weigel is dressed up as a school girl and she’s wearing granny panties under her short skirt. It’s pretty hilarious.

  4. sissychrissy1
    Posted May 29, 2008 at 9:13 pm | Permalink

    The Boston Area Rape Crisis Center (BARCC) is also involved with this project! I’ve heard so many women tell stories of men rubbing up against them on the crowded trains. Ick.

  5. sissychrissy1
    Posted May 29, 2008 at 9:15 pm | Permalink

    The Boston Area Rape Crisis Center (BARCC) is also involved with this project! I’ve heard so many women tell stories of men rubbing up against them on the crowded trains. Ick.

  6. sissychrissy1
    Posted May 29, 2008 at 9:15 pm | Permalink

    The Boston Area Rape Crisis Center (BARCC) is also involved with this project! I’ve heard so many women tell stories of men rubbing up against them on the crowded trains. Ick.

  7. Dykonoclast
    Posted May 29, 2008 at 10:38 pm | Permalink

    sissychrissy beat me to it. It was, in fact, something that BARCC has been pushing for for years.
    While I’m thrilled that more women are coming forward on this, I remain convinced that the MBTA has sordid motives. They have a long track record of doing anything to increase their presence and militarism. And the subtext of its 3-part ad campaign is kinda horrifying. They say it isn’t that harassing women is wrong, it’s just illegal. If you are the target of some dude’s incontinence, don’t defend yourself– go find a cop. If you’re observing a unsavory interaction, don’t step up to help, call a cop.
    I don’t think that the state is prepared to deal with the scope of sexual violence and I find their ‘solutions’ troubling at best. Nevertheless, in instances where one would logically expect to find cops [like when my friends get jerked off on or punched in the face by scummy dudes on the train who want to fuck them], the MBTA police couldn’t care less. If this is changing now, it’s only because they have a way to increase their budget and their forces while making themselves look good.

  8. qwerty
    Posted May 29, 2008 at 11:18 pm | Permalink

    “They say it isn’t that harassing women is wrong, it’s just illegal”
    I understand what you’re saying, but the vast majority of people believe that something illegal = wrong.

  9. Posted May 30, 2008 at 5:15 am | Permalink

    As someone who has been groped for merely walking down the street (even with a group of friends in tow), I can say “gross” and “kudos.”

  10. Mina
    Posted May 30, 2008 at 6:05 am | Permalink

    “…And the subtext of its 3-part ad campaign is kinda horrifying. They say it isn’t that harassing women is wrong, it’s just illegal…”
    I took the MBTA yesterday. No other passengers harassed me. No doubt some of them don’t care about me and kept their hands off me did so for their own self-interest rather than for my well-being. Should I be horrified that I didn’t get harassed by them, and wish sexual harassment on mass transit doesn’t stop until the harassers learn the purest reasons to stop?

  11. Destra
    Posted May 30, 2008 at 8:41 am | Permalink

    I’ve seen the ads. They make me smile every time. Whenever I see one on a train I want to pull ladies over to the ad and point it out.

  12. iqonefiftynine
    Posted May 30, 2008 at 9:57 am | Permalink

    The ads are wonderfully objective! There is a very clear limit to the physical, but… the punishment needs to be written more prominently.
    Hollaback Boston though has issues…
    Heey, ladieees!’ One of them asked her friends, ‘What’d he say?’ to which another responded, ‘He said “Hey ladies,” … like a faggot.’

  13. Posted May 30, 2008 at 10:35 am | Permalink

    Wow – thank you NPR and Vanessa and MBTA. I have been having heated debates about how we cannot cannot cannot accept “it’s unpleasant but it happens” as the threshold for what we know to be wrong.
    Thanks again, Feministing for keeping track of this stuff.

  14. Posted May 30, 2008 at 10:41 am | Permalink

    The MBTA in Boston doesn’t often get it right, but good show this time! Maybe the airlines need to take notice (regarding the March masturbation incident)?

  15. marileec
    Posted May 30, 2008 at 11:00 am | Permalink

    baphomet: Last year, some guy groped a 12-year-old girl (I think, if I’m remembering correctly).
    He was caught on tape, and they played the tape on all the news stations. He was caught in something like 4 hours — neighbors AND FAMILY called in to report him to the cops. It was awesome. (The fact that he was caught, not the fact that he groped.)

  16. marileec
    Posted May 30, 2008 at 11:06 am | Permalink

    BTW, that grope happened on the bus. D’oh. I haven’t finished my first coffee yet!

  17. kylljoi
    Posted May 30, 2008 at 12:19 pm | Permalink

    I think this is an amazing idea. A few years ago when I lived in Dallas I was pinched on the Red Train to the downtown district. Not groped, PINCHED. It was a crowded train, and I knew exactly who did it. Instead of moving I turned around to face the guy and kept pushing for eye contact the rest of the trip. He looked so uncomfortable. He apologized when he left the train.
    When I told my Japanese instructor about this, she relayed to me that it happens OFTEN in Japan. And women sit through it. I was so mad at her when she told me it had happened to her and she didn’t think it was a big deal. She just shrugged it off. I made her promise that if it EVER happened again, she’d slap the guy. Or at least call him “Saite” which means the lowest of the low.
    While America doesn’t protect women as much as it should, we should be appreciative that we at least live in a country where social adjustments to respect women is an easier transition than in other countries!

  18. cheyannimal
    Posted May 30, 2008 at 4:13 pm | Permalink

    I have taken the t many times, and have seen some perverse things while riding. when i was about 13, my sister and best friend were coming home and a man rubbed his erection on my friends butt. At the time we were scared and disgusted so we just got off at the next stop. I think having information available would have helped us at the time. We may have been able to prevent this man from touching other young girls. with this new program in place i believe victims of sexual harassment will be able to do just that. YAY MBTA!!!

  19. VeggieTart
    Posted June 2, 2008 at 9:52 pm | Permalink

    I’m lucky I’ve never been harassed on the DC Metro; here, people studiously ignore each other. No, the worst I’ve dealt with here is someone saying to me, “How you doing, baby,” or something like that. To which I responded, “Fine,” and snapped, “My name’s not Baby.”

  20. Hannah
    Posted June 3, 2008 at 1:34 pm | Permalink

    My fair city! Now if only we could stop the train from blowing up/crashing into other trains…

  21. nat2000
    Posted April 8, 2009 at 11:36 pm | Permalink

    cheyannimal its too bad your friend did not release a huge fart on that pervert when he was rubbing his erection on her butt. i bet it would deflate in no time LMAO! that would teach those lousy frotteurs! i bet if every woman they rub up against farts on them they would never frotteurize another woman again! HAHAHAHA!

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