NYC Transit Plans Anti-Groping Campaign

As Many As 2,000 Awareness Posters Will Be Posted Around Subways Starting In September
Study: 63 Percent Of Women Say They Have Been Assaulted

NEW YORK (CBS) ― For years countless women have had to put
up with sexual harassment on the subway, from lewd comments to
groping on a crowded train.

Now the Metropolitan Transportation Authority is about to launch a
new campaign to crack down on the problem.

A packed train can be a nightmare for women.

“If guys get too close and start rubbing up against you it’s just gross,”
subway rider Nicole Saulter said.

“You’ll feel them pushing up on you with their lower part of the body
and they’ll stay there,” Ivy Soto added.

The agency expects to distribute 2,000 posters throughout the subway
system that tell people who are sexually harassed on trains to report it
to an employee or police officer.

A study by Manhattan Borough President Scott Stringer last year
found 63 percent of women surveyed reported being sexually harassed
while on subways and another 10 percent said they were sexually

The study also found that 69 percent of the women surveyed reported
they had felt the threat of sexual assault or harassment while on the city
subway system.

So starting next month, riders will see posters on the trains that
say “Sexual Harassment is a Crime in the subway, too,” and to report it
to an MTA employee or police officer. The MTA is even considering
putting the ads on the back of every MetroCards. Self-defense expert
Jen Sung said the problem is that most women are so shocked they do

“They just ignore it or they whisper very quietly,’ Don’t do that.’ Or
they won’t look at the person and look down,” Sung said.

Sung said it’s time for women to take control.

“You look them straight in the face. You let them know that you’re
not afraid and be loud. Say, ‘Listen, you’re way too close.
Back off,'” Sung said.

If that doesn’t work and you feel threatened, she said give them a
sharp nudge in the stomach with your elbow. If you’re facing
them, plant one foot in front of the other for balance, and shove
their shoulders back.

“And push with your entire might,” Sung added.

While it’s good to know the moves, Sung said self defense is
only 10 percent physical and 90 percent awareness.

Sung said a lot of women feel if they’re quiet, looking down and
not bothering anyone, they won’t be targeted. She said the opposite
is true, so it’s important to be confident on the train. Stand up
straight, make eye contact with people and don’t be distracted by
headphones, cell phones or keeping your nose buried in a book.

The MTA campaign kicks off in September. It’s similar to one
started in Boston that has more than doubled the number of sexual
harassment reports.

(© MMVIII, CBS Broadcasting Inc. All Rights Reserved.)


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