How To Shout Down A Perv: Tips And Tricks From The Subway Badass

When she eviscerated her subway attacker, Nicola Briggs wasn't planning on becoming an international heroine — she didn't even know she was being filmed. But she was, and she did, and I'm happy to personally confirm she's really that awesome.


That Labor Day weekend, headed to dinner with a friend, the five-foot-tall Briggs realized the man sidling up to her was way too close — and had pulled out his condom-encased penis.

Briggs began shouting, and she didn't stop. Her righteous confrontation, which ended up going viral, would inspire hundreds of thousands, many of whom were women who wished they'd said what she said.

Her attacker was a pro: He had special zipperless pants that allowed him to shimmy his member back into hiding (maybe he'd been reading Dickflash after all), and it turned out he was a repeat offender. He is now serving his four-month sentence before being deported to Mexico.

Briggs, a full-time Tai Chi teacher and consultant, didn't see herself on video until it ended up on the local news, and even then it took a few days for her to bring herself to relive it. (She disliked the local news blurring her face, because she doesn't see herself as a victim.) But now, she told us, she's more than happy to spread the message that you shouldn't stand for these violations, and while everyone has to make the safest choice for themselves, she encourages women to speak up and to go to law enforcement.


Here she is offering some more lessons, with an assist from Jalopnik editor and volunteer sexual predator Ray Wert.

Camera work and co-editing by Matt Toder. Special thanks to Ray Wert, who is not actually a sexual predator. Bonus: Outtakes here.


Earlier: Subway Flasher Messes With The Wrong Woman



This reminds me of a half-buried memory from about 20 years ago, when I was traveling from Zurich to Paris on an overnight train. I was in a car with my sister and two strangers (both men); at about 3 am about 20 people boarded the train, all talking really loudly at one another; I had the uneasy feeling that it was some sort of gang. Three of them got in the car with us, moved our baggage around, talked loudly at us (I only understood every third word, since it was in French, but it wasn't flattering; it was basically insulting crap.) I was scared but wasn't sure where to go, since a bunch of the guys were also in the hallway outside the door. So I tried to ignore them and pretended to read my book. Probably not convincing, since my hands were shaking. My sister pretended to be asleep. Meanwhile, the two guys who had been in the car with us were laughing along with the insults and gestures. Assholes.

Anyway, the leader-ish guy of the new arrivals decided after about 20 minutes of this to get physical. He started gesturing at me, and finally made a grab for me.

I snapped. I just had a little paperback in my hand, but I hauled off and whacked him on the head with the spine of the book, shouting something resembling "leave me alone" in French.

To my utter shock, the guy backed off. He said a few angry things to his audience about me, but stopped talking to me. About 10 minutes later, he and his gang got off the train.

I was still so angry and scared, I was shaking. The two guys who had been there all along turned solicitous, asking if I was OK. Yeah. Thanks for not helping and laughing when I was scared, though.

Perhaps the worst part was that when we got to Paris, my sister chided me for fighting the guy off, saying that I could I have made it worse. I guess I could have. But the fact that she made the situation out to be my fault somehow sure felt worse than anything. I mean, I know she was scared too, but...

Sigh. I'm really glad nothing worse happened to us, and I shudder to think that I could have made that happen. But...fighting back felt sooo much better than being fearful and pretending like it wasn't happening. It really did.