Japan’s transit systems have a serious groping problem, so much so that a few decades ago, Tokyo introduced women’s-only cars in hopes of stymying unwanted touching onboard the city’s trains. Those cars haven’t really helped the problem—if anything, they’ve just made men mad they’re being left out of something—but thankfully there’s a new-ish app taking up the anti-molesting mantle, and people in Japan love it.
According to the Guardian, the app, dubbed “Digi Police,” has been downloaded over 237,000 times since it was issued by police in Tokyo three years ago, which is apparently an “unusually high figure” for an app of its kind. Digi Police protects commuters from gropers in two ways: 1) It allows victims to display a message on their phone reading “There is a groper here. Please help,” to other commuters and 2) it activates a voice on their phone that shouts “Stop it!” (in Japanese, obviously) quite loudly. Here it is in action:
Police say the app makes it easier for groping victims to come forward, since in the past, many women groped onboard trains and in other public spaces were reluctant to confront molesters. In patriarchal Japan, molestation is generally considered a “nuisance,” even though it is a crime, and it is rampant—according to the Associated Press, in 2017, there were 1,750 reported cases of groping in Tokyo on trains and in other public spaces, even with the women’s only cars.