To Catch A Predator: How To React To Guys Who Grope

Illustration for article titled To Catch A Predator: How To React To Guys Who Grope

Upon being groped during a lights-out section of a ride at Disneyland, the quick-thinking Christina Esquivel grabbed her cellphone and took a picture of her attacker. But that's only one way of stopping those creeps.

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Police are now using the photo, which shows the man with his arm stretched out toward Esquivel, in order to search for the groper. Esquivel is understandably upset and angry at the attack; "It's not right," she told a local news station. "I didn't do anything to deserve it, and he needs to pay for it."

"Paying for it" is also the theme of a column by Amanda Hess at The Sexist. In her fourth entry in a series on groping and victims of public assault, Hess documents the feelings of rage and impotence that can stem from an attack. Revenge fantasies are quite common: victims report fantasizing about striking back with sharp objects, "pounding his face into the pavement," and publicly embarrassing humiliating their attackers.

Hess also speaks to former Jezebel editor Megan Carpentier, who has made the violent revenge fantasy a reality:

"The next time some dude groped me in a club…I turned around and punched him in the kidneys," she says. When another man attempted to grope Carpentier's friend at (since-shuttered) retro club Polly Esters, Carpentier reached over her friend's shoulders and "pushed him to the ground," she says. The latest recipient of Carpentier's self-defense groped her at an ill-fated Rumors bachelorette party. "Dude walked up behind me, ground his crotch into my ass and attempted to cup both breasts in his hands," says Carpentier. "He got a 5-inch stiletto to the top of his foot, an elbow in the ribs, and if I'd had less to drink, he might've ended up with a sprained wrist."

Unfortunately, D.C. police officials don't support this tactic: "The Metropolitan Police Department would never recommend that victims of assaults confront the suspect. This can be extremely dangerous." While I understand the risks involved in fighting back, the idea that the victim should simply stay quiet and wait to report the assault is equally upsetting. Both Carpentier and Esquivel managed to stop their attacks, and possibly deter the men who felt it was OK to grab them from doing so to another woman. And as Hess's interviews show, many victims revisit the moment of attack, thinking over and over how they could have regained control. Doing nothing may be the safest route, but when so many assaults go unreported or uninvestigated, fighting back ourselves may be the only option. At the very least, be quick with your camera and get his picture up on Holla Back so we know who to avoid on the train.

Woman Says She Has Photo Of Disney Groper [UPI]
"I Wanted Him To Feel Physical Pain:" Revenge Fantasies Of Groping Victims [The Sexist]

DISCUSSION

Elaken
Elaken

What bothers me is that even the guys who are decent and wouldn't do this tend to be oblivious to it happening. Several times I've had to go help out a female when there were men standing right there, not even noticing what was going on.

I was touched a couple times recently and got pissed at my guy friend for not helping out. He said one time he didn't notice and another time he felt I was a grown-up and could handle myself. Which really upsets me. Yes, I don't want to be dependent on a male for help, but sometimes I think men will listen to men more. Once my words don't work I don't know if me doing something physical would result in my being hurt.

I have another guy who is a tad overprotective but it made me feel a lot safer when he asked me what was wrong when noticing I immediately went to stand next to him after walking by a guy.

I fear violence from a guy so much and I am a 5'9" large-framed female, I can't even imagine how more intimidated other women feel.