Groping on the Paris metro

Jun 6th, 2008, 03:34 AM
Join Date: Jun 2003
Posts: 21,321
I know that nothing happened. I was the witness to nothing happening.
kerouac is online now  
Jun 6th, 2008, 04:05 AM
Join Date: Jan 2005
Posts: 2,571
I used to have a pin in my lapel just in case, when I was young.
There is a bit in Pepys Diary where he was moving close to a young woman.
He says that he saw her taking out a pin and he quickly moved away.
MissPrism is offline  
Jun 6th, 2008, 04:10 AM
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But kerouac, if you were but one of an entire carload of witnesses, does this not make you 'a' witness rather than 'the' witness? Look, I understand you are convinced of the accuracy of your experience, that you saw what you saw. The problem is that others will be equally as convinced of what they saw (or felt, as in the woman's case) and what is more, merely that you were all 'there' doesn't give you all an equal vantage point on the situation. There were different angles of vision, etc. etc.

The problem with claiming that you were the witness to nothing happening is that whether something happened or didn't is at the heart of the dispute between the two people in the first place. "He did" "No he didn't" doesn't resolve the question of what happened. You might BELIEVE the man for various reasons, maybe even sound reasons - and maybe he indeed had no ill intent no matter what happened. For that matter, leaving aside the technicalities of the law in France, you could insist that as the one making the charge the burden of proof lies with the accuser - but you aren't saying that. You are demanding that because you were there, we must accept that you 'knew' what happened.

But do you even know why everyone in the car laughed? You have to consider that people might do the same thing, but for different reasons. Maybe some were laughing at what they saw was the outrageousness of the woman's accusation, as you imply. But maybe some were simply laughing to defuse the tension they felt at the situation. Some might even have laughed thinking the man was making the point that the car was so crowded, such advantage as he could take would be limited. Some might have laughed simply because everyone else was laughing. And maybe some were laughing at what they saw was the disingenousness of his reply.

That we lack the opportunity to interview them does not mean we should automatically concede that you can speak for them, anymore than any of them could speak for you.

So in point of fact, what you believe you know, and what you can prove you know, are two very different things.
Sue_xx_yy is offline  
Jun 6th, 2008, 04:30 AM
Join Date: Apr 2003
Posts: 548
My sympathies to your daughter - it's a horrible thing to happen to anyone. I hope it hasn't spoiled her trip.

Making a loud fuss is the best option - even if it goes against her quiet nature. Once I was on a very crowded bus in Rome when a loud, American-accented female voice rang out saying "IS THIS YOUR HAND?" - she was holding the wrist of another male passenger. When he muttered "Si", she replied again very loudly "THEN GET IT THE HELL AWAY FROM MY A$$".

Cue hilarity in the bus and a lot of jeering and jabbing at the creep, who slunk off at the next stop.

The moral of the story is never be afraid to create a scene. Most people are well-meaning, well-mannered and disgusted at such horrible behaviour by a tiny minority of perverts and will support you. People who behave in such a low-life manner deserve to be shown up for the creeps that they are.
ter2000 is offline  
Jun 6th, 2008, 04:35 AM
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 530
Many many years ago a teenaged boy exposed himself to my cousin and me on the Paris Metro. I don't suppose laughing was the proper response, but at least he sheepishly put "it" away.

flsd is offline  
Jun 6th, 2008, 05:41 AM
Join Date: Jul 2006
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Here's a story from NPR last month about Boston cracking down on just the sort of creeps your daughter encountered. They use decoys and teams to catch the guys on the subways. The story says "the program has led to a record number of arrests for subway sex assaults".

Your daughter should know she is not alone and that it is a problem women encounter all over the world. And not many of us are as quick on our feet as we wish we could be when confronted with new and unexpected situations. Now that she, unfortunately, knows to "expect" it (as a possibility, not a certainty), I'm sure it will help her react more quickly.

I was a very quiet and sensitive young girl (I'm making up for it now by being a vociferous middle-aged woman), but I remember very clearly, when I was about 12 or 13, the first time a group of men called out to me as I went by, making luruid suggestive sexual comments, etc. I actually thought I must have done something "wrong" to elicit such lewdness and was ashamed and humiliated - I felt like someone had punched me in the face. I didn't tell my mother, I wish I had - I think you should be glad your daughter is discussing these things with you. I agree with Gruezi - if you can't turn to the peoople who love you most when you need emotional support and advice, who can you turn to?

My DD is leaving for a junior-year-abroad in Paris in August, so I will definitely add this kind of thing to my list of the 12,017 things (so far) that I am lecturing her about.
NorCalif is offline  

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