In Boston, a young woman would not let a public masturbator intimidate her during her trolley ride home from work. Instead she called him out and got him arrested.
“This guy was just being a real creeper,” she said. As she shuffled along the train, he followed her. She zoned out, listening to music, only to look up and see him standing over her.
“I looked up and felt awkward, so I looked down,” she said. She said the man was exposing and touching himself, but tried to cover himself with his shirt.
The woman — not someone to meekly let an alleged creep get away with it — shouted out what he was doing, but no one stepped in to help. She said one male passenger even shrugged. So, she said, she went into “She-Hulk” mode, lunging as the man tried to bolt at Packard’s Corner in Brighton.
She said she held the man with one hand and “berated” him while she waited for the cops to arrive. She said he looked frightened.
“He kept saying sorry, but he was just sorry for himself,” she said.
The man told transit cops that the “packed and jostling” trolley caused his shorts to fall, according to a police report. He told police that he was unaware he was exposed until the woman started screaming.
T cops charged Michael Galvin, 37, of Somerville with open and gross lewdness. He was released on his own recognizance and ordered to stay off the T.
The woman said she acted because, “I’ve had enough of being harassed on the street. I’m tired of it and I want it to end. It was the last straw.”
She also had some choice words for the people who stood by and did nothing on the train: “That’s appalling. That makes me so angry. I want everyone to know that they have to say something.”
Her courage and determination are commendable. Hopefully that man will think twice before masturbating on a trolley. Her story reminds me of the amazing Nicola Briggs in New York City who did something similar when a man exposed himself to her on the subway.
When we feel safe and have the time, engaging in public shaming can be a very effective way to stop a harasser.