Groped on Muni in the Morning

Photo by Jamison Wieser

Reader “A.F.” (real name withheld) sent us this disturbing account of being groped on Muni.

This morning, I was zoning out on the N train, when I realized that the guy in front of me was groping my crotch. His fingers were moving up and down in a way that didn’t seem accidental (though it might have been, I’m still not entirely sure, as it was a crowded train). I blurted out: “you just groped me.” Reaction? Complete silence, from him, and from the rest of the train. He got out at the next stop.

There are plenty of articles and unofficial polls about how frequently this happens. There’s no way to prove it, but I wanted to say or do something. Does anyone know if there are any official statistics collected on this issue? I was surprised that Muni’s website had no information on this topic.

What would you do? Or if you were on the train, watching?

The Bay Citizen reported earlier this year that sexual assault on public transportation is vastly under-reported. And sadly, A.F.’s account is one of many reports that we’ve received from readers about being groped on public transit.

Would you report this to the police if it happened to you? What do you think bystanders should do?


  • fermata

    sincere question: how does the offender work his hand all the way to the crotch region without detection? was “AF” seated or standing and where was offender positioned relative to her?

    • loren

      sincere question: why does any of that matter?

      • fermata

        well, for starters, perhaps it could be instructive to others who’d like to avoid a similar experience?

        • loren

          well, my apologies. your initial comment came across as incredulous, as if you were saying “how could this possibly happen? not sure i believe it.” No offense, but I think it’s pretty obvious they were both standing on a packed muni, most likely right next to each-other.

          also, chances are if someone’s hand is already in your crotch, you didn’t see it coming (otherwise you would probably move away, swat their hand, etc), and it’s damn near impossible to avoid something like this if you don’t see it creeping up on you. People like this are generally opportunistic and searching for situations that are sneaky and potentially low-risk for them. The only smart way to avoid this type of crap is to be well-aware of your surroundings and be assertive, and even then, you may not be so lucky. And that is not the victim’s fault.

          more important questions to ask that might actually help folks, would be “what did this person look like? what was he wearing?” or perhaps “where on the N line was this? what direction/what time of the day?”

  • (1) People–women, especially us–need to be far more aware of our surroundings when we’re on Muni. Get your noses out of those electronic devices, people. (2) Learn to be more far more assertive, and even aggressive, where this stuff is involved. Women, if you feel fingers in your snatch, the person is too close, whether the grope is intentional or not. Grab his wrist firmly. Don’t be polite–humiliate the f*cker–“GET YOUR HAND OUTTA MY CROTCH, PERVERT!!” works quite well. I know–it’s happened to me.

    • fermata

      yes, thank you for this. I don’t mean to put the burden on the potential victims, but it’s true — “zoning out” on public transit isn’t the best idea. And for god’s sake, if you DO feel someone getting too close, follow Earline’s advice.

  • P.S. Practice this stuff when you’re alone. Seriously. You may feel foolish, but it needs to be available to you without mental processing if the actual event occurs. (I will yield the soapbox now.)

  • Jeremy Lightell via Facebook

    Everyone else on MUNI needs to stand up against this kind of shit when they see it. There is no excuse for pacifism when it comes to sexual assault.

  • Stacey

    This is awful and disgusting. I’d recommend to anyone who has experienced this to check out, a nonprofit to end street harassment.

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