Sadly, many victims of harassment are hesitant to report their harassers either because they are difficult to identify (in a crowd or in the dark), because they are ashamed, because they feel it is unsafe, or because street harassment and groping are sometimes not taken seriously by authorities. (The list for not reporting is tragically long).
This past weekend, one Seattle woman, Julia Marquand found herself groped by a complete stranger in the middle of the day while walking into a store. She confronted her harasser and even caught a photo of him with her phone. Marquand visited the Seattle Police Department to file a police report to an officer who was unfortunately uninterested in the incident and the photo. Marquand was informed that it was unlikely that the man could be charged.
Marquand decided to post the photo to her Twitter and Facebook accounts:
This dude groped me in Seattle yesterday. Cops didn't want the pic. @seattlepd @KIRO7Seattle @strangerslog @komonews pic.twitter.com/O5NYF6NZueFortunately, the tweet seemed to motivate some action by the Seattle Police Department who assigned Marquand's case to a detective:
— Julia Marquand (@JuliaMarquand) October 13, 2014
@JuliaMarquand We've got a report and contact info on file & a detective will be contacting you shortly for add'l follow-up/investigation.Marquand's story has been covered by many outlets, read more at the Seattle Times, King5, SF Gate, and the Washington Times. If you would like more information about street harassment, read Huffington Post's Things You Can Do to Stop Street Harassment or check out a couple of organizations dedicated to ending street harassment:
— Seattle Police Dept. (@SeattlePD) October 13, 2014
Update (Oct. 16, 2014)
According to the Seattle Times, the alleged groper photographed by Julia Marquand is a level 3 sex offender (who among many other sexual assault crimes, was arrested by UW police for indecent liberties). The man is now being investigated in connection with groping!