In Japan, sexual harassment on trains is a problem that refuses to go away, in spite of specially created pins, stamps, and women-only carriages that attempt to stop chikan, the Japanese word for a man who gropes women on trains.
The overwhelming majority of victims are women, and in many cases it’s schoolgirls who are suffering. And as the government is yet to tackle the problem with a much-needed awareness campaign to educate fellow commuters on how to act when they see a chikan in the act, the general public is left to come up with their own solutions on what to do in these situations.
One person currently drawing attention with a useful guide on how to stop a chikan in their tracks is Twitter user @keizi666, who’s seen and stopped chikan on trains in the past. Drawing on his own experiences, he recently created a thread that went viral on Twitter, with a series of bullet points containing advice on how to safely apprehend a chikan on a train and prevent them from groping again.
The main tweets are listed below.
How to stay calm and act to apprehend a chikan when you see them groping.
● Covertly take a photo or video of them at the scene
● Be sure to capture their face in the photo or video
● Be sure you have multiple men on side to help secure the culprit
● Grasp the culprit’s belt and both their arms from behind when apprehending them
● Grab their smartphone and don’t give it back to them
● Because a case cannot be filed without the victim, ask the victim to stay with you. It will be good if a female can help to care for the victim
● Call the station staff and get the police to come
● Be sure to hand them over to police to prevent them offending again
● Firmly reprimand them using a loud voice. Listen to what they say
● Ignore excuses from the culprit
● Let’s forget about the inconvenience of being late for school or work for the time being
● Secure the offender firmly, taking into consideration that they may escape on the railway tracks
● Pat the outside of pockets to check for the presence of weapons
"Please simulate the scenario on a regular basis. If groping suddenly occurs in front of you, you will be taken aback and upset so you won’t be able to move properly.
It’s important to anticipate that these things may happen. It’s difficult to secure an adult man alone. Ask people around you to help. Let’s cooperate if asked.
"Please spread the above information. After reading, please be on alert for these things on a day-to-day basis. You may be the one to notice something happening first, or you may be asked to help someone. Men, hold culprits with force and women, take care of the victims and accompany them.
Let’s reduce the number of gropers and upskirt photographers."
@keizi666 went on to reiterate the importance of securing photographic or video evidence of the perpetrator committing the act to totally eliminate the risk of false accusations. They also went on to say it’s imperative that men take the initiative to apprehend perpetrators and ask those around them to help. If asked, people need to step up and lend a hand, pushing aside concerns related to inconvenience and being late to work, because the more people who cooperate and help to apprehend a culprit, the less chance there will be accusations of false charges.
The one thing they wanted to stress more than anything is the fact that it’s important to consider what to do before any situation arises, because if you haven’t pre-formulated a plan you won’t be able to act swiftly when you do see something happening. And then you’ll be left with a feeling of regret for a long time afterwards.
People online responded positively to @keizi666’s tweets, sending them viral with over 100,000 likes and 50,000 retweets. The topic attracted a huge amount of attention, with many comments highlighting just how big a problem this is for Japanese society.
“I apprehended a chikan on two occasions in the past and handed them over to police. Even though I called out to people around me, nobody moved. What a cold world we live in. I hate people who turn a blind eye to things.”
“One time, an older man helped me apprehend a chikan. He got him from the front and I held onto him from the back. If it was just me on my own, he would’ve run off and escaped.”
“I thought chikan only operated on crowded trains but I’ve seen them on empty ones too. No matter how minor the offence may seem, we must always stop to help.”
“We should always act if we see something. People who say they don’t intervene because they’re worried about false accusations are people looking for an excuse to turn a blind eye to things.”
“It’s important that men get involved because when a man confronts a male chikan it’s far more effective than a woman trying to defend herself.”
“I’m so moved by all of this. As a mother of a teenage girl, I’m so grateful there are good men who will help women when they’re in trouble.”
While the problem of groping directly affects women, it’s not solely a women’s issue, and it’s heartening to see the comments reflecting that. It’s something that affects us all, and no matter how difficult it may be to follow the recommendations listed above to the letter, @keizi666’s Twitter thread highlights the importance of working together to help solve the problem and stop these crimes from occurring.
So next time you see something, do something, and if @keizi666’s tweets have spread far enough, there’s a good chance people around us will have the courage to step in to help too.
If not, there’ll still be people tripping suspects on station platforms like this man, who raised a leg to send another man flying when he saw him being chased by two schoolgirls at Akabane Station in Tokyo last year.
Source: Twitter/@keizi666 via Hachima Kiko
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