Japanese plus-sized model and social activist Marie Egbuchulam is not one to keep quiet about sexual harassment and assault of women in Japan. She recently criticized the country's existing efforts to deal with chikan (groping) incidents in Japan as lacking with her own alternative posters.
Egbuchulam recently took to Twitter to express further frustration regarding such incidents, this time with a personal episode in which she was left aghast at police response to an encounter with an apparent stalker.
In the below Twitter thread, Egbuchulam recounts her story.
"I don't really want to write this, but I wanted advice. I saw that a young man who I did not know had suddenly bypassed my residence's autolock and come to my home. I was scared so I reported it to the police. Two officers came, so I thought I was safe, but they told me 'The man says he won't leave until he talks to you. You're both adults so why don't you try speaking face to face?' Huh? If I just talk to the perpetrator what's the point of calling 110 (number for police in Japan)?"
Egbuchulam elaborates further on the encounter, saying that when she became upset and asked why the police couldn't deal with something obviously illegal and that if she were to talk to the man, there would be no need for police, one officer left on his bike saying "Well, do as you wish." Stunned, she called the police station's Community Safety Section, but was told halfheartedly by someone there to just have the remaining officer assist her. "I ended up talking over the fence with the perpetrator for over three hours in a bizarre conversation. The officer just stood next to me absentmindedly," Egbuchulam writes.
After the uknown man went home, Egbuchulam says that the officer who had previously left returned on his bike without apology and simply said "Oh, so the guy went home huh."
Egbuchulam concludes by expressing "Next time if I were to get stabbed, if I call 110 the police from this same jurisdiction will come. I don't want to call 110, and I can't trust the police...why does the victim always have to live a life of moving, running, and hiding? It's not that easy for me to just move."
Responses to the Tweets have largely been supportive, but also highlight that Japan's Anti-Stalking laws, which were greatly revised after the murder of Shiori Ino in the wake of derelict police attention, often do not result in immediate confrontation or arrest. As the Japan Times details with a helpful chart, police response to complaints of stalking can sometimes require multiple submissions of evidence which are met with a series of admonishments to the actual stalker.
Because of this, many replying to the thread recommended recording and documenting both the perpetrator's activity as well as that of the police, and consulting with a civil agency and lawyer.
Which, of course, returns to Egbuchulam's frustration with the purpose of calling the police in the first place.
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