Photo by PoPville flickr user Mr. T in DC
Today (9/27) at approximately 5:40 p.m., I witnessed a man attempting to record a video up a woman’s skirt on the Columbia Heights metro escalator. Roughly 1-2 months ago, I saw the same man acting oddly behind a skirt-wearing woman on the escalator – walking in very close proximity behind her and deliberately widening his shoulders as though he was trying to obscure bystanders’ view – and thought he may have been trying to take photos up her skirt. At the time, I was uncertain, incredulous, and did not want to accuse a stranger of being a pervert when I did not have a clear vantage point.
Not so this time. I recognized him by his gait, appearance, and aggressive attempt to get behind the woman on the escalator today, just like he did 1-2 months ago with the first woman. Today, there was nobody on the escalator between him and me, and he made no effort to conceal his actions. I saw the screen on his smartphone in video mode and witnessed him – clear as day – stick it up her skirt. I yelled at him several times, called him a pervert, and he immediately took off down 14th Street (headed south). I chased him for a short distance then returned to find and notify the still unaware victim.
I later found and notified the victim and we were both at a loss regarding protocol or legal recourse in such a situation. She did not see him and my description of him was not familiar to her. If I’ve seen him twice, readers might see him in the future.
He was white, roughly 6’3”, with slightly shaggy light-brown hair (like a man who is normally kempt but had not been to the barber in a while). He was somewhat pale. He was dressed in chinos/khakis with a patterned, long-sleeve collared shirt and brown leather shoes. Very “white-collar worker” look about him. He was not overweight, but he was not in shape. He has a distinctive gait with somewhat awkward, long strides. I did not see his face but he may have had acne on his neck.
Just FYI for readers who are inclined to blame the victim, she was dressed tastefully.”
This is disturbing on many many levels. Back in mid-Aug. we had reports of another subject (completely different description) taking photos up women’s skirts, also at the Columbia Heights metro. At the time the comments veered off course into a discussion of what is appropriate clothing to wear. That discussion will not be repeated here. What was done then and what was reported here is sick and a clear violation.
I am posting this note as a heads up to folks and to see if anyone has advice about the “protocol or legal recourse in such a situation.” I will also make sure MPD sees this note. I’d also like to thank the OP for doing the right thing – I hope if anyone else ever sees someone filming or photographing up a woman’s skirt, they too will say something. Trite as it may sound, we as a community need to (continue to) watch each other’s backs. I have always been impressed with how strong communities look out for one another.