“Pervert in Meridian Hill Park”


A reader writes on Saturday:

“I was just laying out in meridian hill park today at 4pm with a male friend. I am a female in a bikini. This man was hiding behind this tree, laying out long on his stomach like a sniper so he couldn’t be seen from my angle, taking photos from the ground in between my legs and of my butt. A group of women saw him. I confronted him and he ran away. I chased him across the park and got a few good photos. This happened in a very public area. Has anyone else reported this creep? What can I even do about this?”

203 Comment

  • “Well, that’s what you get if you lie outside in your bikini.” – D.C. Superior Court Judge Juliet McKenna

    • P.S. These pervs are lucky they don’t get severely injured. I can pretty much guarantee I’d end up in jail after I got a hold of one of them.

      • Physical violence because someone is a loser who wants bad photos of a butt on his phone.

        • Yep. And if if were your daughter/mother/wife you wouldn’t?

          • Nah. I’ve always been terrified of fighting someone and they fall, hit their head on some concrete, and boom, I’m a murderer. Best to leave it at a good yelling. Not worth going to jail over.

          • Fighting’s not worth it, and rarely ever is. Say you hit the guy and he falls over, hits his head, and goes to the great beyond. You’re gonna have to answer to a judge for that. Judge may not send you away, but why ruin your day like that?

          • Absolutely not. And if you would, I think you need to fix yourself.

        • It’s more like not being a victim when someone is a loser and *creeps up behind you and puts their camera phone between your legs.*


      • This is the OP– I almost got a hold of him. I chased him across the park barefoot in a bikini, while taking photos and yelling Stop Pervert. . I was trying to break his phone.

        You can see my friend’s legs in the top left corner. The Pervert was laying on the ground at an angle trying to hide– and he may have been touching himself. He also took off running when I confronted him..

        I have photos of his face, so if anyone has had a similar experience please let me know. If he is a habitual harasser, it’s a public problem.

        For everyone saying I shouldn’t be wearing a bathing suit in the park if I don’t want my photo taken– it would be different if he were just taking general photos, but he was walking on

        • **laying on the ground hiding and taking photos between my legs. He was creepy enough for a group of women to come up and warn me.

          • And if you’d managed to break his phone, LB, he could, should, and likely would have called the police. He would have been told to not be creepy anymore, but he wouldn’t have been arrested. You, however, would (and should) have been arrested for destruction of property. Try telling the cops at the station you don’t want your picture taken in a bikini when they line you up for a mug shot! They’ll laugh at you and tell you not to commit crimes while wearing a bikini!
            I agree that this is a distasteful, unfortunate negative externality of our Constitution, but no amount of anger or dislike changes the fact that we have a right to photograph anything and everything we find in public space. The right for this guy to take creepy photos of you in a park is the exact same one that allows us to photograph the police when we see brutality or document the horrors of crime or of war. I’m not willing to give up those rights so you can lie in a park barely dressed without a care in the world that someone may document that, too. America doesn’t work that way. Sorry if our civil rights are upsetting to you.

        • “I was trying to break his phone.” Seriously?
          Yeah, his behavior was creepy… but (unfortunately) legal. This seems like a disproportionate response.

          • Could, should, and would call the police? Doubt it. If he didn’t think he was doing anything wrong he wouldn’t have run full speed away from a 5’4″ 105 lb without shoes on.

            The only thing that concerns me about how this played out is that I didn’t take his phone. The prolonged engagement makes me feel like he might get more of a rush from looking at the photos.

            Anyone who is questioning my choice in loungewear has never been to meridian hill– it’s covered in sunbathers.

            And for all those who are saying I was asking for it, if it’s unwanted, it’s harassment. If he was touching himself, it’s lewd. His behavior was offensive enough for STRANGERS to approach me and tell me what was going on. After I fame back to my blanket I had no shortage of, “you go girls” and “I wish you caught him.” it was offensive to everyone who saw the situation, and not because I was in a bathing suit.

          • Breaking the offender’s phone and a good public shaming seems perfectly proportional to me.

        • A guy matching your pervert’s description followed me and my dog around Meridian Hill a couple weeks back. He was asking absurd questions about my dog’s sex life. A bystander tried to intervene, but it just made matters worse. I wonder if it’s the same guy or just another pervert.

    • which leads me to ask- is it socially acceptable for women to sun bathe in bikinis in public parks? I’ve see this around town in many of the neighborhood parks even down on the mall. And would this be equally accepted of men in speedos?

      • justinbc

        Socially acceptable is hard to define, as each user will have their own interpretation. Legally acceptable is easier to say: yes, men could do so if they wanted. I saw a guy in Stanton Park just yesterday doing nearly that.

      • It’s always struck me as acceptable, but somewhat incongruous with the environment. Like wearing boots to hang out at the pool.

        • Agreed. Actually, I can’t image why anyone would actually want to lie on the ground in Meridian Hill Park, even with a blanket barrier – a large part of it is dirt where grass should be….and the parts that are grass have probably been shat upon by numerous dogs (and the occasional human). Then again, I have a mild Howard Hughes thing going on (minus the wealth and brilliance).

      • I think its weird. I am a female and I would never do this….Wear a think tank and shorts if you don’t want to attract attention to yourself in a park.

      • Men run around half naked all over the place. Why should that be socially acceptable?

        Most of them even jiggle as much as boobs do.

  • What can you do? Not go out in public in outfits that you don’t want others to see you in or lay in positions that you don’t want to be photographed in.

  • justinbc

    ^ In a less snarky way of putting it, there’s no report you can file for someone taking your picture. (amended: there probably actually IS a report, it just won’t go anywhere / get any result) Publicly alerting people of the guy you perceive to be creepy is the most effective route, especially if you have better quality photos of his actual face. It’s likely that he’ll return to the same area.

    • Agreed. Technically taking pictures of people in public is legal in DC, even if it is massively creepy. The best legal way to fight back is public creep-shaming.

    • Can confirm. Had a man filming me on the metro while he touched himself above his shorts. Apparently, because he didn’t go INTO his shorts (this was in VA, near DCA) there were no charges to be filed. Gave them a description that they took down, but he was long gone by the time I realized what was happening, moved to another part of the train (where I confirmed that he was indeed filming me as I walked by and saw it still in record mode) and went to inform the police at the next stop. Gross people are out there, and it’s completely unnerving, but apparently you don’t even have to be “asking for it” in a bikini to be victimized. I was all covered up- he was just looking for a reaction out of me.

  • Honestly, your only recourse is to not tan in a bikini in a public Park. According to the law, what this pervert did isn’t too different from anyone else taking a picture in the park and you happen to be in the background. Until DC passing a peeping-tom law like MA, his behavior is legal.

  • I hate that this happen to you, but honestly I am not sure anything can be done about it. A) He was in a public park (unlike peeping through a window of your home) B.) He wasn’t breaking any law (at least none that I know of) by taking pictures —as creepy as it was. Unfortunately, that’s a chance we all take if we choose to sunbathe in public.

    • I’d agree with “justinbc” above – while this may not strictly be illegal, it is definitely not acceptable, and you’d have a lot of support if you took the approach of yelling “I DON’T KNOW YOU. STOP TAKING PHOTOS OF ME WHILE I TAN,” etc. Getting other people at the park to notice and join in would be helpful.
      And likewise, since it’s apparently not illegal to take pictures of someone in public – its not illegal to take HIS picture, as you’ve done here, and share it online (as this creep is likely to try to do with the photos he takes).
      It’s a shame people aren’t self-motivated to not be obnoxious perverts, but perhaps with a little public embarrassment of the perpetrators, this won’t become a trend. Just a pity it’s apparently necessary.

  • UGH! I confronted a different guy for the same reason in MHP last week. I only assume he was a different guy since he had a gold iPhone that he threw onto my blanket after the confrontation, urging me to “look through and see for myself that he wasn’t taking pictures of girls”. So guilty.

  • He has the right to take pictures in public. If you’re uncomfortable with how you are dressed in public, maybe you should only dress like that in private.

    • It is still 100% pervy to snap a butt picture even if she’d been wearing Carhartt coveralls or a suit of armor. Some pervs are probably into that type of photo, too, sadly.

    • “He has a right to graphical suggest a physically intimate act in public. If you’re uncomfortable with being a female in public, maybe you should only be a female in private.”
      Really. The guy may have have a legal right to hid behind bushes and take pictures of women’s crotches with a telephoto lens. Just like he has a right to yell, “hey baby, I know just that to do with that tight little….of yours.” But that it now way suggests that he has a “right” in any sort of larger sense. For goodness sake, in cities all over Europe women are sunbathing topless on their lunch hour (and I’ve seen businessmen in their boxers in Copenhagen), cant we agree that in a sunny day, in a park, you ought to be able to catch rays without getting perved on? And blaming the woman is sooooo Red State of you.
      Frankly, I think the guy should have had his butt kicked and his camera broken.

      • I love it how the same people who accuse others of being Republican on this issue are the same ones who are like, “This dude dude seriously needs to get his ass kicked. Yeah, bro!”

      • It is possible to hold various truths.
        1. Sunbathing in bikinis (male or female) in public parks is rude, gross and legal.
        2. Perves watching/photographing the above is also rude, gross and legal.

        • I don’t necessarily hold these truths to be self-evident. I find it odd that laying out in the sun in a legal bathing suit would be considered rude or gross (we’re not going to add a level of complexity by suggesting that this depends on body type, right?). Especially once we get to parsing the type of bathing suit. Is a curve and crotch-hugging one-piece OK? Do we need to have bra pads and chaste frilly skirts around the hips? And for guys, is it the tightness of the suit, or the presence or absence legs. Because if spandex is a problem, the bicyclists (and the rowers) relaxing on the grass after a long ride may be out of bounds, as well.

          • Victoria is right, both are equally disturbing. The fact that people here think it’s their right to sunbathe in a bikini…in a public park…and not have unwanted attention is absurd to me. Who are you and where are you from?

          • I’ve been living in Washington for 40 years. It would never occur to me that you couldn’t throw out a stretch of towel and catch rays in your bathing suit. I guess someone needs to break the news to the boys at the P street Beach. And the whole “unwanted attention” concept is awfully vague. Are excusing me for literally drooling on some bikini-clad woman? Holding a camera between her thighs and shooting? Laying out in graphic terms exactly what I would do to her if I had her alone? If hiding in the bushes to photograph crotches is an example of the kind of behavior these hussies and you have given me permission to engage in, you’ve given me a lot of leeway . I’ve been holding it back all these years, but now that I know….

          • I’ve more than once heard female runners complain how gross some men who run without shirts are.

          • My point is that neither one crosses any lines. Both are legal. Whether they are rude, gross or perfectly fine is up to individual interpretation.

      • ah

        while true, you can also find pictures of those topless sunbathers all over the interwebs, and probably many of the men, too, although, mostly as an example of “Ewwwww”.

      • Blaming her for what? I’m not blaming anyone for anything. There is little expectation of privacy in public settings. And consent is not required for public photography. Is taking a picture, in itself, a violation?

    • randomduck

      Nice victim shaming/blaming, TT.

      Frankly, the best thing is for the victim to do as suggested above: openly shame and warn the guy that he is invading her privacy and should stop. Yell it LOUDLY and CLEARLY. Have a phone at the ready to call the cops.

      But blaming the victim is simply continuing the unhealthy U.S. norm of objectifying women’s bodies. Such a prudish, backwards culture: bodies are just bodies. Blaming the victim for having a body, being proud of said body, and doing something that is COMPLETELY LEGAL, that’s just silly.

      • But he isn’t invading her privacy, is the point. She’s out in public, she has no legal privacy claim out in public. The guy taking the pictures, while a creep, is also doing something that is COMPLETELY LEGAL.

      • I’m not blaming or shaming anyone. I’m not questioning her decision to wear what she wore. I’m not even saying she shouldn’t have worn a bikini in public if she didn’t want this kind of attention. I simply observed that she wasn’t uncomfortable with what she was wearing in public until she had her photograph taken. I’m noting that both individuals have rights. The OP has the right to wear a bikini in public, and the creep has the right to take photographs in public. Having one’s photograph taken in public does not make one a victim.

  • I think this falls in the category of pervy and obnoxious, but not illegal. You probably did the only thing you could do – call him out on it.

  • Something very similar happened to us at Meridian hill park about two weeks ago. I was there with my two children who were playing on the grassy hill as I listened to a concert that was being held there. When I walked back to where they were playing (I was checking on them every 2-3 minutes), I noticed a young(ish) Latino guy with his smart phone out pointed at my kids. I could tell as I walked up behind him that he had his camera on and he was taking pictures of my kids (I could see his screen). I startled him as I walked up and he froze, turned to his friend and then pretended to be playing on his phone. I stared at him and then just focused on getting my kids out of there. He was not approaching the kids – was probably about 15 feet away from them, but it was upsetting and in hindsight I probably should have said something to him, but I didn’t want to get into a situation with my kids close by and I thought the safest thing to do was to just leave. I realize now that I shouldn’t have let the kids play where I couldn’t see them, but I was trying to let them be a little independent, which at nearly six years old shouldn’t be impossible but it was clearly a mistake on my part. They were no more than 20 feet from me but obscured by a line of tree.

  • This doesn’t help now, but if it happens to you a second time by the same guy, you can definitely get him for stalking under DC law.

    • Stalking requires repeated behavior, among other requirements. Under DC Code § 22-31A, the perpetrator must “engage in a course of conduct,” directly or indirectly, or through one or more third persons, in person or by any means, on 2 or more occasions, to:
      (A) Follow, monitor, place under surveillance, threaten, or communicate to or about another individual;
      (B) Interfere with, damage, take, or unlawfully enter an individual’s real or personal property or threaten or attempt to do so; or
      (C) Use another individual’s personal identifying information.

      It also does not apply to constitutionally protected activities. Unfortunately, if a judge can rule that taking photos up skirts at the Lincoln Memorial is legal, I don’t see how this qualifies as illegal activity.

    • I don’t think “definitely” means what you think it means.

  • If you don’t want someone taking pictures of your butt and in between your legs in a public space, then don’t wear a bikini and lay on the ground in a public space. Simple. If you were covered up and sitting/standing, then he wouldn’t have been able to get those shots. That’s the risk you take if you want to sunbathe in public, sorry.

  • Looks like he wasn’t a fan of getting his picture taken either. Serves him right.

  • “What can I even do about this?”

    • Well, it’s not illegal, so they couldn’t do anything.

      • It is illegal if he’s trying to take pervy pictures!

        Wearing a bikini in public is not a license for every creepazoid to take a permanent picture. Especially if the intent is for creep purposes.

        • No it isn’t.

          You can take pictures of other people in public, including when they’re topless or wearing a bikini, and including if you’d consider the pictures “pervy” (which isn’t a legal term, I’m afraid).

        • Sadly, it’s not illegal in DC. See: http://www.wjla . com/articles/2014/10/judge-rules-man-who-took-photos-up-ladies-skirts-at-lincoln-memorial-didn-t-violate-their-privacy-10.html

        • Sorry. Yes. It is 100% legal to take pics in public. Don’t want your picture taken? Sunbathe at home.

        • justinbc

          Internet legal advice exhibit 101 here, you get what you pay for.

    • And

    • Agreed that you should always call the cops. They will come because the dispatcher isn’t going to quiz you on your knowledge of DC felony statutes. If the guy isn’t doing anything illegal, they won’t arrest him. That’s their call. Additionally, the presence of police will deter this behavior, and they can certainly request the man’s ID if they find him, and arrest him if he has any outstanding warrants.

  • I wouldn’t particularly want other people to take photos of me wearing the men’s equivalent, which is why I wouldn’t lay out in a public park (or anywhere, really) wearing that. If you want privacy while you’re in a bikini, wear one in a private place. There’s a big difference, to me anyway, between someone taking pictures of you on your friend’s balcony or private townhouse roofdeck, or even the pool at their apartment building, and someone taking pictures of you in a public park.
    You don’t get to literally sprawl out in a public place wearing the legal minimum and then turn into Little Miss Modesty when somebody notices you’re nearly naked.

    • this hits the nail on the head, and now someone will inevitably yell about victim blaming.

      • I will. Victim blaming 100%.

        • “Victim blaming” requires a victim, Melissa. Unless you are trying to claim that the OP is a “victim” simply for being a female living in a country where she is allowed to be in a bikini in public, then there is no “victim” here.

          • randomduck

            She *is* a victim of basic harassment, and a victim of being objectified. And now people are saying “cover up” as if that *should* be an acceptable next step, rather than saying “stop objectifying women.”

            Honestly, the puritan, prudish culture of the United States is an embarrassment to the entire intelligent world. A body is just a body, in the end – yet the suggestion is that she be ashamed of it and cover up? Would you say the same of the myriad cyclists who wear lycra in public, or folks who wear workout-appropriate clothing in the gym?

            Whatever – I don’t share your opinion.

    • Not sure if the cyber-bully name-calling is any better than the perv taking pictures. Both legal, yes, but neither advisable.

    • I am really surprised by all these woman should be covered up comments. How is laying out in a bathing suit in MHP any different then laying out in a bikini at Sandy Point Beach?

      It is pretty basic human decency: don’t take photos without consent. Or even simpler: don’t be a perv

      • Because one’s a beach where people are expected to wear beachwear and the other is filled with perverts who don’t have the decency to not take photos without consent?

        • Exactly. Outside of pools, beaches, and Pride events, one should not be surprised by unwanted attention if they wear a bathing suit in an urban area.

        • I don’t spend much time in MHP so is it somehow different then every other park I have ever been in? Lincoln Park in NE DC this past weekend had dozens of people sun bathing.

      • I don’t think anyone has said “women should be covered up.” Not has anyone suggested that it is not rude, creepy or pervy to take pictures of scantily-clad people in public. But OP asked what she could do about it – it’s not against the law, and there isn’t anything you can do about it. The advice is, if you don’t want to run the risk of being photographed in pubic in a bikini, you shouldn’t wear a bikini in public.

        • Just to put it elsewhere in the thread – I’m gonna try to reiterate that I think, given the agreement that it’s creepy awful behavior, the best course of action may be to point and yell for the person to stop taking pictures.

          Odds are the creep would run away embarrassed, and if he didn’t, I’d assume others at the park might be supportive and stand between/talk to the guy/snap HIS picture, etc.

        • justinbc

          They’re not saying “cover up women!”, they’re simply saying if you aren’t uncovered then don’t be surprised if / when someone takes your photo, because it’s completely legal, whether you or everyone else finds it to be disturbing or not. People of the lowest common denominator will do everything they can possibly get away with.

      • You do realize that by visiting popville you’re supporting a site that regularly posts photos of people that were taken without their consent? It’s called street photography. They may not be pervy photos in your eyes, but legally it’s the same thing.

      • Your rule for “basic human decency” contradicts the reality of “basic human pervyness.” Just pointing that out.

  • Actual question: What if this woman had been wearing a bikini at a public pool and this guy were taking the same pictures. Would it make any difference in the eyes of the law or no? Also, kudos to the OP for warning others about this guy.

    • Photography is explicitly banned (and enforced) at DC public pools.

      • Ughhhh, it is? I took a photo at Banneker (of the pool!) Memorial Day weekend and no one said anything. Not to mention I looked on Instagram and there were tons of photos at Banneker pool!

        • My girlfriend pulled out her phone at Volta last year and within seconds the life guard was going nuts.

        • it’s definitely prohibited but you can get away with it, i’ve taken pics of myself at the pool before. but the point is that if someone is trying to take your picture without your consent at a public pool, you have recourse.

      • Thanks, that’s good to know!

  • I’m upset, but not surprised, by the amount of victim-blaming already in these comments. Surely there are citizens of DC who have no access to private property on which to tan (which is a perfectly acceptable activity, and common at beaches). Someone walking down Pennsylvania Ave in just a bikini would be odd, someone catching a few rays at a public park is not. I don’t think it’s beyond comprehension that someone laying out in swimwear might not want to have someone literally hunkering down to snap photos from all angles – and I don’t think THIS level of being photographed should be expected.
    It might be “fair” (yet gross) to assume that a few randos walking by might snap a subtle picture without breaking stride, but if someone literally dropped and rolled under shrubbery like a special-forces op, took bunches of photos from pervy angles trying to see as much as possible, I think it’s fair to say the pervert HIDING and rolling around on the ground with the camera is in the wrong, and not the person just trying to get some sun.

    • ah

      What if the guy is just sitting there staring (“Get a good look, Costanza?”)?

      • That is my question as well and no one will answer it. And I ask it in all honesty, is it OK to stare at a woman in a bikini in the park? What is the socially acceptable time period that a red-blooded, hetro male can look?

        • About 10 seconds. Then after a respectful pause, another ten seconds. Then, unless you’re with that person, you’re done.

    • I haven’t seen any victim-blaming – no one is saying she somehow deserved this; people have only said that she was in a bikini in public.

      • saying that if she didn’t want this kind of attention, then she shouldn’t have been wearing a bikini is VICTIM BLAMING.

      • Au contraire. This thread is rife with victim-blaming.

        • super long lurker, first time commenter. I created this profile to call out the sheer amount of victim blaming going on here! Its sad and infuriating.

      • “You don’t get to literally sprawl out in a public place wearing the legal minimum and then turn into Little Miss Modesty when somebody notices you’re nearly naked.”

        This is pretty much textbook victim-blaming. “Hey, if you don’t want people violating you, don’t wear that!”

    • This is offensive to genuine victims. Choosing to sunbathe in a bikini in a public park does not make anyone a victim.

      • justinbc

        +1, it’s not even actual victim blaming. It’s answering a question posed by the “victim”.

        • OP: “What can I even do about this?”
          Multitude of Responses (composite): “Sadly, it isn’t illegal. Creepy, but not illegal. Best advice – if you don’t like being photographed in a bikini, maybe rethink sunbathing at Meridian Hill Park.”
          Multitude of angry retorts by people with incredibly short attention spans (composite): “You’re victim blaming!”
          Is this the inevitable result of the Twitter generation? Because I want my reading comprehension back.

    • I think people are saying there is no victim, hence there can’t be victim blaming.

  • The amount of victim-blaming on this thread makes me profoundly disappointed.

    Just because taking photos of other people in public is *legal* doesnt make it right. And, if your response to someone being justifiably disturbed and appalled when a stranger takes photos of them without consent is:

    “You don’t get to literally sprawl out in a public place wearing the legal minimum and then turn into Little Miss Modesty when somebody notices you’re nearly naked.”
    “If you were covered up and sitting/standing, then he wouldn’t have been able to get those shots. That’s the risk you take if you want to sunbathe in public, sorry.”

    then I think you need to seriously reconsider who you think the victim is here and what socially acceptable behavior is.

    I’m sorry this happened to you, OP – ignore the cretins on this thread who think you were somehow responsible for this reprehensible behavior – these comments are on a pathway that ends with the “she was dressed seductively so she must have been asking for it” defense.

    • I have no problem with men or women who want to go out in public completely topless. I have no problem with that guy in just his underwear with the guitar in Times Square. I have no problem with the clothes I see people wearing out at a bar or to a nightclub. I wouldn’t do any of those things, but I don’t mind other people who do.
      But, this is 2015. Everyone knows that everyone has both a camera and a video recorder with them 100% of the time. It’s a shame that people nowadays don’t get to enjoy some of the privacy that us old folks did when we were young and a camera was a specific piece of equipment you had to carry with you and couldn’t conceal. But, that’s the world.
      And for you to jump from “don’t dress like that if you don’t want to be seen (and photographed) like that” to “don’t dress like that if you don’t want to get raped”, @MtVernon, is disgusting and vile. Attribute that connection and idea to yourself, where it belongs, and don’t put words in the mouths of other posters. There is a world of difference between what I said and condoning rape or other physical assaults – something I would NEVER do.

    • Agreed. And just to be clear, it is not illegal because our legislatures are run by men who are not affected by this kind of behavior. If men were affected, there would certainly be a law addressing this. As seen on this thread, even the victim blamers seem to think this behavior is pretty pervy.

      • (anon at 2:27 was agreeing with MtVernon)

      • Of course it’s pervy. But public photography has constitutional protections – none of which are overcome by, “I am in a bikini and the guy is a creep.” Are you suggesting that it should be otherwise?

      • How ridiculous. Of course men are victims of this.

        If the intent is ridicule, instead of sexual, do you find it less objective? More justified?

        • “Men are afraid women will laugh at them. Women are afraid that men will kill them.”
          So no, it’s not the same thing.

          • wow. dramatic much? this was tightly contained to the subject of using photos for sexual satisfaction vs humorous satisfaction. I was asking if one is worse than the other.

            the fact that sometimes women also get raped and murdered isnt exactly germane. sure, maybe creepy photographing has lead to murder before – but I dont think thats what anyone here is talking about.

            Or, are we not supposed to call women fat because of the implied threat of murder? I thought it was because of basic human decency…

          • randomduck

            Not an overreaction at all, Anon X. It’s a different world for women where the majority of the laws and culturally “acceptable” norms are dictated by men.

      • justinbc

        Men are subjected to the same laws of public photography as women.

    • There was no crime here, and hence no victim, and hence no victim blaming. This is why your last comment is so off base. The “it” you refer to is presumably a sexual assault, which is a crime. Questioning why someone would lie mostly naked in public and then wonder why they are looked at is entirely different than blaming the victim of a sexual assault.

      • I think this is a great comment. I think most of us would disapprove of the act, but like so many here said, its not illegal. People are “Culprit Creating”

        • “there was no crime here, and hence no victim, and hence no victim blaming.”

          Atoms are invisible, I’m made of atoms, therefore I am invisible.

          • They are just invisible to your bad human eyes, way to think outside your small little world…human.

            “Just because I can’t see something means it doesn’t exist!”

          • @tmuzzatti It’s denying the antecedent. Day two stuff.
            If ~p, then ~q; p, therefore q. That’s a logical fallacy. I believe you’ve missed the point entirely.

          • The two are not the same logical structures. Try again.

          • @Anonymous (if your reply was to me): “If there’s a crime, there’s a victim. There was no crime, so there can be no victim (to blame).” If P, then Q, ~ P; therefore ~Q. I flipped the signs to try to make it match up with “no crime.”
            Just because it’s technically legal doesn’t mean the one who was (at least very much more so, by consensus) in the right isn’t being blamed. The victim of being photographed inappropriately (by social mores, if not law) is being blamed.

    • There is a real difference here that you are refusing to understand.

      Also – What if the creepy/pervy guy is just standing there watching and not taking photos?

      • Yes- I would be okay with him standing and gawking and not taking photos laying down behind me in between my legs. Much less invasive.

  • MHP is a great place for some things but has no shortage of shady dealings that happen there at all hours so might not be the best choice to lay out and gathering sun, someone assaulted there a few weeks ago and random dealings at all hours of the day. While I’m sorry that this happened, applaud you for at least standing up to the creeper and getting his picture… the location chosen for such an endeavor seems poorly thought out.

  • I’m a woman who enjoys sunbathing but I would never do it in a public park for this very reason. I instead wait until I can go to a friend’s pool or a public pool where sunbathing is common. In a public park where sunbathing isn’t a common thing you stick out and unfortunately will likely attract these sort of creeps. Same thing when you go running in a sports bra it unfortunately tends to attract more negative attention all these things suck but this is the world we live in

  • Question, per the author, would it have been “perverted” to stop and stare or is it only “perverted” to take pictures?

    • Would you be uncomfortable if someone was doing it to your significant other or relative? If so – it’s creepy. Why are we so intent on finding the barely acceptable limits of not being a creep? Where am I?

    • Are people really fixated on where this took place? As somehow it is less pervy to hid in the bushes and take pictures of woman in a park then on the beach? The location had nothing to do with this situation. He is wrong for being a perv not her for enjoying the sun.

      • opps. meant this as a stand alone comment and not a reply.

      • Actually he was within his legal rights, so it’s quite subjective to say it was “wrong”.

        • Legality =/= morality. Day one stuff, dude.

          • Again, I may not share your definition of morality, in fact this world is filled with people who do not share your definition of morality. But we all sure do share the same definition of legality. Because we have to follow the law.

            The bigger point behind my statement is that you are getting angry at the wrong person/people. It is a shame that this happened, there should be a law against it. So you should be angry at the people who make the laws not the ones taking advantage of them.

          • @tmuzzatti I can be angry at both.

          • @tmuzzatti I think we can safely assume, given that she wasn’t the one running from the park in shame, that her behavior was more aligned with contemporary mores for that setting than was his.

  • As a photographer who works with stock agencies, I’m seeing another possibility here for the sunbathing photos as well as the photos of children. Over the past few years there has been an explosion in stock agencies looking to make fast money on what is called ‘microstock’. They accept photos from nearly any kind of camera or smartphone.

    What used to be a somewhat sleepy area of photography has become advertised as a way to make a fast buck. or two. And I’m not sure all of these companies follow the rather strict ethical guidelines of the big photo agencies as to how photos can be used commercially.

    I confronted a guy taking photos of a woman on the metro recently myself, and explained to the woman what her rights were as far as how that photo could be used. Then I reported the guy to Metro police.

    So my advice is, make a scene, shame away, because a reputable photographer should have approached you with a request and had you sign a release form.

  • I think some people are just creeps and will do weird creepy thing no matter what. My building has it’s own Dog Park and I was playing with my dog in it and a man that lives in one of the buildings I have never met came in there and started video taping me playing fetch with my dog. When I realized what he was doing I started making eye contact with him and he just left. I was wearing jeans and a t-shirt. nothing sexy. Creeps are just gonna be creeps. It sucks that as women, we are expected to just put up with this kind of behavior but like so many people have said. What recourse do we really have?

  • This situation is obviously really weird and uncalled for. I dont think that the woman wearing the bikini was “asking for it”. The simple action of being in a bikini is not consenting to be photographed or catcalled or stared at. I also think that you have to think about these things if you’re going to get super freaked out by miscellaneous perverts. I would say there are few places more likely to encounter a clandestine perv taking pictures of sun bathers than MHP. That may be why a lot of people dont do it? The park is an amazing asset, but has a bit of a creepy/sordid reputation.

    That said, what would everyone’s reaction be if a man in a speedo was laying out and was being secretly photographed by a woman? a straight man? a gay man? What if the man being photographed was attractive? pudgy?

    I have a feeling that if he was attractive, no one would care and if he was pudgy people would say how he has no business exposing himself like that. On scenario 1, maybe attractive guys dont particularly like being treated the way women every day are treated (I wouldnt know, because I’m not an attractive guy… I’m not bad looking, I just dont go through life being mistaken for a CK model). On scenario 2, I have a feeling men dont like being body shamed either… again, no direct experience here, but it seems like it would be pretty miserable.

    All of this is to point out that if this hadnt been a man taking a picture of a woman, this wouldnt warrant the type of commentary on here at all. The woman shouldnt be a target of pervs simply because she’s in revealing clothes, but everyone shouldn’t jump on the damsel in distress bandwagon just because she’s a woman either. Just yesterday, I saw an instagram post of an overweight man without a shirt on in a store in DC with the obvious point of hte photo being he should have his shirt on. Likewise, I’ve heard from my far more attractive friends that as attractive men, they are frequently recipients of unwanted female attention.

    So, maybe the simple answer here is: dont be a creeper and assume a right of privacy even if the person has, on their own accord, left the bubble on their own. No one deserves it.

    • I agree. Just because someone is outside in public DOES NOT mean that they consent to be looked at.

      • You are saying that if you go out in public you are allowed to choose who looks at you and who doesn’t? No where in the world does that option exist except in the privacy of your own home.

      • Oh my gosh, this is an amazing trolling comment.
        (It is trolling… right? Because otherwise it’s… inaccurate.)

    • I feel we should get rid of the POPville caption contest than, because a lot of the times the pics are to make humorous comments of people who probably aren’t expecting to be on a website.

      • Wouldnt be a terrible idea if the subject matter of the captions are encouraged to revolve around attractiveness, health, race, ethnic clothing, etc. Its not been my experience that PoPville’s photos crossed the line. But maybe others have different experiences.

  • Aglets

    Really, all my brain is wondering is ‘Who has time to sunbathe?’

    • Well, she’s obviously not spending any time reading about melanoma or the effects of sun on skin as one ages, so that frees up a few hours . . .
      (Sorry, that was unnecessarily snarky, and not relevant to the discussion. But still . . . )

      • Or maybe she’s reading up on the effects of Vitamin D deficiency while she sunbathes.

        • There is a global warming level of scientific consensus that sunbathing is more harmful than it is beneficial. The amount of vitamin D you receive from sun bathing plummets after a very short period of time. No matter what the quack “Dr.” Mercola tells everyone.

          • I always thought being out in the sun is fine as long as you don’t get burned.

          • Two things: 1.) you dont get more benefit from being out in the sun for longer than some short period of time (15 minutes maybe?). 2.) presumably “sun bathing” for longer than 15 minutes has only one purpose: to get a tan

            Tanning and burning are both damaging your skin and raising your risk for skin cancer (and possibly other things? not sure).

            Also, its really hard to be out in the sun for prolonged periods of time when so much of your skin is exposed and properly shield all of it from UV with sun lotion.

            Moreover, you get vitamin D from just being out in the sun in normal clothes.

          • +1 to “Tanning and burning are both damaging your skin and raising your risk for skin cancer.” IIRC, you get more damage from burning than from tanning, but BOTH are damage.
            More sun exposure will also mean more wrinkling when you’re older.

          • Emmaleigh504

            Potential for wrinkles and age spots should have you slipping, slopping, and slapping! (Slip on a shirt, slop on some sun screen, slap on a hat!)

          • I think if you spend all your workdays in an office it’s healthy to get outside and get some sun exposure when you can. I usually prefer to take a long walks, or garden, or kayak on the river, but I don’t see how laying in a park is any worse.
            But I also think fine wrinkles from having fun in the sun are incredibly sexy. 😉

          • Getting outside and being in the sun doesn’t have to mean “sun exposure.” Hats, sunscreen, and clothing are the way to go.
            You might find “fine wrinkles” sexy… but melanoma??

          • Do you freak out when someone has a drink because they’re slightly increasing their chances of developing a liver-related illness someday? Lighten up.

          • sun bathing and drinking dont increase your chances of disease equally! sun bathing for 15 minutes a day with sun lotion is essentially equivalent to having 1-2 glasses of wine a day. Sun bathing for longer is like getting raging drunk. Except, and Im not a dermatologist, but this is what a wide array of them say, getting badly burned even ONCE increases your risk of skin cancer substantially. Getting raging drunk once doesnt increase long-term health risks, as far as I know.

            Plus, I dont think having 1 drink even slightly raises your chance of liver related disease.

        • Is Vitamin D a double entendre here?

  • Also, Meridian Hill Park is where I go to practice techniques, as I live nearby, and if I see this kind of thing going on, I have no problem confronting them. All it takes is a few uncomfortable questions from a ‘fellow photographer’ to weed out the amateur creeps from the people who really care about the art.

  • Common sense suggests that no woman should go to a park in a bikini and not expect to be noticed.
    Common decency suggests that no woman should have to risk having her crotch photographed by some wankish deve whether she is sunbathing in a bikini, riding a metro escalator in a short skirt, wearing snug shorts walking to dinner or sporting a Clintonesque pants suit at a business meeting. When it comes to pervy crotch photography, these are all the exact same situation and in all these situations pervy crotch photography is not allowed.

  • “Not allowed” in a moral/ethical/social mores sense.

  • Ok, I’ll be sure to go fix myself. In the meantime, I dare someone to come snap a photo of my hoo-ha when I lay out in the sun.
    And you’re right, the court case and legal fees will be a real drag.

  • I cannot believe the amount of commenters saying that this woman was “asking for it.” We live in a city that hit 90 degrees this weekend. Most of us don’t have yards or roof decks, and not everyone has a public pool in their neighborhood (I don’t). Does that mean we’re not allowed to enjoy the sun? Have you seen the amount of shirtless guys at MHP playing soccer, running, or sunbathing? Does that make them whores, and fair game for perverts? Please.

    • I can’t believe it either. Zero commenters! What is this world coming to?

    • And India is like 130 degrees right now, but I haven’t seen pictures of anyone walking through the streets of New Delhi in bikini. What’s your point exactly?

    • 1) No one is saying that the woman was “asking for it” or that being in a bikini makes a woman a whore.
      2) There are many ways to enjoy the sun that don’t involve lying almost completely naked in a park.
      3) Yes, topless guys are “fair game” (whatever that means) for perverts just the same as bikini-clad women are. The laws governing their rights to, and expectations of, privacy in a public place are the same as far as I know.

    • The hyperbole is strong in this one. See my comment at 4:25.

    • justinbc

      Ignoring the fact that your basic premise of what people are saying is completely wrong, if those same men you mention wrote a post into PoPville complaining about someone taking their photo with their shirts off in a public park, then yes, they would receive exactly the same responses.

  • Run across the park is sloooow mooootion, good, now the other way….buy a house with a fenced backyard?

  • I have witnessed multiple men openly masturbating at Meridian Hill or laying behind girls in bathing suits. The park is full of creeps. The cops should be constantly paroling the park. Many of them pretend they’re reading behind a newspaper. Ladies, be aware of your surroundings and more cautious sunbathing.

  • Let’s imagine a similar scenario..

    “I was just laying out in meridian hill park today at 4pm with a male friend. I am a female with a big purse. This man came up when I wasn’t looking and lifted my wallet our of my purse. A group of women saw him. I confronted him and he ran away. I chased him across the park and got a few good photos. This happened in a very public area. Has anyone else reported this thief? What can I even do about this?”

    Would responses be..
    – Why are you bringing your purse to a park if you don’t want your wallet stolen?
    – If you really want to protect your wallet you should keep it at home.

    • I see you post a lot of pictures of your wallet on instagram. You clearly asking for someone to steal it.

    • it’s obviously upsetting that your wallet was stolen, but it really isn’t socially acceptable to have your wallet in the park with you like that anyways

    • Your analogy is extremely flawed. It is illegal to steal a wallet, it is not illegal to take someones picture in public.

      • The laws are old and generally written by old men who had wallets and nothing worth nefariously photographing.

    • Wow. All together now . . . stealing is illegal. Taking pictures of women sunbathing in public is not. Does this distinction really elude you?

    • Um, both of the bullet points are valid points with regard to a wallet. It is much more likely to be stolen in a public park than at home. But stealing wallets is very different from taking photographs in public.

  • If you look in the upper left corner you can see our blanket and my friend’s legs. I was laying to the left of my friend, so you can see how close it is.

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