MTA: If You See Groping, Say Something

The MTA is asking people to report inappropriate sexual conduct if they see it

The MTA is changing its train announcement aimed at victims of inappropriate sexual conduct on subways, asking witnesses who see groping to also report the crime.

The new message is similar to that of the MTA's "If You See Something, Say Something" campaign launched in 2003.

State Assemblywoman Deborah Glick pushed to have the messages changed after being concerned that the current announcements place the burden of reporting harassment solely on the victim.

"Sexual harassment is treated with a 'boys will be boys' shrug but it can be a humiliating, frustrating, and downright scary experience," Glick told NBC New York in an email. "I thought if the MTA really wants people to 'See Something, and Say Something' then there is no reason that sexual harassment should not be included as well."

The previous messages have been in place for approximately one year.

According to Glick, the new message will say, “a crowded subway is no defense to unlawful sexual conduct. If you believe that you have been the victim of a crime, or witness to a crime, notify an MTA Employee or Police Officer.”

Emily May, executive director of anti-street-harassment organization Hollaback!, says a major problem faced by victims of street harassment is disengaged witnesses.

Many of the stories Hollaback! hears are about the disappointment victims feel, both at being harassed and at the response of those who see the harassment.

"There is a really important role for bystanders to play," May said. "I think too often people think they only have two options: either to swoop in wearing a superhero costume and beat the guy up, or, do nothing."

Glick's office said the announcement will be implemented after it is field tested.

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