When 21-year-old French actress Camille Regnier boarded a train in Paris on Tuesday, she was appalled to find a creepy public masturbator leering at her. But the dude didn't realize that he'd picked the wrong lady to point his junk at.
On Tuesday, Regnier took to her Facebook page to tell her disturbing story. Apparently, the man positioned himself across from her and exposed himself on the commuter train. "When he was masturbating, the guy was staring at me in the window of the metro," she wrote in the post, asking: "Is it because I'm a woman that I have to experience your evil perversity every day?"
But the best part of Regnier's post was arguably her photo of the subway harasser, which showed both his face and peen in full view. While it has since been taken down due to Facebook's anti-nudity policy, BuzzFeed published the following (censored) screen grab:
After the photo gained wide circulation across social media, Paris police were able to identify the man in the photos, BuzzFeed reports.
A shockingly common issue: While it's unfortunate that a humiliating situation like this would have to reach such a public level for the offender to get caught, subway harassment of the type Regnier experienced is common throughout most parts of the world.
"Sexual misconduct is everywhere," Mic's Natasha Noman wrote just last month, after experiencing a disturbing subway incident of her own. "But the framework for reporting it and holding perpetrators accountable is broken." Sadly, there's little recourse for women who've experienced such harassment: Noman notes that the lack of cell phone and Internet service on train cars, as well as a dearth of surveillance cameras, can make reporting such abuse feel futile.
Indeed, 2007 data indicates that two-thirds of New York City subway riders have personally experienced sexual harassment on the subway, and 69% have felt sexually threatened. In Paris, where Regnier lives, a staggering 100% of women have reported witnessing harassment and sexual assault on public transportation.
But Regnier is not the first woman to take matters into her own hands by publicly shaming her harasser. Earlier this year, Lucy Hemmings, a British woman living in India, blogged about her experience getting sexually harassed by a masturbating man at a bus stop in Mumbai. "As much as I hate to admit it, this isn't the first time it's happened," she wrote at the time.
But thanks to women like Hemmings and Regnier coming forward — and nonprofit organizations like Hollaback speaking out against the scourge of street harassment — hopefully in the future, it won't take a dick pic going viral to draw attention to the issue.