Coping with Groping 

Dear Audrey,
Like most NYC women, I have had the misfortune of a handful of unpleasant subway encounters with men touching/exposing themselves or grabbing/touching me. I know I should "tell someone" (like the posters say), but I usually end up shuffling away in mouth-dropped embarrassment/anger. What is the best way to tell subway pervs to cut it out?

Blurgh, subway jerks are the worst. Plus, I love the premise of those posters, which is like, well, we'll never be able to convince men to cut that shit out and treat women with the basic respect we've agreed as a society human beings owe one another, so ladies, it is your responsibility to end/report your own victimization, or else it's basically your fault it happened. C'mon, gals, just politely ask that possibly violent creep waggling his dick at you to please stop it. What? It's so easy!

Reader, I completely feel you with the whole wanting to just slink away and avoid a confrontation thing. I mean seriously, this guy is already messed up enough to inappropriately touch/masturbate at you, he's not necessarily someone I'd advise getting into an argument with on an otherwise empty train.

In that case, though, you could just find an MTA employee (you will recognize them by their burgundy vests, and also the fact that they are in the station assisting customers — am I the only one who has never been able to spot these people?) and give him or her a description of the creepster.

If you're feeling up for a confrontation, I think anything you say from "Fuck you, asshole" to "Touch me with that hand again and you will lose it" to "Hey everybody, this guy wants you to know his penis is available for viewing now" is appropriate. Pretty much anything that draws attention to the guy and shames him into stopping works. You could also surreptitiously snap a pic with your phone and send it to The Daily News — kind of the ultimate in public shaming.

But honestly, it is not your job to stand up to fuckwads who do stuff like that. If yelling at someone makes a situation that was already shitty/gross even shittier for you, then in terms of your own sanity, it might not be worth it. Ugh. Fuck you, guys who are subway pervs.

Dear Audrey,
When someone takes dirty pictures of you, who owns them, you or that person?

Well obviously, since I write this column and therefore do not have the kind of job that requires me not to talk about rim jobs in print, I am not a lawyer and have no fucking clue what the legal answer to that question is. I guess based solely on my Flickr account that if you take the picture you own the copyright?

But ethically (or morally — I forget what the difference between ethics and morals are) to my mind the person the pictures are of "owns" the pictures, and should be asked permission before the photos are shared or distributed.

But on the other hand, and here's the important part, in reality, whoever has the pictures in their possession owns them. Because once they disseminate them, however legally, morally, or ethically shitty a move that is, one cannot put that toothpaste back in its tube. To quote our generation's Mark Twain (Joaquin Phoenix), "There are some things that you see, and you can't unsee them."

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