TOKYO - Did you just grope me? Shall we head to the police? That's the message women are flashing on their cell phones with a popular program designed to ward off wandering hands in Japan's congested commuter trains...
The application flashes increasingly threatening messages in bold print on the phone's screen to show to the offender: "Excuse me, did you just grope me?" "Groping is a crime," and finally, "Shall we head to the police?" ...
The application, which can be downloaded for free on Web-enabled phones, is for women who want to scare away perverts with minimum hassle and without attracting attention, according to Takahashi's Web site.
"I first downloaded this as a joke," said Spicy Soft official Michika Izumi. "But I think it could be a lifesaver if I get groped."
Even granted that "lifesaver" is a bit of rhetorical excess, this is a fine example of technology that makes everyone feel better while accomplishing absolutely nothing. Seriously, if you flash the question, "Excuse me, did you just grope me?" to a groper rather than simply saying it, all you have relayed is that you don't want a hassle and don't want attention, pretty much what the groper wants (though admittedly those are #2 and #3 on his priority list).
Flashing, "Shall we head to the police?" when you have already admitted that you cannot bring yourself even to speak to him and really don't want to make a scene will certainly bring a smile to his face.
There are two strategies that will work far better, I think. One is to use the cell phone to take a picture of the groper, either for displaying on the web or turning over to the police or the press*. That worked pretty well with this guy**. The second one is to turn toward the groper, whisper softly in his ear, "I'm glad you find me attractive. That really made my day," and then bring your knee up as hard as you can.
Then if you still want to take a picture of him you can, but I think the problem will be pretty much solved at that point.
* Or all of them. There's no need to be exclusive.
** No relation, swear to God.