Gropers take note: Cell phone software will rat you out

Sleazy men groping women on subways and buses is a problem around the globe but more so in Japan apparently.  Japanese women are turning to cell phone software that will set off an audible alarm and let the phone flash warnings to men violating the woman’s personal space.  

According to an Associated Press story the cell phone 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 "Anti-Groping Appli" features an “Anger” icon that begins the warning process on the cell phone. The application was built by games developer Takahashi and released 2005, but has in the past few months become one of the most popular cell phone downloads in Japan, the AP story says.   

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.

According to Tokyo Metropolitan Police, 1,853 people were arrested for groping passengers on trains in Tokyo in 2005. Experts say the incidence of harassment on trains is much higher, but women are often too embarrassed to report it, the AP story said.  Nearly 64% of Japanese women in their 20s and 30s participating in a survey said they've been groped on trains, subways or at transit stations in Tokyo, according to a report a couple years ago in the Chicago Tribune.

The problem is not limited to Japan however: Tokyo, Mexico and Rio de Janeiro and other major cities all have women-only trains where women  can travel in relative safety.

 A recent survey said 36% of the women surveyed in New York City said they had been either groped or flashed on the subway. The survey was conducted over a four-day period at Grand Central Station, Union Square, Penn Station, Columbus Circle and Herald Square subway stations.

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