When getting on a plane for a flight, hopefully one of the last things you’d expect to happen would be for you to be inappropriately touched or groped in any way. You’d think that, because planes are quite cramped, you’d respect what limited personal space people have, right? Well, as this woman found out, that isn’t always the case.
Ariana Lenarsky was casually minding her own business on a flight some guy seriously invaded her personal space.
In a string of tweets, Lenarsky explains how she felt someone grab and stroke her leg as she was walking down the aisle of a plane. She says that she informed the flight attendants about the incident but learned that they had already been told about the man as other women had also complained. As the plane was already in the air it was too late for said passenger to be removed from the flight, she asked what was going to be done about him.
Explaining how the experience was like a “Choose Your Own Adventure for how to deal with harassment,” Lenarsky debated about whether she should share the picture of the guy in social media, saying that the experience had left her “depressed.”
After landing, the man was met by police, while her and another woman gave a statement.
Shockingly, Lenarsky, who is a writer and performer based in Los Angeles, was told that if she wanted to press charges she’d have to pay for a flight back to Austin as it fell under the Austin PD’s jurisdiction. Conflicted, she asked the police what they were going to do.
Lenarsky then shared the picture she took of the passenger.
The picture, which has at the time of writing been shared over 8000 times, sparked a string of supportive tweets.
Stories like Lenarsky’s highlight the ongoing problem surrounding rape culture and only further the discussions going on surrounding sexual assault and violence.
According to the anti-sexual assault organization RAINN, every two minutes an American is sexually assaulted. In fact, one out of every six American women has been the victim of attempted or completed rape in her lifetime.
While it might be seen as controversial to some to share the picture of her alleged groper, Lenarsky’s actions are completely understandable, especially considering the lacklustre response the allegations of sexual assault often get from authorities.
In fact, following the recent comments by and allegations against Republican presidential hopeful Donald Trump, many women have taken to social media to share their deeply personal stories of assault with each other in solidarity along with the hashtag #notokay.
Similarly, the First Lady Michelle Obama recently gave a rousing speech about the current political rhetoric surrounding the treatment of women and the effect that it has on society.
We hope that Ariana Lenarsky is okay following her ordeal. It’s literally never okay to inappropriately grab anyone. We hope that as discussions around sexual assault continue we’ll see fewer instances of it.