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My husband was falsely accused of groping on a train

The Yomiuri ShimbunDear Troubleshooter:

I’m a company worker in my 40s, and my husband was wrongly accused of groping on a train. I’m still unhappy and resent it.

On that day, my husband didn’t come home as scheduled. I contacted him only to find he had been taken to a police box on suspicion of groping, which he said he had never done. I was astounded, but immediately went to get him.

According to my husband, he had his arm grabbed by a teenage girl when he got off a crowded train. The girl shouted at him, “I know it was you.” No matter how much he denied it, she didn’t relent.

Fortunately, two women who had been near my husband on the train told police that he did nothing wrong, which helped him be cleared of the suspicion. I can’t imagine what would have happened to him without the eyewitnesses’ accounts.

My husband told me he couldn’t stop shivering throughout the mishap, thinking how this incident could affect his future. He’s a kind person who’s considerate toward others, so I always tell him, “You’ve done a lot of good things so far, so you were lucky enough to have someone who helped you.” Nevertheless, he’s been scared to get on a train ever since.

I understand that all this happened because groping is a crime and there’s someone who actually did it. But I still can’t help but feel depressed to a level similar to anger.

M, Kanagawa Prefecture

Dear Ms. M:

I’m glad the false charge against your husband was cleared. In addition, I’m truly envious he has such good relations with you. You’re in a relationship where you can resent his misfortune together and console him.

What’s past is past, but it’s natural that you’re still angry and unhappy. It’s probably difficult to track down and arrest the true offender. The girl who mistakenly accused your husband is herself a victim of wrongdoing. It makes a lot of sense that you have no one to direct your anger toward.

In that case, I suggest you think this way: Two incidents, each of which rarely happens, happened in succession. One is that he was falsely accused of groping, the other is that kind people emerged and proved his innocence. Don’t you think the latter is almost miraculous? So how about believing that your husband is guarded by something unseen?

To help ease your anger, I suggest you shout aloud at home with your husband: “Hey, you groper! Get arrested as soon as possible!” It may not completely soothe your anger, but it’s better than doing nothing.

Female passengers are scared of being groped on packed trains, and men also fear being falsely accused of it. To improve the situation, railway operators should make their trains less crowded and install surveillance cameras to spot something wrong.

Masahiro Yamada, professor

(from Sept. 20, 2017, issue)Speech

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