If anything ever deserved that MTA Absurdity tag I like to stick on posts, this is it.
According to news stories released on Tuesday, New York City Transit is holding back on a planned anti-groping ad campaign because officials fear it will encourage more deviant behavior than it would combat. That’s right; the MTA feels that by attempting to raise awareness of a serious issue they will serve only to encourage it.
Patrick Gallahue, transit reporter at the New York Post, has more about this odd story:
City transit officials have prepared a campaign to combat deviants who grope or molest women on the subway – but have been sitting on it because of fears the ads could actually encourage sickos.
The New York City Transit campaign was set into motion after a study last year by Manhattan Borough President Scott Stringer found that 10 percent of women surveyed reported having been sexually abused in the subway and 63 percent claimed to have been sexually harassed.
Stringer recommended a public awareness campaign, which NYC Transit quietly prepared. The agency made it as far as developing mock-ups, which never went to print. Sources said the agency held off on launching the campaign out of fear it could actually provoke deviant behavior.
As Jossip notes, wouldn’t the same logic preclude the MTA from releasing anti-terror ads? By urging people to combat suspicious subway behavior, we could be encouraging it. By trying to fight litter, might the MTA’s latest ad campaign simply remind people to litter even more frequently in the subways?
Subway assaults and groping is clearly a serious problem in the subways. The MTA shouldn’t belittle these concerns by refusing to run these ads and for such a flimsy reason. Just stick ’em up in the subways; groping incidents won’t increase.
Poster image from the MBTA’s anti-groping campaign in the Boston T.