The Double Standard in What Constitutes Molest

I was walking within the compounds of Shinjuku station heading toward the platform when a girl crossed in front of me and stopped by a wall with the map of the station. As I passed behind her, she suddenly bent over to peer at the map and her butt jutted out. I instinctively moved away a little and the back of my palm brushed against her dress. That moment, I thought, if I were accused of molesting her and the police decide to do a search, they would be able to find traces of fiber from her dress on the back of my palm, which would mean there is probably no way I can get out of this.

I recall watching a program on TV where the discussion was about molestation and when the host asked, “what if I was wrongfully accused of molesting someone on the train,” the lawyers on the show replied, “Run.”

According to the lawyer, he says it’s very difficult to prove innocence on molest charges and that the case will drag very long and ruin your life regardless of whether you are found guilty or not, so the best recourse is to not get caught. Oh yes, that’s right. As if the police won’t ask, “If you’re not guilty, why did you run?” This is ridiculous but it reminds me of the movie それでもボクはやってない (I Just Didn’t Do It), which is an actual story of a man whose life was ruined when he got falsely accused of molesting a girl. He was eventually acquitted but the case cost him his work and life.

This also made me think, in such a case, would a super handsome being be more likely be forgiven than someone less good-looking? While I do not have any empirical evidence to arrive at any conclusion, it’s been a long argument that the world is biased toward good-looking people. The claim is that it’s unfair. But when I think about it, this supposed unfairness actually makes sense.

The reason people allow their friends to touch them (on their shoulders/arms, etc.) or partners to caress them is because they do not feel uncomfortable by it. Some of these people’s friends or partners may not be people whom most others consider good-looking. A person accidentally bumping into someone might not get punished as opposed to this same person accidentally bumping into another person; someone less good-looking but has an honest and clean appearance would more likely be forgiven than someone who looks uncouth. People’s tolerance levels are different—what constitutes unacceptable outrage of modesty may be totally acceptable to another—toward the same action by the same person.

The primary factor in molestation charges is less about being touched, but more about being made to feel discomfort from the touch. So whether a toucher would get wrongly accused for molestation depends on the touchee’s tolerance and perception of certain outwardly appearance and behavior. Someone less good-looking or more unkempt or less innocent-looking may create more discomfort for the touchee but this may not necessarily be related to the person’s perceived level of attractiveness. In conclusion, there isn’t really any double-standards, but as with all matters, an unlimited possibility of standards that weigh a plethora of factors in deciding how one is made to feel.

It was just a walk into Shinjuku station and all these crossed my mind. I need a hobby.


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