Student reports harassment by man in vehicle

A photo of the truck from the student's cell phone. She says a man driving the truck photographed her as she was walking. (Anonymous)
A photo of the truck from the student's cell phone. She says a man driving the truck photographed her as she was walking. (Anonymous)

Kingston police are on the lookout for a man who took a photo of a young woman from his vehicle at Elm and Division Streets.

A second-year Queen’s student, who requested to remain anonymous for safety reasons, said she was walking down Elm St. towards Division St. at 8 a.m. this morning when she heard someone driving slowly behind her.

According to the student, the man in the vehicle began whistling and making indiscernible noises. When the student turned to wave him off, he smiled and held up a camera phone, taking photos of her before driving away. She said she believes he had been photographing her body.

“It’s disgusting that men see me as a sexual object like that and think it’s okay to take pictures of me and to know have it’s [my photo] on his phone,” the student said. “I don’t know what he’s doing with it.”

As he turned onto Division St. the student took a photo of his vehicle — a large, dark car with a trailer attached to the back. According to the student, the man was 30 to 40 years old, European, balding and had a ginger-blondish beard.

She said she immediately reported the incident to the police. All police, including patrolling officers, have been made aware of the situation, according to Const. Steve Koopman, media relations with the Kingston Police.

As it stands, the incident doesn’t meet the threshold of criminal offence, Koopman said.

“It’s technically not an offence to take a photo in a public place,” he said, adding that the victim would have to have a reasonable fear for her safety for the incident to constitute criminal harassment. He said officers can stop the vehicle and ask the driver about his motives, but can’t force him to delete the photo.

The student said catcalling has become nearly a daily occurrence for her.

“This happens pretty often in Kingston,” she said, adding that men in passing vehicles have called her a “bitch” and “slut” in the past.

Her choice of clothing doesn’t affect the catcalling, the student said. In her experience, it happens even if she’s wearing her work uniform or a big, baggy sweater.

“There are no boundaries, it doesn’t matter the time of day,” she said.

“It makes me feel really unsafe. It makes me feel like I don’t want to leave my house.”

All final editorial decisions are made by the Editor(s)-in-Chief and/or the Managing Editor. Authors should not be contacted, targeted, or harassed under any circumstances. If you have any grievances with this article, please direct your comments to journal_editors@ams.queensu.ca.

When commenting, be considerate and respectful of writers and fellow commenters. Try to stay on topic. Spam and comments that are hateful or discriminatory will be deleted. Our full commenting policy can be read here.