In the wake of the #MeToo movement—and months after hundreds of thousands of women shared frustrated stories online about being flashed by strange men on the subway, on the street, and in the park—at least one woman apparently took it upon herself to get vigilante justice.
After a 28-year-old man exposed his genitals to 51-year-old Cynthia Christine Molina in a Redlands, California park on Tuesday afternoon, Molina chased him down and stabbed him multiple times in the back, local police said in a Friday press release.
The man had walked 15 minutes away from the scene of the flashing, in Jennie Davis Park, before Molina came up behind him and attacked him, police said. Afterward, she ran off. Police later identified her using surveillance video from the city and from nearby businesses.
The stabbing was first reported by the still-unidentified man, who reportedly initially claimed it was random. Police later learned about the flashing.
Carl Baker, the public information officer for the City of Redlands, told The Daily Beast on Monday that the man suffered non-life-threatening injuries and was released from the hospital the same day.
The Redlands Police Department arrested Molina on Wednesday and recommended to the San Bernardino County District Attorney’s Office that she be charged with assault with a deadly weapon. Police have also recommended indecent exposure charges against the man, but Baker said he had not been arrested as of Monday afternoon.
Baker said officials do not recommend engaging directly with a man who is flashing himself in the park.
“If you feel threatened, call police; leave the area, if you can. If there other people around, if you feel like you’re threatened, raise a commotion, make some noise. But there was no indication that there was any threat in this case.”
“In this instance, he had already left the area,” Baker continued. “So there was definitely no indication of any kind of threat by the time she assaulted him.”
“She was angry and she followed him,” he added.
A nationally representative survey conducted by Stop Street Harassment in 2014 reportedly found that 14 percent of women in the United States have been flashed by men in public. Forty-one percent of women participants said they had experienced physical aggression in public, including non-consensual sexual touching and being followed down the street.