LIRR Train Crew "All In" Against Rape

by Shaker DerelictDaughter11

[Trigger warning.]

Hey, Shakers! I was really moved by yesterday's discussion in the "Bullied to Death by Misogynists" thread. I believe that saying, "I'm all in" is an important step toward making that "all in" commitment. Actually living that commitment requires, for starters, a lot of dedication, constant self-awareness and unpacking of privilege, compassion for others, and a willingness to see what is happening all around you. And when someone really goes "all in," it's no small thing.

This morning on my way to work on the Long Island Rail Road (LIRR), I was reading Train Talk—the typically-useless little leaflet that the LIRR leaves strewn across seats once a month to remind people not to talk too loudly in their cell phones, to "please keep your feet off the seats," and to report on their "On Time Performance"—though I do enjoy their little poems about train courtesy. Maybe I'll send one into ShakesQuill…but I digress.

A tiny blurb about something caught my eye, and, when I got to work, I looked for more about the story and found this press release from July 2, 2008 on the Metropolitan Transportation Authority (MTA) website:

MTA Long Island Rail Road and MTA Police officials today commended the bravery of a LIRR train crew that came to the aid of a 28-year-old woman as she was apparently being sexually assaulted on the track bed just off the eastern end the Freeport train station.

Authorities said the crew's response led to an immediate arrest by MTA Police of an Island Park man who was later charged with the assault on Tuesday afternoon.

"The quick thinking actions of the LIRR crew members and the MTA Police resulted in the apprehension of a suspect and helped save the victim from further attack," said LIRR President Helena Williams. "We are very proud and grateful that the crew members came to the assistance of the victim without hesitation and the MTA police were able to make an arrest."


The westbound Babylon train pulled into the Freeport Station at 4:11 p.m. when several customers on the platform alerted crew members that they heard what sounded like a child's screams coming from the east end of the platform.

Assistant Conductor Eugene Chino, who was in the eighth car, immediately ran in that direction while Collector Lorraine Martinez alerted engineer Brian Zaderecki to hold the train at the station.

"I could hear yelling and screaming, but I couldn’t see anyone," said Chino, 42, who has worked for the Railroad for six years. He said he realized the call for help was coming from the track bed and climbed down to investigate. "She was screaming for help."


The suspect, identified as David Thornton, 48, of Island Park, surrendered immediately. He was charged with first-degree rape.
And what's even better than just being inspired and given hope by the fact that a train crew stopped a rape in progress? The fact that the press release actually uses the words "rape," "sexual assault," and "victim," that's what. My reading of it finds no victim blaming or rape-apology either (please—call me out if I’m wrong). It's a good day.

The blurb in Train Talk was different from the press release. In it, Assistant Conductor Eugene Chino is quoted as saying, "She needed help…and that's what she was going to get from me." That's important, and not just because the Babylon branch is my train line, and not just because this happened at 4pm on a Tuesday in the next town over, and not just because "it could have been me." It is also because his statement seems to say, "I had to help." He didn't consider whether to intervene. He and the other crewmembers just did.

Of course, the MTA is touting this as an excellent example of their "See Something, Say Something" campaign (aimed at thwarting would-be terrorists) in action, and as an opportunity to applaud itself for finally providing train crews with this awesome communication technology called "cell phones." But that's not what really matters. What really matters is that a group of people took action and stopped a sexual assault victim's attacker from causing her any more pain. They went all in.

Shakesville is run as a safe space. First-time commenters: Please read Shakesville's Commenting Policy and Feminism 101 Section before commenting. We also do lots of in-thread moderation, so we ask that everyone read the entirety of any thread before commenting, to ensure compliance with any in-thread moderation. Thank you.

blog comments powered by Disqus