Two and a half years ago, a man was caught on video sexually assaulting a woman sleeping on the subway. Last week, they finally got him.
Police arrested Carlos Chuva, 43, last Thursday in the Queens borough of New York City. He was charged with first-degree felony aggravated sexual abuse.
The abuse occurred on Oct. 20, 2012, when Elisa Lopez, then 21, fell asleep on a New York City subway train. When she awoke, she was shocked to find a man's hand resting on her leg while he tried to kiss her. Lopez then punched the man and promptly left the train.
She was not aware of the full extent she was assaulted until her friend sent her a copy of the graphic video. In the video, the man later identified as Chuva is seen reaching his hand under Lopez's skirt and groping her.
"I was in disbelief," she told Cosmopolitan Magazine. "This can't be me. I felt sick to my stomach. I was yelling, screaming. I was hysterical."
(Carlos Chuvo )
Eventually, Chuva was identified from the video and even admitted to investigators, "That is me." However, it took two and a half years before the law came down on him.
Debjani Roy, deputy director of Hollaback, a group that seeks to end sexual assault on the streets, told reporters that the witnesses were also at fault for they could have done more to stop the assault instead of filming it. For instance, the witnesses could have distracted the assaulter and informed the authorities, Roy said.
"By putting up a video to social media, that person's sexual assault is there for everyone to see. Her trauma and her assault, anyone can see it with a Google search, and that ruins people's lives," Roy told reporters.
The video was filmed by Jasheem Smiley. He defended his actions saying, "There were 10 other people on the train that didn't do anything. I was the one that did the most."
Lopez, now 23, tells reporters that she hopes that anyone who witnesses sexual assault intervenes rather than recording with their camera.
"It's not gonna kill you to say, 'Hey, you alright? You good?'" she told reporters. "People don't really think about what happens to that person in the video, they're there for the YouTube likes, or whatever. But is it worth it to humiliate somebody for the rest of their lives?"
Lopez added, "What's the point of being a human being if you can't help another person?"
Though she has been grappling with post-traumatic stress disorder as well as depression and night terrors, she tells reporters that she is finally able to move on from the ordeal.
With a smile she says, "I'm at the point where I'm ready to move forward with this."
Source: The Daily Mail
Photo Credit: YouTube via The Daily Mail, WikiCommons