Salon's Broadsheet reports on yet another Japanese invention that supposedly protects women: the Anti-Groping Appli, a design for Web-equipped phones that displays messages like "Groping is a crime."
Apparently you call it up on your phone and stick it in the face of the person whose hand is invading your privacy. Frankly, I think good old-fashioned yelling would be more effective, even in polite Japan.
At least someone is thinking about the subject, but if the Japanese really want to solve the problem of men groping women on crowded subways, they need to work on it using law enforcement and campaigns to draw public attention. Any society that can make its trains and subways run on time as well as the Japanese can solve this social problem if they really want to.
While the primary focus of this blog is on what individuals can do to protect themselves, it's important to recognize that there are many other things governments and citizen's groups can do to improve safety for everyone. Making the community safer is an integral part of taking care of yourself.
Here's a good project (also found through the Salon Broadsheet post): Right Rides, an organization in New York City that offers free rides home for women, transgender people, and others susceptible to harassment or worse. The service operates on Saturday night/early Sunday morning and can be reached at that time at 718-964-7781.
Universities often offer similar services and there is no reason why any community cannot organize a similar operation.
Here's something a little more creative aimed at street harassers: Holla Back, a blog that exposes those who expose themselves and otherwise bother women on the street. It may not directly keep you safe, but I'm sure it's personally satisfying.