There has been a huge rise in perverts “cyber-flashing” on the trains.
Cyber-flashing occurs when a sexual predator sends an unsolicited pornographic image or video to a stranger via the iPhone file-sharing function AirDrop.
British Transport Police have reported an alarming increase in the number of women being sent sexually explicit images by strangers while travelling via train. A female who wished to remain nameless told Lytham St Annes news “last year, when travelling from Ansdell & Fairhaven to Preston, I was playing on Facebook on my iPhone, I then had a look through My Photos trying to find a selfie to upload to my status and noticed a penis had been added to my gallery that wasn’t there before. I was mortified, especially as I screamed out loudly on a busy train – so embarrassing”.
In 2018, 34 cases of cyber-flashing offences were reported to British Transport Police. In 2019, the number of recorded cases rose to 66, almost doubling over a one-year period.
Police fear the actual figures could be vastly higher as most incidents of cyber-flashing go unreported. Reasons for this could include the fear and/or embarrassment experienced by the victim, the difficulty in identifying the offender who sent the image, and a lack of serious consequences for offenders who are caught cyber-flashing.
If a person in England or Wales (in Scotland it’s illegal) intentionally exposes their genitals in public, with the intention that another person will see them and be caused alarm or distress, then they are guilty of the crime of exposure and can be handed up to two years in prison and put on the sexual offenders register. If, however, they expose their genitals in the digital sphere with the same intention then they do not commit the same offence.