The sleeping woman who was sexually assaulted on the subway last week has now come forward and filed a complaint. A victims' advocate from the National Guard tells us that the woman is a member of the New York Air National Guard, and Sergeant McGough of the NYPD Transit Bureau Detectives Squad confirmed that a complaint had been filed in the case. According to the National Guard rep, the victim had no recollection of the assault until a friend spotted the video and, suspecting it might be her, sent her a link to the story.
The incident occurred at around 3:30 a.m. Saturday on the southbound 4 train around 96th Street. The bystander who took the video, Jasheem Smiley, says that as soon as he stopped recording he screamed at the man. "We told him, 'that's not right!' But he kept touching her, so I kicked her foot so she'd wake up, but she didn't," Smiley said. "Then he put his arm around her to try and pull her closer and that's when she woke up. She gave him a look like, 'who the hell are you?' and punched him in the cheek…She punched him pretty hard."
The woman left the train, and Smiley reported the incident to the conductor, but the perpetrator had vanished. The National Guard victims' advocate tells us the victim "had no recollection, probably because she was traumatized and had blocked it out. After her friend alerted her, then she recalled everything. Obviously, people who are assaulted in this way have gone through trauma, and they need time to process it."
Smiley has been criticized by some for not doing more to intervene and stop the assault. Nicola Briggs, the woman who famously confronted a man who exposed his genitals on the subway in 2010, tells us, "I am just so sickened by this video on so many different levels. There is one major major difference between what happened to me in the video and what happened to this woman, and that's that in my video, you see the aftermath of my violation, not the violation itself. Although I wasn't aware that I was being filmed, I asked people around me for their assistance, I was inviting them to be witnesses.
"This woman had witnesses, she had a bystander a few feet away, but apparently they thought they should film what happened instead of intervening. He says that he filmed it for 18 seconds, but how long does it take someone to violate you? I don't know what was going through his head while he was filming this." Smiley, in his defense, has explained just that in this video:
Smiley was interviewed by NYPD detectives on Wednesday, and has agreed to testify if the suspect is caught. "This is outrageous," Smiley says. "This is not something a normal person would do. Justice shall prevail."
The National Guard rep adds, "We want to encourage bystanders, and I know there have been feelings that he should have done something right away. But half an intervention is better than nothing, and at least he got it to the police, and it has a relatively effectively result. This person's face is out there. Yes, he could have intervened more and stopped the assault, but we want to also emphasize what he did well and encourage people to get involved."
As for the victim's initial inability to recall the assault, the National Guard victims' advocate tells us, "That is a common psychological thing that happens with people who are part of any traumatic event. There are Post-Traumatic Stress Disorders for many types of things that we deal with in the National Guard. One in four women have been sexually assaulted by the time they're 18. And after they're adults, it continues on. Women also have one in four chance of being sexually assaulted in the military."
For more on this, stay tuned to Inside Edition—Smiley tells us he filmed a segment with the show that will air this week.
Additional reporting by Christopher Robbins.