@the moderatrix and all my fellow commenttards
First off: go Sarah! Kick some ass, and take some names. The rest of you sorry lot: play nice. Remember, what actually gets posted here is the filtered bit. There is without question the odd comment that Sarah gets that is absolutely unpalatable, probably qualifying under "disgrace to all mankind." If your job was reading comments all day long, how many of those would you have to get in a week to be not only upset, but possibly on the verge of losing all hope for (internet connected) mankind. Any commenttards that can’t bear that in mind deserve, (in my not so humble opinion,) a right good kicking.
And now: my completely unsolicited $0.02 about the topic at hand. I can't speak for any of my fellow commenttards, but I was raised to believe that all people, regardless of gender, ethnic origin, age, weight, attractiveness etc. were to be treated the same. Sadly, the vast majority of the world has huge problems with this concept, and so it is in practice never truly implemented. There is always someone willing to discriminate against someone else. Each and every one of us has prejudices of some variety. Some of those prejudices are politically correct in the confines of the society in which we live, and some are not.
From the perspective of my own upbringing, the fact that this groping occurs with such frequency on Japanese commuter trains is appalling. The fact the response is segregation along gender lines is equally so. I appreciate that this segregation is an attempt to remedy a nearly unpolicable social issue that is unacceptable on almost every level, but the segregation will only serve to reinforce the differences between the genders. Men who can’t get a spot in the cars they are privileged enough to be permitted to use will grow to resent the women. (Who will be allowed to use all cars, but have special ones reserved solely for their use.) Women will by the sheer nature of this be subtly encouraged to thing of all men as potential gropers/potential sexual assaulters.
I am assuming that all of us here read the same articles on El Reg…where we talk endlessly about the threats posed by government databases, corporate and political corruption, and how there must be limits imposed, checks and balanced placed to ensure that the individual is not lost in the noise. That in mind, remember women are not remotely immune to cravings for power, control and a desire to use intimidation to achieve their aims. I understand Sarah’s view that such events are currently infrequent, however there does exist serious potential here for abuse by women who seek power over others.
I don’t suggest that I have a better solution, however I believe that what is being proposed here will only exacerbate gender issues in this society, not help solve them. I don’t know enough about Japanese culture to be considered any authority, and my opinions of course bear the caveat that this is based solely on my personal life experiences and limited research into the subject. Whether or not the fear of unwarranted litigation is proportionate to the threat or not, I honestly believe the subject is as important a social issue as incidents like these asinine gropings. No gender (or other social grouping) should have cause to fear the other, and if we are to advance as a society, we must address all such issues. (Not just the ones that are currently "politically correct" to try to fix.)