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Two women in Washington, D.C. are wanted by police for sexual abuse of a man at a gas station over non-consensual twerking. A video (which has since been taken down) was released by D.C. Metropolitan Police to see if the public could help identify the suspects.
The video, which was made availably on the Daily Mail, shows the first woman back herself up to the man and twerk on him. When he moves away, her friend begins to harass and touch him, trying to grab his phone and reaching towards his pockets. The man repeatedly tries to move away but the second woman keeps trying to get near him, putting her arm around his waist and her face close to his.
Twerking has a long history in music and dance culture and is usually left for the club or stage. But given the sexual nature of twerking—defined by Oxford dictionary as “a dance move involving thrusting hip movements and a low, squatting stance”—it can be criminal if done on an individual without their consent.
Both women are now considered “persons of interest” by Metropolitan police and face third degree sexual abuse charges for non-consensually touching the man.
The incident occurred on the 1700 block of New York Avenue on Wednesday, October 7 at approximately 4:00 PM. D.C. police have asked anyone with information regarding the incident to call (202) 727-9099.
Update 11:29am CT, Nov. 12: ABC 7 reports that police arrested one of the suspects, 22 year-old Ayanna Marie Knight, of Las Vegas, on Tuesday. Knight is facing a charge of third-degree sex abuse. The other suspect has not yet been caught.
The victim, who says he is a teacher but asked not to be named, told ABC 7 that he asked the gas station cashier to help him during the incident, but the man behind the counter responded, “What do you want me to do?” The victim says he saw men outside the gas station who he thought were pimps, and was therefore afraid of what might happen if he attempted to defend himself.
The victim says he wishes to remain anonymous because he has already received backlash on social media for filing the complaint. He also said there is a “double standard” when it comes to female-on-male sexual assault, adding “The [women] were all over my chest and grabbing me … if I would have done that, obviously I would have been arrested, thrown to the ground, probably 20 years in prison, no out.”
Screengrab via Whatever/YouTube
Catherine Scott is the author of 'Thinking King: The Collusion of BDSM, Feminism and Popular Culture.' Scott's work has been published in the Telegraph, the Guardian, Ms. Magazine, and Salon.