An Esquimalt woman is warning others after she was the victim of an indecent exposure near her home.
Melody Findlay, 25, says she was walking near Esquimalt Road and Lampson Street Saturday around 8 p.m. when a man in a newer-model white Mazda SUV pulled up alongside her and asked her if she knew how to get to Hillside Mall.
Confused, Findlay told him he was not in the right area, and tried to give him directions.
“But then, this feeling just creeps up on me,” she recalled.
She says the man was exposing himself and masturbating.
Findlay started to walk away and called to a man walking his dog on the other side of the street, attempting to bring attention to herself in case the situation escalated. The man in the car sped away, she said, but she was able to glean the first two letters of his licence plate.
The man walking his dog stayed with her while she called police and then walked her home.
“Once I got home my stomach was just sick,” she said. “I had to contact friends just to be like, ‘I need human contact right now. I can’t be alone, I’m having anxiety attacks.’”
Findlay says she posted about the ordeal online not only to warn others, but to emphasize how traumatizing the situation was.
She says she’s received message from people who experienced similar harassment and brushed it off, despite feeling violated and disgusted.
“A lot of people don’t really see how much of an impact it has,” she said. “Not only does this express to women to watch out for this guy and to be wary … but it also shows people that it isn’t OK. It’s OK to feel disgusted.”
The Victoria Police Department is investigating an indecent act that occurred in a vehicle in the 600-block of Lampson Street on Saturday night around 8 p.m. The suspect is described a Caucasian man, 30 to 35, who may have been wearing a hat. The first two letters of the vehicle’s licence plate are believed to be J and H.
The Victoria Sexual Assault Centre offers counselling, victim services and a sexual assault response team. The centre can be reached 24/7 at 250-383-3232.