In a matter of minutes, 21-year-old Moise Morancy transitioned from an aspiring rapper to a life-altering hero on a bus in Queens, NY. On Oct. 25, Morancy was riding home from a recording session on the Q53 when an intoxicated man boarded the bus and began making lewd comments to the teenage girl next to Morancy. Morancy first took note of the 36-year-old named Pablo Levano’s inappropriate behavior when he began caressing the girl’s hand without her permission; after she retreated her hand in extreme discomfort, he forcibly began touching her inner thigh which caused Morancy to step in.
“I was so upset that I kept to myself after because I didn’t want the problem to escalate. Out of nowhere, he had the audacity to start feeling on this girl’s leg,” Morancy recalls in a video he made after the incident. “And no one said anything.” The musician stood up and began yelling “so loud(ly) that the bus stopped and everyone stared.” Levano lunged at Morancy to which he responded by restraining the older man until the police arrived.
A video of the incident has spread around social media sites like Instagram, Twitter, and Facebook. Morancy has been consistently praised for his heroism throughout the ordeal, but something else that viewers are picking up on is the lack of help that he received. The bus was packed, yet only one bystander cared enough to help Morancy defend the young girl which is unfortunately all-too similar to many other public sexual assault cases. People wonder how these attacks happen in such public places without any bystanders noticing, but bystanders do notice; they just do not do anything to help. This can be proven by simply watching the viral video of Morancy defending the fifteen-year-old while everyone else just sat and watched.
If Morancy had not stepped in to defend the young girl, the situation could have escalated very quickly, and that is why speaking out when witnessing a possible sexual assault is crucial. Sexual assaults can happen within seconds, so it is essential to speak up as soon as possible. In June 2016, the New York Police Department reported that instances of sexual offenses on the New York City subway system rose over fifty percent from last year. Given that the subway system is heavily populated most of the time, there were most likely countless witnesses in all those cases, and no one spoke up to defend the victims whose trauma could have been avoided if someone had just defended them. That is why people like Morancy are so important in today’s society; he recognized the danger of situation and spoke out. “I had to do what I had to do for the girl,” Morancy said in an interview with PIX11. “And I urge other men to step in and intervene when someone is being sexually assaulted.” One can only hope that Morancy’s bravery will inspire others to show the same heroism when witnessing a sexual assault.