"Watch out for the monster cock"

Female students report Peeping Tom
By Esha Metiary

There’s a flasher about. Though female students in Leiden are aware of the sightings, they don’t usually feel threatened by the exhibitionist. “He cycles past while having a wank, just to shock us.”

At an election debate last week, a female student was indignant when it was claimed that Leiden should made safer. In her opinion, the attitude of the police was more important than the number of officers on the beat. “I live in an all-female student house that’s been upset by a voyeur flashing his privates. The community police officer said it was our fault because we wear shorts in the summer.”

Siem Kleinhout, a community police officer in Leiden-Zuid, responds calmly. “The girls often arrive home around half past one, not always sober, in very short skirts. They shower and tend to get dressed in well-lit rooms with the curtains open. I’m not saying they shouldn’t, but they should be careful. Perhaps I’m old-fashioned, but why not ask someone to escort you home?”

It’s not the first time student houses have been the victim of a flasher: in 2006, the girls on Jan van Goyenkade and Schelpenkade were troubled by someone who liked to beat the meat through the letter box and ejaculate on the mat or on the windows. Since last summer, there’s been a new voyeur in Leiden-Zuid and by now, many student houses know about him.

“One of my housemates was cleaning her room one evening with the curtains open. Suddenly she noticed a man tossing off under a lamp post”, recalls Floor Spieker (24, Law), who lives on an all-female house on Schelpenkade.

Her housemate ran off and warned the other residents but initially nobody did anything about it. Spieker adds: “We’d heard that it had happened before, and that the man only looked but didn’t touch.”

But matters were more serious in the El Cid week, when a number of new girls stayed at the house. They were sleeping with the window open and the voyeur – assuming it was the same person – saw an opportunity to put his arm through the window and grope one of the girls.

“The girl fell asleep again because she didn’t really register what had occurred. However, she related the whole story in the morning and I immediately called the police.”

Spieker feels that the police responded very well: they arrived on the scene straight away, took photographs and even searched for fingerprints. “The community police officer visited all the houses with female residents and arranged more patrols in the area. We even had plain-clothes policemen standing guard outside the house for four nights.” Kleinhout continues: “When we watched the house, we noticed that the girls often forgot to switch off the lights or close the windows. It’s something they should be aware of.”

Although the voyeur has been seen frequently, incidents are not always reported and consequently the police do not have a clear description of him. “The girls often giggle about it, but forget to let us know, and that means there’s very little we can do”, maintains Kleinhout. “We haven’t had a clear look at him – one girls says he has a very large penis and another claims he has lots of curls”, explains Spieker.

A student who lives at Rapenburg 52, where the residents are also familiar with the sight of the peeping Tom, concurs. “Actually, we’re secretly amused by his visits, but we always tell the other members of our fraternity about them: another visit from the monster cock!”

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