NEW YORK (CBS 2) — You could easily say Nicola Briggs is the toast of the town this week.
The tiny New Yorker became a folk hero overnight when a cell phone video surfaced showing her tirade against a subway flasher.
On Wednesday night she’s revealed her name and face in an exclusive interview with CBS 2’s Pablo Guzman.
It’s the video that hundreds of thousands of people have seen on the Internet: a woman standing up — in fact, calling out — the man who started to rub up against her and exposed himself on the subway. Until Wednesday night CBS 2 had obscured her face. No more.
CBS 2 showed her face because she told us we could do so. Briggs explained to Guzman why she did what she did.
“It’s about getting over the embarrassment of that circumstance; and bringing the shame, taking away the shame, from you, as a woman being violated — and bringing the shame back on the perpetrator,” Briggs said.
“The perpetrator” — in this case – is accused 51-year-old Mario Valdivia. Because Briggs stood up, he was arrested. Turns out he did this to a woman on a train in 2007; and now he’s alleged to have done something similar again.
Guzman: “About a month after this happens with you, he’s made bail. He’s back out on the street. And he does it again.”
Briggs: “He violated yet another young woman and I couldn’t … I was flabbergasted.”
You have to understand what it is Valdivia is accused of doing on the subway. Police said he put a condom on, got on a crowded train, rubbed up against women and then exposed himself.
“I grabbed his messenger bag and I pulled it away from him. I guess just to verify what I was seeing was in actuality there. And there it was again,” Briggs said.
Guzman: “He was outside of his pants?”
“Oh he was. Yeah. And he was wearing a condom. It’s just …,” Briggs said before stopping in disgust.
The suspect tried to get away. He also didn’t know she teaches the martial art of Tai-Chi.
“I put my purse across my body, to free up my hands. And I put my hands up,” Briggs said. “If he had tried to get away from me I would have had to do something. And I was ready and willing to do that,” Briggs said.
She stood up for herself and all women. And Valdivia is now not only in jail, he will be deported, back to Mexico.
Briggs also wants people to know that when she turned for help a lot of men on that train kept the suspect there until police arrived.