A registered sex offender was caught committing indecent exposure on a popular bike/walk trail in my city last month. I've been "flashed" perhaps once in my 25 years of fitness walking. In that case, I didn't look at him to give him any reaction and continued on a determined pace with my walking buddies. I've long wondered what the correct reaction would be for safety. The local incident prompted me to consult experts from across the country, including a forensic psychologist, a psychiatric social worker, and self defense experts. How to React to a Flasher
The good news is that I probably played it right - the flasher wasn't being aggressive, so not giving him the reaction he sought, and quickly getting out of the vicinity, is a good reaction. But it would have been even better if I had taken a photo of him and called in a police report. Because I was studiously not looking to see if he was truly flashing, I didn't do that. Next time, I will be more responsible. While most flashers are not immediately dangerous, some do progress to accosting, groping, and even rape. Calling the police with a good description and photo when possible is the right thing to do to protect others.