The Pacifica Police Department has identified and met with the woman who was unknowingly filmed hiking to the top of Montara Mountain by a masked videographer, who was questioned by police on Tuesday about his intentions.
The videographer explains in a another video posted on LiveLeak that the video of the woman was meant to be funny and that it was a joke despite dozens of reports to the police from concerned community members who had seen the 59-second video on Liveleak.com. (Some LiveLeakers are adamantly coming to the videographer's defense.)
The woman in the video spoke with police Thursday for a report and welfare check, according to Chris Clements, Detective Sergeant of the Pacifica Police Investigative Services Division, who confirmed her identity with Patch.
The woman contacted Patch in an email Wednesday night, wanting to share her side of the story with the Coastside community. She’s requested to do this anonymously because she does not want the videographer or anyone affiliated with him to “know my name, or where I live,” she said.
Here’s “I am the woman in that video” in her own words:
Since moving to the coast less than six weeks ago, climbing to the top of Montara Mountain has become my weekly pilgrimage. Once I am at the top, I have a mountainous perspective, and it makes my everyday predicaments and challenges of going through a cancer biopsy, settling into a new home, and finalizing my divorce look small and manageable.
Unfortunately, I now feel as though my path up Montara Mountain has been jeopardized ever since I came across a creepy online video titled “I made a "Friend" on the Mountain...Wait for it...” The video depicts a lone woman seemingly unaware that she is being filmed hiking to the top of Montara Mountain. The camera turns back on the videographer, a black-masked male flashing a sinister grin and menacing eyes. Alas, I was shocked to see that the woman he was filming was me.
I am the woman in that video. I do remember seeing him that day. He wasn’t wearing the mask at the time when I saw him. He was too far for me to see what he was doing exactly but I could see he was doing something and it made me nervous. My instincts told me to not go near him, and so I continued to go to the very top past him.
Up until now, the video on LiveLeak has been watched over 172,500 times. I was not an actress nor was I paid to play a role in this man's pathetic attempt at art. While he was filming this twisted gag, I was unknowingly being filmed. While walking by him, I saw him half hiding in a cave with his bicycle, but I continued to walk past him while listening to music on my ipod. I was innocent. It was a sunny day and in that moment I was thrilled to be alive, I was contemplating life, like countless others whom have walked this trail before me.
As for the individual who filmed me, I feel sorry for him. I have compassion for his state of mind and his well-being, and I wish him no harm, just peace. I hope he musters the strength to apologize for the fear he instilled in me and others in this community and beyond, even if his video was just a joke.
I can appreciate that we all have different tastes in humor, but his video is not funny for the reason that it scared me as well as others whom watched it. Not because we're weak, stupid, or have a poor sense of humor. But because society as a whole, and media especially, chooses to unconsciously exploit women and turn us into victims. The black mask he wears in the video is insulting to our safety. It is a symbol of exploitation; the predator is masked, unbeknownst, hidden from his victim.
I think this unfortunate situation I’ve found myself in should give everyone a moment to stop and think about how normalized violence towards women has become in our modern society. Whether this was a prank or not, is really irrelevant. Just because a person can film something and post something like this doesn’t mean they should.
When filming, he has the opportunity to consciously choose to elevate awareness verses instill fear in others. Attention aroused by fear is only a hindrance to all beings. If he respects me, and all women, he will take the video off of his LiveLeak account. Or at the very least apologize. It depicts me as a victim, in which I AM NOT. By filming me without my consent, he took away my voice and opinion.
Fortunately, I was not physically harmed that day. I am grateful to be alive, to be able to continue to climb the mountains in my life.
I would like to thank the people who paused and inquired about my safety after watching the video. I am in awe that the community I live in called the police and questioned whether or not I was safe.
I would also like to thank the Bay Area Law Enforcement, highlighting the Pacifica Police Department. They did their jobs quickly and effectively, yet with a soft approach. They were present and compassionate when listening to my side of the story.
People stood up for me, they pooled together for someone they didn't know, to find out and question the man who filmed and posted this video. This gives me hope.