A man accused of sexually assaulting an Asian woman who was waiting for a morning commuter train in San Jose will be arraigned today on felony hate crime charges.
According to the Santa Clara County District Attorney’s Office, the incident took place around 7am Wednesday in a Diridon Station pedestrian tunnel, where 32-year-old San Francisco resident Johan Strydom came up from behind the 26-year-old victim, grabbed her neck and pulled her to the ground.
Authorities say he grabbed her hair and began tossing her side to side while repeating “f*ck you, Asians” and other slurs as the woman screamed.
Prosecutors say the attack lasted about a minute, until the woman’s boyfriend and other witnesses rushed to her aid and trailed Strydom so he wouldn’t get away.
Strydom kept repeating ethnic slurs as he made his way to a nearby bus stop, authorities say. “You guys gonna come and save that ho?” he allegedly asked.
San Jose police arrested Strydom minutes later by the SAP Center, which lies across the street from the transit station.
Strydom stands accused of assault with intent to rape and assault with force likely to cause great bodily injury. Because of his alleged comment during the attack, the DA added hate crime enhancements to the charges.
If convicted, he faces “a significant prison sentence,” according to an announcement sent to reporters this morning from the DA’s office.
Strydom’s arraignment is set for 1:30pm today in Department 24 of the Santa Clara County Superior Court Hall of Justice. DA Jeff Rosen plans to attend the hearing and speak to reporters afterwards.
“This is every woman’s nightmare, and this is our community’s nightmare,” Rosen said in a prepared statement. “This is also a tale of heroism. Our community came to this woman’s aid and stopped the attack. Hate crimes are not someone else’s problem. They are mine. They are yours. It will take all of us to confront them.”
According to news reporter, anti-Asian hate crimes have been on the rise during the pandemic, prompting condemnation on Thursday from President Joe Biden. During his first primetime address since being inaugurated, he denounced the “vicious hate crimes against Asian Americans who’ve been attacked, harassed, blamed and scapegoated.”
Meanwhile, here in the South Bay, Assemblyman Evan Low (D-Campbell) plans to lead a rally this weekend to call for an end to the xenophobic attacks. The event is scheduled to start at 11am Saturday at San Jose City Hall.
Join our Stop AAPI Hate Rally this Saturday March 13th, 11am at San Jose City Hall! Or even better, start your own rally! Much love to the young volunteers with energy making signs for the first time. #StopAsianHate pic.twitter.com/Y9eJdG0dLn
— Evan Low (@Evan_Low) March 12, 2021