Let me start by saying I’m Canadian; we don’t have Target Stores in Canada, but we do have public bathrooms. So my need to weigh in on the transgender bathroom issue scales as heavy as any Americans. We also have similar statistics to the U.S. regarding child molestation and rape. An issue I believe is of much more importance than where a HUMAN BEING uses the bathroom.
Some of you may wonder why to weigh in at all; this doesn’t affect you. The truth is, this affects everyone, it’s a Human Right’s Issue. Moreover, an injustice to victims of sexual assault who are being used as a fear tactic to discriminate.
It hits home for me, rips at my heart and causes me sadness; the ignorance spewed behind the reasons the AFA stands while targeting and segregating the transgender community, aren’t MY reasons at all. And I am a victim.
“Target’s policy is exactly how sexual predators get access to their victims.” – AFA President Tim Wildmon
I’m sorry Sir, I mean you no disrespect, none at all. But Tim Wildmon, you have no idea what you are talking about, not in the slightest.
Most sexually assaulted children and women know their assailant. More than not, sexual predators stalk their prey, quietly observing them for some time in order not to scare them away, trying to gain trust. A Target bathroom is not the ideal place to find a victim. I am not saying it couldn’t happen, but nothing changes because a transgender person now may use the bathroom of their liking.
“Very few cases (2%) of substantiated sexual abuse involve a stranger.
Source: Canadian Incidence Study (CIS) of Reported Child Abuse and Neglect – 2003: Major Findings Minister of Public Works and Government Services Canada. 2005. (pg.52)”
I was molested as a child, in fact, also raped as a teenager. Two isolated incidents yet both of which I was stalked, selected, and profiled. Access was not gained via an open bathroom policy.
Once you have been the victim of a sexual assault your mind changes, you no longer view the world in naiveté. Unfortunately, I was molested by someone I knew at a very young age (3), and over the time span of a few years. Not giving me much of a chance to see the world through innocent eyes, without trepidation. As long as I can remember, I have been on the lookout for sexual predators. It becomes innate once you have felt an unwanted hand on your body. And even with the intelligent eyes of a victim to back me, I then became another predator’s prey at thirteen years old.
I wish I could speak as a woman who has never been raped, more than anything I envy the ability to say, I worry to walk alone, for the mere fact that I am a woman. I don’t have that luxury; I don’t know what it’s like to have fear without rape being a part of who I am. I don’t know what it’s like to simply fear an empty bathroom stall without being reminded that a boy once raped me in his bedroom, or a man molested me as a young child. As the woman who has carried the anxiety of predators with me since I was a girl, I must say, I have no more panic now than I did before Target opened their bathroom stalls to everyone.
As a victim, I have lived in a constant state of nervousness, I am more aware of my surroundings, and view men with constant mistrust. I note body language and wondering eyes. I choose well-lit parking lots and stand guarded when walking alone, most women do. I have NEVER feared a well-lit, busy, public bathroom. EVER.
As a Mother, one of my concerns is my children being ripped from my grasp, the only reason I have ever worried about them while using a public bathroom. But the same fear I have when they are at the park, or sadly, playing across the street. Not once have I worried my children would become the victims of sexual assault while using a public bathroom, nor been concerned for my safety. It doesn’t work that way, sexual assault RARELY happens in the middle of a mall or anywhere public. Again, please understand I am not saying it cannot, it’s just not the norm. And it won’t happen more now because Target supports the federal Equality Act.
I’m pissed off at the AFA, my reasoning, I have fears daily, memories, flashbacks, nightmares, and worry my children NEVER have to feel the way I have my entire life. Please listen when I say, as a victim, someone with a guarded sense of being, the fact a transgender person will have the ability to use a bathroom stall next to my daughter, or I, causes me no more terror than I had before. Don’t let the AFA scare you into believing they are standing up for the rights of Victims of Sexual Assault. If anything, all they are doing is using the public’s fear of predators, and our stories (the victims) as propaganda for their own discriminatory agendas.