What The TSA Screenings Mean For Sexual Assault Survivors


Among the constituencies pissed off about the TSA’s new security measures: Sexual assault survivors, for whom both the body scans and the patdowns can be triggering.

It’s obvious but still needs to be said, as one Reverend Angie Collins wrote on Yahoo! News:

A woman who has been sexually victimized through molestation and rape is more likely to have triggers, flashbacks, and panic attacks of the incident ensuing from words, images, and actions that remind her that her body is no longer sacred. For a rape victim, an enhanced pat down from a stranger in public may come with emotional consequences for her, altering a simple flight to an incident of victimization.

It’s probably not a coincidence that a spokeswoman for We Won’t Fly is herself a rape survivor. She told Newsweek that she was told by a rape survivor that a leg patdown at the airport gave her a panic attack.

Of course, you can lower your chances for a patdown if you opt for the body scanner. But that’s also problematic, as one advocate pointed out in the same piece: “We’ve had a number of survivors who have had their pictures taken and put online [by the perpetrators]… so for them, even though [the TSA photo is] deleted, even if the person is in the other room, the idea that the photo’s being taken can be difficult to handle.”

Shakesville’s Melissa McEwan, also a survivor, has vowed not to fly. And blogger Lucinda Marshall pointed out that breast or testicular cancer survivors probably aren’t going to be overjoyed either.

Ironically, the most visible spokesman of this whole outcry is the guy who yelled “Don’t touch my junk.” As Amanda Hess noted dryly, “GROPING! It happens to straight dudes too, now, so everybody pay attention.”

Opinion: New TSA Pat Down Policy Leaves Little Room for Dignity [Yahoo]
TSA Screenings Worry Sexual Assault Survivors [Newsweek]
Earlier: Will TSA Ever Max Out On The Touchy-Feely Security Measures?
The Anti-Groping Lobby’s Pantsless Plot

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