The Bathroom Debate

While I’m sympathetic to the confusion and discrimination experienced by the transgender community, I’m not convinced that the current bathroom solution is a good one. I think this policy will have a disproportionately negative effect on women and children. Here are my biggest concerns:

Women are already at high risk for sexual assault.

Read the stats. 1 in 4 girls will be sexually abused before they turn 18. 1 in 5 women will be sexually assaulted. When statistics for sexual assault and abuse are so high, why would we choose to increase men’s access to women’s bodies?

Bathrooms are vulnerable places that sexual predators often target. I’ve seen this happen firsthand. I’m a student at Wheaton College, a small Christian college in northern Illinois. Just last year, a male student on my campus was caught filming girls in their bathrooms. The scariest part of the story is this: I knew the guy. I didn’t think that anyone I knew would ever do something like Alex did. But I was wrong.

There’s not much I can do to stop a man from secretly filming me in my bathroom, but I will absolutely refuse to let him walk into my locker room and watch me shower. President Obama’s new standard invites him to do just that. He only has to claim that he feels female. Suddenly, he’s the victim and I’m the bigot when I refuse to shower next to him.

That’s not ok. Women and girls like me should not be expected to share their locker rooms and showers with sexually confused young boys and sexually deviant men.

Opening women’s bathrooms exposes victims to triggers.

Over 80% of female rape victims report short-term or long-term impacts such as PTSD. A transgender person without any deviant motives can still trigger a PTSD response from a victim of sexual trauma. These women victims represent a significant percentage of our population and they should not be required to tolerate a male presence in their locker rooms and bathrooms.

I don’t like this argument.

I don’t want live my life wondering if I’m safe with the men around me.

I wish I lived in a world where I didn’t have to check my shower for cameras.

I want to believe that no one would misuse our nation’s new policies.

I don’t want to live my life controlled by fear. But I also don’t want to spend the rest of my life dealing with the lasting impact of sexual trauma. So I have to be careful. Statistics indicate that one of the girls in my family will be assaulted. That’s not ok. I will not support a policy that increases this risk.

I hope that our nation will consider the rights and concerns of women as carefully as we consider the rights of the transgender community. We need a better solution—a solution that respects everyone—a solution that doesn’t compromise the safety and dignity of women.

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