Saturday night, around 11:40pm, a 25-year-old transgender woman was inside a single-occupancy unisex bathroom at the Stonewall Inn on Christopher Street in New York's Greenwich Village when a man entered the bathroom claiming he only needed to wash his hands. The man then groped and raped the woman.
The man fled the scene. The woman also left the scene, before returning an hour later and calling 911. She was taken to Lennox Hill Hospital for treatment.
Police are looking for a man in his 30s. He is described as a Hispanic male, 5'10" weighing about 250 pounds.
They seem like unlikely leaders in the dozen-plus states where proposed legislation would effectively keep transgender people out of public restrooms, but there they are: sexual assault survivors.
Each survivor shows long-term signs of trauma. ...
Even more tragically, decades after they were first harmed, these survivors are again being exploited. Those who are promoting their stories, including the Heritage Foundation, are claiming they want to "protect" them. Actually, however, like these women's original abusers, these "helpers" are acting only in their own interests. In this case, their interest is ensuring transgender people are not guaranteed rights to privacy and safety.
More importantly, perhaps, is the list of what the Heritage Foundation and other politicians who are using sexual assault survivors are NOT doing:
- They are not leading the effort to support the growth and funding of programs working on the prevention of sexual assault, such as the Violence Against Women Act. The Heritage Foundation in fact opposed the 2013 reauthorization of the Violence Against Women Act).
- They are not acknowledging that both men and women can be survivors, and that both men and women can be perpetrators. Instead, they are picking out just the one type of sexual assault that meets their needs and enforcing silence about all the others. How would they protect boys who shower or toilet with men? Is anyone talking about the needs of women and men whose female relative or babysitter molested them?
- They are not visibly demanding follow-up of the hundreds of thousands of untested rape kits that are gathering dust in evidence rooms nationwide.
- They are not conducting public education campaigns to tell people the facts of who abusers are and how they behave, so that people can start identifying and addressing actual dangerous situations.
- They are not proposing legislation to change statutes of limitations so that adults can prosecute the people who molested them as children, or backing other reforms that might change the fact that 98 percent of rapists never serve a day in jail.
- They are not funding or advertising quality trauma-treatment programs that can help survivors re-integrate into the world without carrying a debilitating fear of half of its inhabitants.
As a society, we have already chosen: rather than using public policy to "protect" one group from another that they fear is dangerous, we have affirmed civil rights and worked instead to change stereotypes. White people who fear Blacks no longer have a right to a whites-only bathroom or water foundation. An employer can no longer fire a pregnant single mother because one of her co-workers finds her "immoral." A restaurant owner can no longer refuse to serve a Muslim patron because some other diner believes all Muslims are terrorists. It is time we now protect transgender people from those who mistakenly fear they are -- or can be used by -- child molesters and rapists.