As we enter into week 7 of the “bathroom bill” debate in North Carolina, the mainstream media continues to sympathetically amplify the voices of those who stand opposed to the common-sense provisions in HB2.
At the same time, they only give scant attention to the voices of women all across the country who are survivors of sexual assault and who believe public facilities like bathrooms, lockers, and showers should not be opened up to members of the opposite sex.
This week, however, these survivors roared back into the debate by way of a powerful video released by the legal group Alliance Defending Freedom. In the video, victims of sexual assault, concerned parents, and even a transgender woman tell their compelling personal stories of why they oppose efforts to allow men into women's facilities and vice-versa.
Gretchen Flores, repeatedly sexually abused in a locker room by her swim coach at 10 years-old while taking swimming lessons:
“Back then, men were not allowed in women's locker rooms. The only reason he had access was that he was the swim coach.”
Kaeley Triller, exploited sexually in showers while she was an infant up until age 10:
"From a young age, from the time I was in diapers, I was being sexually exploited. I had never had a showering experience that was safe. I was an athlete all through college, and so locker rooms are settings you're going to have to go into a couple times a day. I showered in my underwear all the way through college, which is sad.
The presence of a male of any variety, whether he's someone who identifies as trans or not, whether he has deviant motives or not, that's irrelevant to the reality that for survivors of sexual trauma to just turn around and be exposed to that is an instant trigger."
Janine Simon, exposed to pornography at age 8, and repeatedly raped starting at age 9 and continuing through age 10:
“It was another victim who spoke up at school and said something was going on that it came to light. I've only been telling my personal story publicly for a few months. I don't enjoy it. This is not something I want to do. I do it a little under protest but I do it because I know there are so many kids out there already being abused. There's so many kids out there that pedophiles are just looking for a chance. It is an addiction like no other. And we've [Washington state] have just created a law that makes it easier for them to access their victims. I have no doubt that the person who abused me would have been more than willing to use that as access as well. No doubt.”
Autumn Bennett, a concerned mother and outspoken critic of transgender access laws:
“My biggest issue is that the [Washington] law was so ambiguous that anybody can go in there [bathrooms, lockers]. My brother can walk in a women's room, the business can't ask him to leave if he just claims to identify as a woman or doesn't bother saying anything at all.”
This was the issue those opposed to the original Charlotte, North Carolina ordinance had as well because it didn't just allow transgender women access to women's facilities, it outright allowed men who didn't identify as transgender the same access.
Unidentified parent of kids in a school district that now has a “gender-neutral” bathroom policy. She has 6 children, 5 of who were adopted and victims of sexual abuse:
"My kids don't want to use the bathrooms anymore. That is huge for a child that's been sexually abused. [...]
My one daughter has a lot of accidents. That's embarrassing to her obviously at her age. One reason that she has many accidents during the school day is because going to the bathroom, even with girls, that's huge for her to be able to pull down her pants because that's how she was abused. And if she doesn't feel safe, she's not going to use the bathroom."
Jacqueline Andrews, transgender woman and parent:
“It's a law that allows for any man to be able to say he's a woman and access women's spaces. I personally think there should be a separate space for trans or anyone where they can access [bathrooms, lockers] and at the same time it protects trans' safety and it also protects the safety of anyone and their privacy, especially women and children. At a time where so many sexual assaults go unreported, we're telling them that their boundaries don't matter, when they say no, people won't listen.”
Make sure to watch the video from start to finish. It gives a more full, balanced picture of this debate, one in which the local and national media's focus seems to primarily be on the side of proponents of gender-neutral facilities, as if there are no legitimate voices on the other side of this issue, as if there's no such thing as compromise on the issue - as this tweet from a left wing public policy group in North Carolina demonstrates:
For those opposed to gender-neutral facilities, there is a compromise: Create or make available unisex facilities in addition to the traditional gender-specific facilities we're accustomed to, so that everyone can feel safe and welcome. But that's not enough for the activist left, the primary drivers of the transgender access debate.
As we've seen in the Gavin Grimm case in Virginia, unisex restroom facilities were not enough. Full access was and is the only acceptable solution for Grimm and those representing Grimm. In the case of one Illinois transgender student who identifies as a female, use of the women's restroom yet having to change in the girls locker room behind a privacy curtain was not enough. It's unrestricted access, or nothing. And in that case, the student got it. But maybe not for long.
Who are the real extremists here? Sexual assault victims? Worried parents and female students who believe in middle ground approaches that would and should put to rest the safety and privacy concerns of all sides? Or is it the all or nothing scorched-earth approach as promoted by the activist left social justice warrior crowd, who once championed safe spaces for women, trigger warnings, and the moral authority of survivors of sexual assault but who now absurdly believe as Attorney General Loretta Lynch does that HB2-style laws are the equivalent of the horrors black Americans experienced under Jim Crow laws?
Ultimately, this is something our courts will have to decide because simple common sense has not prevailed. Stay tuned.