Facebook episode highlights real issue

"These girls were uncomfortable for a very real reason and they do not have to justify their actions at all."

I am writing about the recent public smearing of an individual who was “trying to enjoy a cup of coffee” at McDonalds. I am particularly annoyed with the police in their handling of the situation because we, as a society, are bombarded daily by reports of women seeking help for victimization issues, and they are routinely disregarded by police.

However, in this current situation, not only did the police take the time to deal with the complaint, but they engaged the media to help protect the man’s interests.

So countless women are left unassisted with no respite sometimes for years, but this man, inconvenienced for less than a week, has received high levels of police assistance.

Some things to note: 1 in 3 girls, ages 2 to 18 are sexually harassed/assaulted/abused (reported cases only); adding in unreported cases, the number is higher still, and for years… no decades… no centuries, females who try to defend themselves through “socially acceptable” means have been shamed, blamed, discredited, ignored, etc.

There even used to be a medical condition called “female hysteria” often invoked in such cases to have women committed so they could not defend themselves. And let’s not forget the Salem Witch Trials, also exploited to silence thousands, if not millions, of women.

Now, there is finally a way for women to speak out “unassisted” and maybe it is not a gentle tool, but it is up to men to present in society as absolutely above reproach lest they get caught in the same web that has ensnared women for centuries. It worked in Egypt to end a violent dictatorship, so why not use it to end violence against women.

These girls were uncomfortable for a very real reason and they do not have to justify their actions at all.

There should not have been any feedback from police whatsoever to help this man in the same way that women get no help from police to deal with harassment. I imagine those girls go to McDonald’s and other places often, but I doubt they take pictures of men and post them every time and every place they go. Something was different about this incident.

Of course, I don’t know what happened as I was not there, but we as a society should not be naive about the pervasiveness of this problem.

Perhaps this man was victimized, perhaps not, but if he truly is innocent, then he should feel good that he helped to empower two young women who felt unsafe and perhaps he has unwittingly helped to prevent a future assault from happening to a young girl somewhere. Perhaps this situation will make other “real” pedophiles/abusers think twice.

This type of exploitation will never cease to exist until the veil of secrecy is torn off.

At the very least, the level of service provided by police should be equal for both genders. In fact, it should be heavily weighted to the needs of females since females are victimized far more often than men. And for those who would say I’d feel differently if it happened to me, I want to point out that a few years ago, I, too, was unjustly slandered via social media and I have not died from it.

Jill PrinceFruitvale

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