TSA Groping and Body Scan Sex Assaults Must Stop Now!
Friday, 19 November 2010 19:00 Vicki Polin
VICKI POLIN: I believe everyone needs to refuse pat downs at airports and find other ways of traveling until our government stops allowing our citizens to be sexually assaulted by TSA workers. This week, several men and women contacted my office, describing situations that would be legally defined as sexual assault. The perpetrators of these assaults were agents of the United States government.
The victims of these sex crimes were traveling for work and for pleasure. Some described symptoms of of rape trauma syndrome.
Over the last few years, most of us have been sitting back, watching our civil rights disappear as part of homeland security’s efforts to combat terrorism.
But this week, on the brink of the busy holiday travel season, our government went too far: It is now urging TSA professionals to take pornographic pictures and to commit sexual assaults against our friends and neighbors.
What they don’t realize is that one of every four individuals who travel in airports are survivors of childhood sexual abuse. Some were raped as adults. Does our government not care that their actions are traumatizing those people?
According to every state in our country — and also under federal law — it is illegal for an individual to grab, grope or touch our bodies without the explicit permission from the person being touched.
It is also a sexual assault if the individual being touched grants permission under duress.
These are crimes that often mandate a prison sentence — yet, over the last few days, our government is promoting the sexual assault of its citizens, all in the guise of homeland security, by mandating “enhanced” pat-downs.
If we are not allowed to walk down the streets naked, why is it OK for our government to have strangers frisk us or see through our clothing? What ever happened to our right to privacy?
The next thing you know, they‘ll demand that recording devices (both audio and visual) be placed in our homes, as they did in the former Soviet Union.
How long will we, the citizens of what is supposed to be a “free” country, keep allowing our government to take away our civil rights?
After living in Israel, and seeing firsthand the media hype of terrorism there, the truth is that you are more likely to be hit by a car than by a terrorist.
My body and my personhood are private, and as a citizen of the United States, I should have the right to choose who touches my body and or sees my naked. I’d rather have our government utilize racial profiling prior to flying than allowing TSA personnel to undress and fondle me.
And what about those with children? Do you send your youngster through the radiation of a full body scan just to keep someone’s hands off him or her?
Of those who have been sexually assaulted by the TSA, I wonder: How many are eligible for the Crime Victims Compensation Act, to cover the cost of therapy due the fact they were victims of a sex crime? Funding for the Crime Victims Compensation Act’s comes — you guessed it: the federal government.
A friend in law enforcement recently told me authorities actually discussed an exemption for Muslim women. In fact, many of us who have traveled to the Middle East will joke that when terrorists take vacations with their families, they fly on El Al – the Israeli airline.
That’s because of El Al’s reputation of being able to protect its customers from terrorism. And they don’t need naked body scanners to do it.
The folks at Homeland Security would do well to take some lessons there.
(EDITOR’S NOTE: Several passengers are organizing a “National Opt-Out Day” on Nov. 24, one of the busiest travel days of the year. An online petition also is being circulated, to be sent to President Obama, Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano and all members of Congress.)
Vicki Polin, MA, LCPC is the founder and director of The Awareness Center, which is the international Jewish Coalition Against Sexual Assault. She is a Licensed Clinical Professional Counselor with over 25 years of experience working in the sexual trauma field.