Home > Adversity, assault, Education, Sexual Assault and Rape > New TSA Screenings Represent a Threat For Survivors of Sexual Assault

New TSA Screenings Represent a Threat For Survivors of Sexual Assault

November 23, 2010

FlyWithDignity.org

For survivors of sexual assault, new TSA screenings represent a threat.  The new pat-downs and body scans can trigger “flash backs” of an assault and traumatize males, females and children recovering from a previous assault/attack.  The new TSA policies and procedures do not even give consideration to the millions of victims and survivors who travel.  This outrages me beyond words which I am sure you have gathered by now.

There is no evidence that those in charge of these decisions even gave a thought to victimization and the effect that these procedures will have or had.  Again, I understand and respect the absolute need for safety but the catch 22 is that there is no guarantee that if an individual agrees to the scan that they will not end up being patted down anyway and groped.  Hence, you are damned if you do and you are damned if you don’t.

For women and men who have already been sexually assaulted, the new screening rules—or just the threat of these rules—present a very real danger. They can be triggering events, setting off a post traumatic-stress reaction. “I started crying. It was so intimate, so horrible. I feel like I was being raped,” an anonymous rape survivor has reported.  Another rape survivor had a panic attack as an agent began touching her leg.

“After a sexual assault, it seems that many survivors have difficulty having their bodies touched by other people,” says Shannon Lambert, founder of the Pandora Project, a nonprofit organization that provides support and information to survivors of rape and sexual abuse. This fear of contact even extends to partners and, often, medical professionals. “A lot of survivors do not want to be in positions where they’re vulnerable. They put up defenses so that they can be in control of their body. In cases like this, it seems like some of that control is going away.”

If that sense of control is violated, it can lead to more than hurt feelings. There’s a physical reaction associated with a triggering incident, and the response can vary from person to person. “It could lead to a person shutting down and becoming noncommunicative, it could result in a person becoming emotionally upset, it could trigger flashbacks, not just the thoughts and feelings they experienced, but perhaps other sensory experiences,” says Jennifer Marsh, director of the National Sexual Assault Hotline for the Rape Abuse & Incest National Network(RAINN).

TSA employees are clearly not trained properly as to how to perform a pat-down WITHOUT humiliating a traveler.  The experiences that are coming forth are heart-breaking and someone needs to get a grip on the TSA workers – the pat-downs are NO JOKE!  We are seeing over and over that TSA employees have no compassion what-so-ever as being demonstrated on a daily basis.

Passengers who decline the scan are subject to a pat-down to achieve that same goal. Again, even if you agree to go through the scan there is no guarantee that you will not be required to have to have a pat-down either.  It’s a pat-down that many travelers say may be more thorough, but is also more invasive and humiliating than previous security frisks. “It was a horrifying experience. I was touched in my private parts, in my genital area, without consent and without warning,” says Erin Chase, an Ohio woman who flies several times a month. (TSA says that all airline officials should tell passengers what’s going to happen prior to a pat-down.)

I will leave you with this thought: “It is acceptable and encouraged that a TSA government official can do something to an American citizen that US military personnel cannot do to a member of the Taliban.”

Things that make you raise an eyebrow, eh?  Hmmmmmm………

Take care and STAY SAFE!

Advertisements
  1. December 1, 2010 at 5:36 PM

    I’ll let you all know how it is for me when I fly this holiday to my son in Virginia. I don’t want to react to much because I know that there needs to be security, more so after the holiday bomb they stopped last holiday here, yet I wonder how I’ll feel. I’ll let you all know.

  1. No trackbacks yet.
Comments are closed.
%d bloggers like this: