For all those Target protesters today, where was the outrage when we actually needed it to save our women and children from worse fates?
I hear you.
I get it, I’m angry too.
I’m not talking to the people who are angry at Target because their pro-transgender bathroom policy flies in the face of their cherry picked moral compass.
I’m talking to you—the people who have no issue with sharing a bathroom with LGBT people. I’m talking to those of you who are speaking out about this bathroom policy, expressing concern over the women and children who you fear will be in danger because of this policy.
You’re reasonable people. You aren’t expressing hate or bigotry. You just worry. You worry about your kids, your wives, your sisters. I worry too.
I probably worry too much. I have always accompanied my younger kids to the bathroom in public places. When my son was too old to go into the women’s room, I would stand right outside the men’s room door. If he was taking a while I would yell into the door, asking if he was ok. So, yes, I’m that mom.
But I’m not boycotting Target and I’m no more worried about my kids’ safety than I was before.
Even though I’m a worrier, I read and I research. Facts help to calm my fears. Facts that show that in states with pro-Transgender bathroom policies, there has been no increase in assaults. Research that leads me to find an article by a Sexual Assault Victim’s Advocacy Group that is stating very clearly that pro-trans bathroom policies do not increase the danger of sexual assault for anyone. In fact, they minimize it for LGBT people.
What I see is a lot of fear-mongering going around. Stories of men sneaking into the ladies room, emboldened by these laws. Stories that have proven to be false. And some that are orchestrated to incite more fear.
So, I’m going to try to say the rest of this gently because, to be honest, it’s all got me worked up and more than a little angry. It’s got a question bouncing around my head for the last few days, one that makes me angrier every time I think it:
Where have you been?
You say you are concerned for women and children, that the thought of sexual assault in a Target bathroom is so concerning that you may boycott, that you are forgoing your usual pleasant FaceBook anecdotes and memes to shout about the new policy.
Where the hell have you been?
You, the protectors of women and children. Where have you been when we’ve been writing and talking about rape? When some of us have been shouting about these things for years, begging for people to listen, to care, to see the pain and destruction of these things that plague our society.
We’ve been the ones to make you feel uncomfortable because we are invading your mindless FaceBooking and Tweeting with rants about injustice and startling statistics of rape that should have any sane person’s hair standing on end?
Where were your angry voices when a Presidential candidate suggested that women who don’t want to be raped shouldn’t go to parties?
When actual real life Congressmen claimed that rape victims can’t get pregnant because their body “will shut that down.”
When a court rules that oral sex is not rape if the victim is unconscious from drinking?
When a state legislator in Tennessee is ordered by the TN Attorney General to stay away from women at work because he is a danger to them?
Where were your petitions? Where was your concern? WHY AREN’T YOU SHOUTING ABOUT THESE THINGS???
Where were you when yet another woman was killed by her abusive husband? When a mother was beaten repeatedly. When the “system” that is supposed to protect her allows her violent husband to keep his gun, which he then uses to kill her and her children? Where has your concern been for the 3 women murdered every day by their intimate partner?
Where were you when your favorite college or professional sports hero was accused of rape? Or caught on video beating his wife? Are you still a fan of some of these guys? Do you still cheer them on? Where was the moral outrage to a society that looks past it because he can throw a ball and win games?
Where were you when R.Kelly was allowed to perform, put out another album, collaborate with famous pop singers? Even though he was accused of raping minors and committing cruel acts and even videotaped himself doing these horrific and illegal things? Did you stand up and protest then? Did the account of a 15-year-old girl’s “disembodied stare” at the video camera as he assaulted her not make you angry?
Where was your angry voice when a rapist was sentenced to 45 days for raping a 14-year-old girl?
Where were you when girls were slut shamed after coming forward about their rape?
Where is your loud voice standing up for the homeless women and children? When the U.S. has the largest number of homeless women and children among industrialized nations? Is the Target bathroom more of a concern than a mother and her children sleeping in their cars? Or on the street? Or bouncing around homeless shelters?
Where was your self-righteous indignation when a child was killed at a park playing with a toy gun? When the police officer who shot him within seconds of arriving on the scene was let off without being charged?
Where were you when a child was shot because his radio was too loud?
Where were you when a child was killed after walking home from buying Skittles? When his murderer was acquitted and went on to make assault two different girlfriends and threaten them with his gun. That he’s still allowed to own.
Where were you when these children were killed?
Because I didn’t hear any of you then.
I didn’t hear a whole lot of yelling and hand wringing for these children who were mowed down by white male outrage and misguided fear.
When we speak or write or Tweet about everyday sexism and rape culture—that you damn well better believe gives rise to rape and assault—you shrugged. Or rolled your eyes. Or looked away. Or clicked “Unfollow.” Did we make you uncomfortable? All of our ranting and raving about the insidious nature of a society that views women (and hell, children too) as commodities, did it make you feel icky?
You see, I care about women and children (and boys and men) outside of the Target bathrooms. I care about them at home, at school, on the bus, at work, on the street. I care about them regardless of how they’re dressed, regardless of their economic class, no matter their sexual orientation. I care about them when they are being victimized and the world just looks on in apathy.
Those predators you’re so worried will sneak into the Target bathroom? They’re all around you.
They are your priest, your kid’s coach, your neighbor, your uncle, your youth group leader, your United States Speaker of the House.
They are a savvy bunch, these sick bastards. They flock to places where they can gain your trust. They go to great pains to appear normal and friendly. They don’t sport a beard and a dress and waltz into the bathroom to attack your women and children.
And I can’t help but question concern that only seem to flare up when it’s anti-something. When it’s an “alternative lifestyle.” I question the motivation. I wonder—where the hell have your morals been? Where was your moral outrage when kids were gunned down and college girls were sexually assaulted and women serving in the military were being raped, when women and children were murdered by angry husbands? When restraining orders were granted but in reality offered no protection. When women were threatened online with violence. With rape. With comments like “I know where you live and I will find you and kill you.” Comments that are generated because the woman had the audacity to speak up or write or actually just do her job.
Because I haven’t heard from you about these things. I haven’t heard of petitions or moral outrage from the masses on these things. I haven’t heard much from you at all.
Until now, your silence has been deafening.
So excuse me if I find your newfound activism a little disingenuous. Excuse me if I am rolling my eyes over the furor over using a public restroom. Excuse me if I’m a little worked up over the idea that the “problem” is a Target policy but not the fact that women and children have to be careful and on guard because of a culture that has encouraged male entitlement and subversive sexism and blatant sexualization.
The “problem” you’re screaming about is not the problem. The problem is your apathy all these years to the reality that you refuse to see or acknowledge. It’s a lot easier to believe in the Boogey Man in the Target bathroom than the real threat that is woven into the very fabric of your Made In the USA security blanket.
Excuse me if I’m a little put off by a flurry of chicken scratched signatures on a fear mongering petition.
Excuse me if I think your priorities seem a little slippery.
Because until now?
Your silence has been deafening.