Warm weather is upon us, which means more excuses to eat gelato, toss your close-toed shoes in the trash can, and belt out LFO’s “Summer Girls” at the top of your lungs. There are unfortunate downsides too, such as the widespread acceptance of flip-flops, swamp ass that cannot be tamed no matter how much talcum powder you use, and an increase in street harassment, including but not limited to “upskirting.”
For the blessedly uninitiated, upskirting is the mobile Peeping Tom’s favorite move, wherein a total creepwad manages to get a snapshot (or video if they’re an aspiring cinematographer) up an unsuspecting woman’s skirt. The dirtbags who commit these crimes have, for the most part, gotten away with it. It’s a crime that’s hard to notice, since many perpetrators keep cameras and phones concealed in pockets, newspapers and bags, making it easy to feign ignorance or take off if accused. And in cities like New York, where public transportation is essential, upskirt photographers thrive.
The Manhattan District Attorney has issued an official warning to female commuters that upskirting is on the rise with the arrival of spring. Luckily, the MDA also announced that authorities are finally upskirting seriously as crime, and encouraged victims to report perpetrators so they can be dealt with.
Unfortunately, this creepy and invasive epidemic is sadly still ignored and considered legal in much of America. Because nothing screams good old fashioned American values quite like forcing women to endure sexual harassment and humiliation, right?!
In the cases (and places) where upskirting is penalized, these instances of unlawful surveillance can be punished by up to four years in prison and registration as a sex offender. During a few days of deceitfully beautiful weather in March, New York officials successfully arrested five beleaguered upskirters. The hope is that with increased public awareness, as well as harsh and swift punishments, more will be arrested and less will be inspired to continue this covert but no less violating form of sexual harassment.
Here’s to hoping that these methods are successful in both punishment and prevention. The last thing women need is another creepy and traumatic experience that induces paranoia and the misplaced burden of prevention.
Original by Bronwyn Isaac @BronwynIsaac