Wednesday, April 27, 2016

I'm Not Giving Up the Dollar Spot

Oh great.  More Target commentary, you say.  I know, I'm over it too.  But regardless, I need to throw this all out there.

Its for a few main reasons.  First, I'm passionate about the safety of women and children.  Second, I care deeply that no one should feel in danger for their safety, regardless of their gender orientation.  And thirdly, because it feels that once again the church has aligned itself with a position that ostracizes it from hurting people under the auspice of caring about something Biblical.

I will not boycott Target.  Not because I just can't pull myself away from the dollar spot, adorable home decor, and cheap kids clothes.  I will even use the bathroom there should the need arise.

The whole thing is all so, so strange to me. Either people are boycotting Target for accommodating transgendered people, in which case, they need to boycott a lot more than Target.  Plenty of companies openly accommodate transgendered individuals.

Or, they are boycotting because they say this rule makes women and children less safe.  The thought process is that this rule will allow cisgendered men who want to prey on innocent women and children to freely walk into women's restrooms.  In reality, the policy's goal is to help protect transgendered people who are just as worthy of safety and significantly more at risk in bathrooms than cis people.  [Cis or cisgendered means you believe to be the gender you were assigned at birth based on your genetalia.]  

Regardless of your thoughts on the legitimacy or not of being transgendered or what you believe the Bible has to say about it, the very real reality of transgendered people is that they are a target.  They are significantly more likely to be assaulted, both physically and sexually, by those around them and transgendered youth are twice as likely to attempt to commit suicide.  This is a vulnerable population, and as such, should be warmly welcomed and protected by those of us claiming Jesus.  

Boycotting a transgendered person being able to use the the facilities that fit their gender identity is a pursuit to change the rules.  Not only does it potentially change laws or rules made to keep them safe, it surely makes them feel as though they are not safe around you personally, because you are actively working against their need for a safe place to pee.  And if you boycott under the banner of religion, it makes your religion the enemy of their pursuit of personal safety.  

It is completely legitimate to want a safe place to pee as a transgendered person.  Its ok for a company to, as the result of state's law to take away that safe place, put a policy in place that reinstates that safety.

Its ok too at this point to come back to the concerns about the safety of women and children though.  Because those are beyond legitimate concerns.  Women and children are not safe populations either.  Statistically, theres a 50/50 chance that I will have to walk one of my daughters through healing from a sexual assault by the time she graduates college.  Talk about statistics that make you want to act and change things.

It is precisely because of that reality though that I won't put my time or energy behind boycotting laws such as these. If I have the energy and time to put behind keeping women and children safe, I will put my effort toward changing legislation about sentencing of sex offenders, increasing education of children on their bodies and safety, and pushing for more oversight in places like where abuse of children most often takes place (schools, religious institutions, and their homes being the primary places).  Because the reality is that this bathroom policy isn't what puts women and children in danger. It's the laws that don't exist to keep pedophiles behind bars as well as a systemic problem with making women not feel safe and supported in reporting assault. 

Currently, if a man is in the woman's room peeking at girls or assaulting women, it is illegal.  No rule at Target is going to change that.  

Lets say that a man goes so far as to rape a woman in the Target restroom.  The victim will then have to report the crime, something that only 46-66% of those assaulted by strangers feel comfortable and supported enough to do.  Then, statistically, only 7-9% of these Target restroom rapists will actually be arrested.  Only about a third to a half of those will end up with a felony conviction.  And not even all of those will spend A SINGLE DAY in prison.  No rule or law is going to keep even those few that spend a day in jail from re-offending.  

This doesn't even speak to the plethora of other crimes men can and do commit against women and children that are prosecuted at no better rates.  

Anyone still think Target is the problem here?

No boycotters with signs or Facebook commenters about a law concerning transgendered individuals not being able to use the restroom will keep the next victim safe.  Creeps will find ways to reoffend.  The reaction to that should not be to try to find more ways to wall off women from potential predators, but to find ways to catch and more permanently wall of predators from victims.  To believe women who tell you or the police that they have been assaulted.  To prosecute the predators.  And to make them spend actual, legitimate lengths of time in prison in order to keep others safe.  

Want to keep women and children safe?  Forget Target and their policy.  Use the bathroom when you need to.  Work to change the real problem that exists.

Statistics pulled from multiple sites that all have similar numbers such as these.

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