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Letter to the editor: A Response to “When you gotta go”

Please do not conflate bigotry with sexual violence. Just don’t. My name is Megan Fallon, and I am the interpersonal violence prevention coordinator at Clemson. I am an expert in violence prevention and have worked in the field for 13 years. Don’t confuse your lack of knowledge on both sexual violence and the trans* community with fact.

I am sure the founding fathers did not take into consideration the trans* bathroom need, just as they didn’t account for the rights of slaves, the right to vote for all people in the U.S. or a whole bunch of important stuff that we know they should have taken into consideration.

Now, on the issue of sexual assault, I have some corrections to make. First, there is no statistical evidence showing that a trans* person has ever assaulted anyone in a bathroom—NONE. The mis-information you published is a way to create unsubstantiated fear. It also undermines the experience of both trans* people and survivors of sexual assault. According to the U.S. Department of Justice’s National Crime Victimization Study from 2009-201, approximately four of five rapes were committed by someone known to the victim, not some stranger in a bathroom.

In my years as an advocate for victims of sexual assault, relationship violence and stalking, I have known very few assaults committed by the “old man” narrative given in the column. If that old man were to exist, he’s going to assault someone in the restroom regardless of whether it’s gender inclusive. Most victims I have worked with were assaulted by a friend. While it’s possible for anyone to be assaulted anywhere, the majority of assaults are made by someone already known to the victim.

The article assumes young daughters must be protected. I happen to have one of those and though my opinion may not be that of others, I speak from a place of experience there as well. It would be far easier for me, as a mother, if bathrooms were gender inclusive. Then the assumption wouldn’t be to have a changing table only in the woman’s restroom because that must be women’s work to change a diaper. (That’s sarcasm.) But to be clear, the needs of trans* folks far outweigh my frustration of gender norms in parenting.

There are so many aspects of sexual assault that are far more important to address than the possibility of being assaulted by an old man in a bathroom. I invite you and everyone on campus to participate and attend the events related to both Sexual Assault Awareness Month and PRIDE week to better educate yourself on the realities of both of these issues.

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