A man named Michael Robertson was arrested in Boston for taking secret photos and videos up the skirts and dresses of multiple women on the subway last month.
Hooray ! A man faced actual consequences for harassing women in public and treating female bodies as his to ogle!
Except that the state's Supreme Judicial Court ruled the violations legal. Yup, he totally got away with it. The court referenced the state's Peeping Tom laws, saying the laws do not protect the women who were photographed and filmed. Technically, they only protect women from unwanted photographs when undressed, like in bathrooms and dressing rooms. Women being photographed or filmed up their skirts are technically fully clothed.
The court said:
“A female passenger on a MBTA trolley who is wearing a skirt, dress, or the like covering these parts of her body is not a person who is `partially nude,’ no matter what is or is not underneath the skirt by way of underwear or other clothing.”
Luckily, Massachusetts lawmakers responded to the ruling by working on a bill to ban the photos - and it worked!! Taking revealing photos or videos of women without consent is now punishable by 2.5 to 5 years in jail or a fine of up to $5,000 in Massachusetts, as the bill was signed into law by Gov. Deval Patrick almost a month ago. I mean it really should have already been punishable, but we all know the kind of bullshit world we live in, so this is a very cool thing.
This is what a feminist hero looks like (or just a person with some common sense):
We don't often get to share such awesome news, but thanks to one creep that got caught, the legal loophole of a faulty law was exposed and the out-dated legislation was actually changed. Three cheers for progress!
Thanks to Think Progress and CNN.com
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