California Legislators: Protect Women’s Privacy In Long-Term Care

Crescent City, CA: The Women’s Liberation Front (WoLF) asks California legislators in a letter today, September 5, 2017, to reconsider the rush to mandate, through SB 219, that long-term care facilities for the elderly and disabled must allow male residents to demand to share rooms and bathing facilities with elderly women or disabled women and girls, based on subjective claims of gender identity, and removing the right of women and girls to complain about their loss of privacy.

While we appreciate the spirit of the proposed law in wanting all residents of long-term care facilities to be treated kindly and with dignity by staff, it does not appear that legislators have taken into account the increased vulnerability to harm of women and girls by male peers. Women and girls of every demographic are victims of male physical abuse and sexual violence, which is overwhelmingly committed by men they know; elderly and disabled women in long-term care are no different.

Elder abuse and abuse of dependent adults in particular continues to be a serious problem in California. It is entirely irresponsible to create, as SB 219 does, additional opportunities for men to abuse women in sex-specific spaces, while removing women’s rights to object to the elimination of their privacy in shared housing situations.

“Elderly and disabled women are particularly vulnerable to sexual violence and abuse. What’s seen in patterns of sexual predation is that entitled males tend to show a strong preference for victims whom they perceive as less likely to either put up a fight or be believed afterwards. There is no broad category of woman who is not sexually harassed or preyed on by her male peers, who is safe, so, there can be no broad category of men who are above suspicion,” said Natasha Chart, WoLF’s acting board chair.

In short, by mandating the placement of men in intimate living spaces or restrooms with women, SB 219 places women in need of long-term care at greater statistical risk of harm, in order to promote fatally flawed “gender identity” ideology. The women and girls of California deserve better.

Natasha Chart can be reached for comment at [email protected]