Dear Twitter, I’m one of the famous “whackjob actors” you regularly roast: a cross between Robert Downey Jr. and Britney Spears. As such, you should know that I have a penchant for situations where I become the hero. It happened recently after I saw the absurd photo of a Toronto woman who was carried off by police while screaming: “It’s not fair! It’s not fair!” The arresting officer said it was because she was “suffering from a mental disorder.”
The woman, Ashley Monika Keller, is suing police for $1.6 million, claiming her IQ had dropped by 30 points and her clothing had burned her.
But the biggest narrative missing from the BBC report is how any such diagnostic process could have caught the camera voyeurism that Keller discovered in the changing room of a Canadian clothing store.
Women aren’t entitled to privacy when they step into changing rooms because physical space is real estate, and people have the right to access that real estate, whatever their motive. The moral is not to do something so terrible and entirely foolish as record a girl changing her clothes.
There’s the question of why you would record someone in a public place; do you have a purpose for recording a woman changing? Do you want to tag her so that when she wants to change, you can tell her who you are?
Could you have video of your wife leaving the dressing room for their anniversary? Or your baby tearing down the bathroom bathroom door? I’m not sure this would even be illegal in the United States.
However, women have an inherent right to keep whatever they’re changing inside a private dressing room. It is called a “changing room,” which is why it’s essentially a prison.
This crime of public record would be different if the target were a man or a child, but even women have the right to keep what they’re changing private. While some might argue that sharing something of one’s body is inherently sexual, we’ve always defined the nudity of women — let alone children — as being private and private unless someone feels like sharing. And they don’t have to be naked to have sex.
Ultimately, public shaming on social media is not the solution here, and shaming doesn’t always even work. Those taking photos and video cannot arrest anyone, and police cannot — and should not — use social media to share the photographs of people who are no longer involved in the incident. The appropriate reaction for policing to how the public views the incident is to conduct some kind of thorough investigation to ensure no one is subsequently unjustly prosecuted because of what the police deemed a display of bad behavior.
On Saturday, a man from Millbrook, Ontario, was charged with voyeurism and having an unauthorized video camera. The clip of the alleged incident is actually more disturbing than the images that have been handed out by media outlets: In one of the videos, a woman lifts up her pant leg to show the tape recorder, her point, near her underwear. In another, the man appears to be on the phone with someone. The clips have both been removed from Facebook, so I’m guessing this is just a prorated account.