Strategic Living

January 2008: Become the Change You Want to See

Times and crimes change. When my mother was my age, "domestic violence" was non-existent. Of course physical violence in the home happened, it was considered a normal part of existence. Normal, even though it wasn't talked about. You didn't air dirty laundry in public. But just a few years later, with the emerging consciousness and work from more and more women and allies, DV found it's way into the legal system. Because people began talking about it. Others joined in and the laws changed.

Technology adds technicalities to crimes. When Jolene Jang pressed charges of voyeurism against a man who video-taped up her dress ("up-skirting") during A Bite of Seattle in 2000, she was stunned when he was found "not guilty" on appeal. Because she was in a public venue, the Washington State Supreme Court decided, her right to and expectation of privacy was limited.

Extant voyeurism law had been an extension of assault law, and in a public venue the victim had to be either physically touched or know about the violation (and be outraged by it) when it happened. These laws had been written decades ago, before video up-skirting was possible. The law no longer covered what was now technically feasible.

An outraged Jolene planned and studied and spoke out. Jolene is a speaker, and she organized a campaign to educate the public on the ramifications of voyeurism. Three years later it became illegal to up- skirt in Washington. Jolene now gives presentations on why and how she fought for more stringent anti-voyeurism laws. Because Jolene spoke up, others joined her and the laws changed. Download and watch the video.

Those who seek to abuse will always find new techniques, and the rest of us will always be challenged to protect ourselves from the new invasions. Even though crimes and times change, the first counter will always be to air the "dirty laundry."

from Strategic Living News & Views, January 2008

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