In other news, rape victim blamed for not having vagina guarded by Pinkertons…

Teacher Leigh Anne Arthur was essentially given a “quit or we will fire you” order from her bosses in the Union County School District this week after a student found a nude photo of Arthur on her cell phone and passed it around the school. The student stole the phone off of Arthur’s desk while Arthur was out of the room for five minutes to monitor the “passing period” at the school.

Arthur has been put into the unenviable position of having to explain that, yes, there was a nude photo of her on the phone and that, yes, she took it for her husband for Valentine’s Day, which probably makes for an even more painful situation than her firing. Of course, her boss, Superintendent David Eubanks, decided to take this moment to demonstrate that he was the living embodiment of the “Peter Principle:”

“It became a regular piece of equipment that they used in that classroom,” Dr. Eubanks said. “Knowing that, why did she put that photograph on that cellphone?”

Right. That’s the issue. Not that teachers can’t expect to have any life outside of school without fear of being “found out” and penalized for it. Not that the school was essentially giving this 16-year-old boy a pass when it came to discipline (until, of course, the natural outcry came from anyone with a brain). Not that she had no expectation that someone would go through her private stash of photos and decide it was a good idea to publicly humiliate her.

It never ceases to amaze me that for every move we make toward fixing one horrible misconception of a horrific act, we make three or four others that continue to perpetuate some heavy levels of stupid elsewhere.

I don’t have any nude photos on my phone of myself, nor have I ever sent one to my wife. This is primarily because a) a nude photo of me doesn’t say “Wow, I want to get all over that,” but rather, “I wonder if Chewbacca is in the next Star Wars” and b) I would be afraid of it ever getting out.

And that’s the biggest problem I have going forward with this topic. The answer for crimes against the privacy of women has always been, “If you don’t want X to happen, don’t do Y.” It’s all on them. “If you don’t want to be sexually assaulted, don’t wear such a short skirt.” “If you don’t want to be mugged, make sure you walk with a man.” “If you don’t want people to see your naked body, don’t take pictures of it.”

In a similar vein this week,  former ESPN broadcaster Erin Andrews has finished testifying in her civil suit against Marriott Hotels. The hotel gave Michael David Barrett, who had stalked her elsewhere, the room next door to Andrews when she was staying in Nashville. Barrett rigged a camera to see into Andrews’ room and then filmed her when she was nude. He then uploaded the videos to the Internet where they have been seen more than 300,000 times.

Andrews didn’t ask to have her privacy invaded. Dare I say, any one of us has probably been naked in a hotel room under the assumption that whatever we were doing in there was probably not going to go viral online. However, as she had to relive what was probably the worst day of her life, people all around this fine country were making the case that she probably either deserved it or did it on purpose.

During the trial this week, the approach of the Marriott’s attorneys has been to suggest that the nude video didn’t negatively affect Andrews’s career. One lawyer pointed out that she had picked up endorsements from Reebok, Degree deodorant, Florida orange juice, and Mountain Dew after it happened. She has also been a contestant, and host, on “Dancing with the Stars.”

Exactly! Since she’s gotten extra money for things after the nudity, obviously this whole thing was OK. I mean, geez… What more does she want?

How about the ability to sit in her own home without thinking, “I wonder who’s jerking off to me right now?” Or how about the right to feel like she can take a shower or a shit in a hotel without wondering if another video is being shot? How about being able to meet new people without wondering what their motives are because she’s still screwed up by all of this after eight years?

It’s not easy being a female school teacher and it’s not easy being a woman in sports journalism. About half the people think you’re a bitch/shrew/dyke while another large chunk of folks think of you as pussy on the hoof.

Neither of those jobs should require you to constantly monitor yourself for fear of the behavior of bad actors who decide they have the right to steal your basic human dignity.

Nor should we as a society demonstrate a complete tone deafness when these people are victimized.

2 thoughts on “In other news, rape victim blamed for not having vagina guarded by Pinkertons…

  1. gratuitous says:

    The sentiment seems to be, “If she didn’t want to get raped, why did she leave home with her vagina?” or “Ohmygod! People are naked – naked! – under their clothes! Horrors!” I used to joke that I made sure to wear an extra pair of underwear so that I wouldn’t be naked underneath my clothes. Now, I’m not so sure that a non-negligible portion of the population wouldn’t get the joke.

    I hope Ms. Arthur’s union clobbers the school district, and I hope the devious little pischer who swiped her phone goes to juvie for a year or so. I hope Ms. Andrews reduces Mr. Barrett to life-long penury, and takes a sizable bite out of Marriott’s bottom* line.

    *Hrrr, hrrr. hrrr, I said “bottom.”

  2. Lillian says:

    What kind of sloot allows her husband to see her naked anyway? That is something that should only be tolerated by her doctor (who should be blindfolded).

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