Monday, November 22, 2010


TSA groping re-traumatizes those who suffered child abuse

by Larry Geller

Our daily newspaper, editorializing on the new intrusive TSA pat-down procedures, offered that “This new level of inconvenience for most is, for some [sic], a questionable invasion of privacy.”

Perhaps they have not experienced anyone groping their private places. Good for them. Others may not be able to tolerate strangers poking around their breasts or genitals. An ordinary pat-down may be barely endurable to them.

Victims of adult or child sexual abuse can be re-traumatized by forced contact. "Some [victims] become phobic about intimacy. They can't be touched," according to Gail Ericson, a social worker at the Branford Counseling Center in Connecticut, quoted in an article in Psychology Today.

From an anonymous snip from the web:

touch is supposed to be normal and I don't want to always look so odd being the one to deny another my hand when all they want to do is shake it.

Another, from the web:

…touch is simply not a part of my day-to-day life. I love to have my hair touched (and thoroughly enjoy trips to the beauty salon as a result). I also love it when someone touches my feet. However, the rest of me is “off limits.”

I know that I am not alone in this based upon the reactions of some of my offline friends who were also sexually abused as children. …

An aversion to being touched does not mean that one has been molested, but it’s something thoughtful people respect in daily life. You don’t force touch on someone who doesn’t want to be touched.

TSA is violating a principal of basic humanity by threatening passengers who do not want to be intimately touched with $10,000 fines even if they agree to leave the airport.

I hope the psychiatric and psychological professions will speak out about the costs of these unspeakable procedures and stop TSA abuse of the passengers they are supposed to protect.


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