As a member of the workforce and general population, it is impossible to escape the issue of sexual harassment and what it does to anyone encountering it: increased stress, lost productivity, mental and physical illness, even the fear of violence. As a parent, we teach our children to not let others touch their bodies. How then, did we allow Congress and TSA the ability to manually touch our bodies in its quest to out the bad guys?
Personally, I’m fed up with being felt up.
TSA’s latest is a blatant encroachment on all things private—no longer a pat down … what’s being done bypasses any police “pat down” I’ve witnessed. Within the past two weeks, I’ve experienced the new system four times with some variation. Traveling as many do with artificial joints and implants, I’m one of those who sound the alarms. Being used to the “wanding,” I was stunned with the incredible invasiveness of what’s going on now.
Three children call me Gramma. I get, and enjoy countless letters from those who have heard me speak and who have read the many books that I’ve authored. I speak globally on them. I’m approaching my second million miles as a frequent flyer on United Airlines. On top of my head is a mop of silver hair. I don’t look like a terrorist; I don’t act like a terrorist; I don’t think like a terrorist … I am not a terrorist. What I am is a frequent traveler with double titanium knee implants. And, I’m mad as hell.
Sounding the security alarm after removing shoes, computers and passing through the sensors with less than five items on me, I’m told to stand on the pad and spread my feet. I’m asked if I want a private room, they do ask that—most of us frequent flyers just want to get through the damn line and to our boarding gate … declining, here’s what happened …
Told to assume “the position,” two feet are placed on the mat, spread eagle and the TSA agent—same gender—gives you her verbiage drill that she will “feel” and no longer pat … blah, blah, blah. Arms out, palms up. Beginning at my neck, she feels all around my collar and under it … mind you I have no visible jewelry but small earrings and a wrist watch. I am not asked if there is anything that lurks hidden. I always say that I have double knee implants and bolts in my right shoulder as a courtesy to them.
She then proceeds along my arms, running both her hands along them from my armpits to the wrists. She then moves to my back and does a full feel over it … now moving her hands fully across my butt, moving them inside my waist band and then circles to my front side, readying for the frontal assault. Jeeze. Beginning with her hand flat on my chest under my chin, she begins her downward stroke between my breasts, and running her hand under each. I want to swat her away. She says, “If you want, you can have a private screening…” I’m thinking, “Yeah, to feel me up more –hey, hey TSA, how many boobs have your felt today …”
I tell her, “Just get it over with …” Hmmm, the procedure doesn’t move more swiftly. She then moves her hands, both of them, to my waist and belly. Hands move sideways across my belly, lifting my shirt, and feeling inside my waistband. I’m getting pissed … I don’t like strangers in my pants. The legs are next. Beginning at the ankle of each inner leg, she firmly moves the palm side of her hand up, all the way to my crotch, not once, but twice. Now, I’m really pissed … and feel incredibly violated. I want a shower … I want to get home … I don’t want to fly anymore … and I know I have my final roundtrip flight in two weeks for the year, then off the road for a month ….
The week before, the agent in Las Vegas wanted my passport number and name because the buzzer did the alarm thing and she did her search procedure—not once, but twice, forcing me into the private room. What was I wearing? … socks, black slacks, underwear, blouse with long sleeves. My usual.
I now dislike air travel, where I used to embrace it … and I have to do it with my work. I find myself resisting going to the airport. I detest all things TSA and wonder just how many billions/trillions are sucked into this government wasteland. I’m amused when I hear others say that they make travel safer. To the professional traveler, that statement in itself is a joke.
Frankly, I don’t want anyone feeling me up and down unless I invite them to do it. Does TSA have a “Don’t ask, don’t tell” policy like the Military in its hiring? Could there be stalking and undercover men and women enjoying this new opportunity? With the full ankle to crotch “feels,” how do the guys like it as the hand moves up to the base of the crotch, touching their dangling parts? Hmmm, has one of the TSA male agents ever wanted to say, “Cough”?
Why has Congress approved this outrageous, personally humiliating “search” that screams sexual harassment? I was told by the TSA supervisor in Phoenix that Congress approved the new procedure. We have laws against inappropriate behavior. I want to know which members voted for it. Where is the ALCU in its outrage on the assault of the innocent flyer? How about the ABA? Why aren’t the airlines shouting, “enough of this nonsense”? Is this why TSA agents now where blue uniforms similar to what many cops have worn, so they look more “official/threatening”? If men and women are opting for the “private” screening, are their two agents there vs. one?—after all, I didn’t sign anything that I gave written permission to have my body touched and handled.
A full body massage when you are in the buff has more integrity. Yep, I’m fed up with being felt up. I will do everything to curtail travel using the airlines. What’s the number for Amtrak?