Quick Hit: The effects of stop + frisk on women

*Trigger warning* The linked article contains descriptions of harassment and unwanted touching.

Laws don’t always affect all people equally. People of color and LBGTQ people, for example, are disproportionately targeted by laws that criminalize carrying condoms as an (ineffective) way to prevent sex work. And we’ve documented how stop and frisk is executed along racial lines, and is way too harsh on people of color, including and especially LGBTQ blacks and Latinos (80 percent of those stopped by police and frisked for weapons have been black or Latino, and 90 percent were found to have done nothing wrong). But just because a law most heavily affects a certain population doesn’t mean that it only affects those people, or doesn’t affect another group differently. This excellent article — and by excellent I mean troubling — documents the experience of some of the 46,784 women who were stopped and 16,000 who were frisked in New York alone last year (guns were found in only 59 cases). In most cases, the people carrying out these stops and frisks were men, as more than 80 percent of officers on patrol are men in New York. From the article:

“When officers conduct stops upon shaky or baseless legal foundations, people of both sexes often say they felt violated. Yet stops of women by male officers can often involve an additional element of embarrassment and perhaps sexual intimidation, according to women who provided their accounts of being stopped by the police. And many incorrectly believe that the police, like Transportation Security Administration officers, are required to have female officers frisk women.”

Go read the whole thing. And join the movement against Stop+Frisk in New York. (hint: it’s working!).

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One Comment

  1. Posted August 7, 2012 at 3:30 pm | Permalink

    Good point – even when an issue (very) disproportionately affects one gender (the linked article indicates that women are 6.9 percent of all police stops and men 93.1 percent) we shouldn’t erase or trivialize the experience of the gender less often affected, in this case women. As with other issues, we can simultaneously keep in mind that the ill-treatment is more often falling on (in the case of stop-and-frisk) men and that we should be equally sympathetic to women hurt by it.

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