September 19, 2008

It appears that women may actually have a right to their bodies in NY

Posted in gender roles, news, privacy, sexual politics at 7:25 pm by LB

According to Thursday’s New York Times, a woman who was upskirt-photographed in a NY subway station (and was able to capture her assailant’s identity on her camera!) has successfully filed criminal charges against him:

Mr. Olivieri was arraigned in Manhattan Criminal Court on Wednesday on misdemeanor charges of unlawful surveillance, attempted sexual abuse and harassment, a criminal complaint said.

That he was arraigned is surely excellent news, since in many other jurisdictions, women bodies are public property, with no expectation of personal privacy in public.  Even more, it was the taking of photos that brought the criminal charges, not their distributing.  In some conversations on this blog around this pet peeve issue of mine, some have suggested that posting the images should be wrong, but that the taking of them in public is and ought to be completely legal.

This NY case indicates that the “wrong” done is in the violation of the photographing; “unauthorized surveillance” seems to indicate that a woman’s body, regardless of its location, is always a zone of privacy.  And to that I say an emphatic “yes”!

More past posts on bodily privacy


  1. Renee said,

    One huge step forward if you ask me.

  2. eloriane said,

    I’ve never really understood why women didn’t have a “reasonable expectation of privacy” within their own clothes. I mean, it’s gross to photograph a woman on the subway, but the subway’s a public place. Underneath my skirt is not a public place. My underwear is private. I’m glad NY is finally figuring this out.

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