In a case set to reignite the gender debate in the US, two women are facing charges of sexual battery and second-degree kidnapping for allegedly attacking a trans woman in the women’s bathroom of a North Carolina bar.
A disturbing case of sexual violence has added to tensions over transgender people using public restrooms in America. 31-year-old Jessica Fowler and 38-year-old Amber Harrell face potential felony charges after their verbal abuse against a trans woman turned physical.
The victim detailed how the women began by joking about her genitals after she entered the women’s bathroom in Raleigh’s Milk Bar. One of the women then allegedly pulled up the victim’s skirt and pushed her against the wall with her chest while fondling her, according to the arrest warrant. The victim says the assault sent her into a panic attack.
The two didn’t stop there, continuing to touch and harass the victim in front of everyone at the bar.
“One of the girls is still touching all over me. She would not let go. I asked her numerous times. She [the bartender] could see I was visibly uncomfortable,” the victim told 911. Despite the bartender and the victim telling the women to back off, they refused to relent.
The two women are currently out on bond. If convicted, they face up to 10 years in prison and will be put on a sex offender registry.
Bunch of Fives hospitality, the Milk Bar’s parent company, told WLAR news that they were fully cooperating with police and will take action to ensure all patrons feel welcome.
North Carolina was the site of the battle over the divisive HB2 law which required North Carolina residents to use public bathrooms based on their gender at birth. The law was struck down in late 2017 based on the judge’s ruling that revoking the rule “would alleviate some of the sweeping harms that vulnerable transgender North Carolinans suffered.”
The transgender issue has become a hot-button topic across America, in and out of the bathroom. The question of transgender participation in sports has led to particularly heated debates, alongside backlash over LGBTQ activists’ efforts to redefine traditional definitions of gender.
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