In the 1960s women burned their bras to celebrate and raise awareness for what they coined as feminism. The idea of gender equality goes back much further than the 1960s in the United States, with a woman’s right to vote being recognized with the 19th amendment in 1920. Modern feminism now seeks to tear down what is considered systemic gender inequality or social and legal norms that have unbalanced applications between men and women. This is exactly what a mother recently encountered in Utah.
Based on the legal complaint, the mother is accused of being topless in the privacy of her own home. She and her husband were hanging drywall. Anyone who has performed this job knows it is dusty and destructive to clothing. Her husband removed his shirt to prevent it from being ruined and the woman allegedly followed suit. The prosecution in the case seems to find fault with the fact her step-children may have seen her nude chest which led to three charges of Lewdness – one for each child.
The charges are misdemeanors, which are typically considered a lower tier of crime based upon the potential penalty. However, the primary concern is the issue of Sex Offender Registration. The Sex Offender Registration statutes require a person convicted of certain sexually related crimes to register with local authorities and have invasive restrictions placed upon their lives. Sex Offender Registration is typically a long-term punishment and often results in lifetime registration. This begs the question, does the “crime” of being half-naked in your own home warrant the intrusive restrictions of Sex Offender Registration?
Proponents of the law would argue men and women need to be mindful at all times regarding the exposure of their sexual organs. They believe the female chest is a sexual organ which can be a distraction and/or a bad influence. Namely, a proponent would argue the Sex Offender Registry is designed to protect the public at large and not to punish the individual offender, which is the position taken by the Supreme Court. The addition of the punishment of registration would alert society to the possibility of exposure in the future.
On the other hand, with the advent of social media, feminism has received a new breath of life and with this, we have seen trends that challenge our current societal norms. The hashtag #FreeTheNipple is particularly relevant here, a trend that encourages society to accept a woman’s breast as no different than a man’s breast, which is acceptable to be seen by anyone. The Defense could argue the law is not applied in an equal manner in that the breasts of a woman should not be considered a sexual organ as contemplated in the statute, because a man would never be charged in this scenario. Based upon the growing support of toplessness across social media, it is a safe assumption a large segment of the population, feminist or not, would find this argument persuasive.
Regardless of your position on #FreeTheNipple, you do not want to face these kinds of challenges without an attorney, especially when something as serious as Sex Offender Registration is being contemplated. The attorneys at Bleile & Dawson are extremely knowledgeable in criminal law, especially when it comes to defending our clients against wrongful accusations, whether in the State of Ohio, State of Indiana or the Commonwealth of Kentucky. If you feel you have been wrongly accused of a crime and seek to find the best possible representation to fight for you, hire a law firm that puts the client first and fights hard to protect the client’s rights and reputation. Contact us today for a completely confidential consultation at (513) 399-5945.