Posted by Administrator to Pregnancy
How far would you go to get unwanted hands off your pregnant belly? In all the excitement that was Halloween, I missed sharing the news that last week in Pennsylvania, a pregnant woman took legal action to say “hands off my belly.” True story.
According to a story on CNN by digital correspondent Kelly Wallace, a pregnant woman in Cumberland County Pennsylvania filed harassment charges against a man, a stranger to her, who repeatedly touched her pregnant belly without her permission.
The standing law on the Pennsylvania books is basically a harassment law that can be invoked when someone becomes alarmed by another’s unwanted and intrusive behavior. Quoted in Ms. Wallace’s CNN report is a Pittsburgh attorney who notes that many states have similar laws on their books.
"Any time you harass, annoy, alarm another and there's touching involved without consent, someone can be charged with harassment," said attorney Phil DiLucente.
Mr. DiLucente also said this is the only time he’s ever heard of where the harassment law has been employed by a pregnant woman against someone who touched her belly without permission.
But will it be the last?
On the one hand, if no one has filed harassment charges before for unwanted pregnant belly-touching, then maybe this is an outlier sort of situation. On the other hand, now that women know there’s a precedent, I can picture a lot of future pregnant women filing charges.
I'm curious what you think of all this. I was totally fine with people touching my belly when I was pregnant. I was fascinated by its shape and size, the movement inside and how my silhouette was so altered. I didn't object at all to people having the same reaction and wanting to touch me.
So, what are your experiences with people putting their hands on your pregnant belly? Did you ever encounter someone who just didn’t get the message that the touch was unwanted? Was it ever something so unwanted or so irritating that you’d consider filing harassment charges? Or did you welcome hands on your pregnant belly and found it no big deal?
Thanks for reading and sharing,
Tara Bloom, Maternitique
Oh, and PS: I found the t-shirt image above on Pinterest, but it's no longer available for sale but maybe it will inspire you to make your own on Zazzle or Cafe Press or something. The 80s were my coming-of-age decade, and this retro reference made me laugh out loud, even though I personally welcomed hands on my belly during my pregnancy.