Opponents of the NDO are justifying unfounded fears with absolute falsities regarding the safety of women and children when it comes to sexual assault. Those opponents have it backwards. Transgender inclusion in all aspects of the NDO does not put women or children at risk for assault. Trans people are actually more likely to be assaulted when they are forced to use public spaces that do not fit their gender identities.
As a statewide organization that works to protect women and children from violence, we take very seriously the issue of sexual assault. The facts are these:
There are already laws to protect people from the types of sexual assault opponents fear. To date, NDOs have never been used as a defense to criminal charges. A crime is a crime and this ordinance will not protect anyone who commits an offense. Since NDOs have passed in other cities, not a single report has been made of a man dressing as a woman in order to assault someone in a public space. That fear falsely and unnecessarily shifts focus away from real safety issues. The vast majority of sexual assaults are perpetrated by heterosexual men who know their victims, both women and children. The majority of those assaults take place in or near the victim's home, not in public spaces.
We hope that the council will consider these facts and not succumb to the scare tactics of a few misinformed opponents.
Legal and Policy Director
The Montana Coalition Against Domestic and Sexual Violence