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TSA pat-downs 'can be re-traumatizing' for rape victims

By Nairita Das

Washington, Nov 25 (ANI): An expert has warned that Transportation Security Administration's 'enhanced' pat-downs 'can be extremely re-traumatizing' for rape victims.

As the outcry grows against the new security screenings at US airports, one population may face a special burden at TSA checkpoints: victims of rape or sexual assault who are now confronted with a procedure that they feel explicitly strips them of control over their bodies.

The experience "can be extremely re-traumatizing to someone who has already experienced an invasion of their privacy and their body," the Christian Science Monitor quoted Amy Menna, a counselor and professor at the University of South Florida who has a decade's experience researching and treating rape survivors, as saying.

Menna recommends that people know their rights so that they can avoid the sense of powerlessness when going through a security check.

"Any type of violation of physical boundaries can set back a rape survivor in their treatment, in their therapy, in their recovery," said Menna.

"There's a lack of sensitivity to individuals' emotional states when undergoing this public violation," she adds, citing the dismissive brusqueness of the procedure.

Many passengers don't know - and aren't informed - ­that they have the right to a private screening, or to have another person present at that private screening.

"Know your rights," Menna says, "and make sure they are not violated."

Menna also recommends appealing to the compassion of the TSA agent performing the search.

"Let them know you have a history of trauma, and ask them to be sensitive to the nature of the invasive procedure. You don't need to say, 'Oh, I was raped' - you should say only as much as you want to say - but let them know you have a history of violation, and ask them to be sensitive to that," Menna added. (ANI)

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