Hot on the heels of a new law in Pennsylvania that makes it illegal to touch a pregnant woman’s belly, news that a woman filed charges against a neighbor who touched her tummy comes to light.
As Yahoo reports, an expectant mother in Pennsylvania is charging the man with harassment after he touched her stomach without consent.
State police tell Yahoo! Shine that Michelle Troutman, 30, filed the charges after her 57-year-old neighbor Richard J. Beishline stopped by her home, gave her a hug, and rubbed her stomach. Troutman pushed him away, and he left.
If Beishline pleads guilty, he’ll pay a fine the judge decides. If he pleads not guilty, they go to court. Pennsylvania attorney Phil DiLucente (who isn’t a part of the case) thinks this is the first time in state history the pregnant belly rubbing law is coming into play.
“Pennsylvania law defines harassment as engaging in conduct that harasses, annoys, or alarms a person … that’s always been the law, whether someone is pregnant or not, but this is the first time to my knowledge it’s been used in such a way.”
DiLucente thinks the case will be a tough one for Michelle Troutman to win because she has to prove it’s something that happened multiple times. If it was just the one time, Beishline will probably just receive a citation similar to a traffic ticket.
The case has become a hot topic for debate online. Many women enjoy being the center of attention and think it’s sweet when people like to touch their tummies. Others, like Billie Joe Ratliff, tell Yahoo’s Facebook page how much she doesn’t like it. “I would always tell them that I’m not a dog. Please don’t rub my belly.” Amie Bean wrote, “I didn’t like it. Just how I don’t want strangers touching me while I’m not pregnant.” I’m in agreement with Amie Bean; I don’t like it. However, I recognize that people mean well and are just curious, so I can’t imagine filing harassment charges. In fact, I think the law against touching a pregnant woman’s stomach is ridiculous. If someone feels harassed, whether pregnant or not, that’s one thing. But a curious belly rubber is another scenario entirely.
What about you? When strangers rub your stomach when you’re pregnant, how do you feel? Do you think there should be a law banning people from touching pregnant women’s stomachs, and if so, would you file charges if someone touched your belly?
Image source: Flickr.com/mandie
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