Too embarrassed to come forward in December, Ashley Dobbs shared her story of an invasive and violating search. Of internal body cavities.
Caught on Texas state trooper’s dash cam recording, the film clearly shows a female state trooper, Kelley Hellenson, called in for the search, conducting internal exams of Dobbs’ vagina and rectum.
As horrid as it sounds, the reason for the search was a trivial highway stop. The state trooper accused Dobbs of throwing a cigarette out her window. When he questioned her, he asked her questions framing her as guilty of possession of marijuana in her car.
The examination was allegedly performed out of question of Dobbs’ marijuana possession. Hellenson wore gloves for the examination. But she didn’t change gloves between probes of the two women, according to Daily News.
While Texas law admonishes the searches as unconstitutional, “lawyers and civil rights advocates tell the Daily News these cavity searches are really standard policy among the Texas Department of Public Safety’s state troopers,” according the Daily News.
The women have filed federal laws suits. But the lawyers’ and civil rights advocates’ claim seems reasonable. The searches were performed hundreds of miles apart near Houston and Dallas, suggesting a kind of routine policy for traffic stops.
But how can this even be routine? Isn’t this a form of rape? Does that mean Texas state troopers have a policy of routine rape at traffic stops? Rape is defined as forcing a person into sexual acts without their consent. An internal search could fall under this category.
How the law will deem this act, I don’t know. However, the psychological damage inflicted on these women in such demeaning searches is monstrous. I am disgusted that such as search, while objected to across the board, was not discovered or investigated earlier. That such a ghastly act, in such a glaringly open space, obvious to onlookers, was not questioned.
Women for hundreds of years and in many cultures have been considered second-class citizens, not worth their weight in salt. Except, of course, for offspring. In the 21st century, women are still not regarded highly enough for respect on the side of the highway.
In this time of unrest and dramatic change, where women are subjected to demoralizing tests, internal ultrasounds, birth control out of pocket, and now invasive searches on the highway, it is time for change. Women have faced adversity in the past, in fact, women have always faced adversity. Now is not the time to fall back and let such repulsive actions go unchecked.
Here’s the video: