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UPenn sexual assault survivor testifies against biological men in women’s spaces

Former University of Pennsylvania swimmer Paula Scanlan, who had to undress in the same locker room as transgender athlete Lia Thomas, testified before Congress on Thursday that the experience was traumatizing, especially as a sexual assault survivor.

Scanlan was one of several speakers who testified before the House Judiciary Subcommittee on the Constitution and Limited Government’s hearing titled “The Dangers and Due Process Violations of ‘Gender-Affirming Care’ for Children.”

“My teammates and I were forced to undress in the presence of Lia, a six-feet four-inch tall biological man fully intact with male genitalia, 18 times per week,” the former Division I swimmer testified. “Some girls opted to change in bathroom stalls and others used the family bathroom to avoid this.”

She said administrators shrugged off female student athletes’ concerns about the invasion of privacy, saying she and her teammates “were expected to conform — to move over and shut up. Our feelings didn’t matter. The university was gaslighting and fear-mongering women to validate the feelings and identity of a male.”

She said she and other women are being robbed of “equal opportunities, dignity, and safe spaces,” and then spoke of her personal experiences, at times appearing to fight back tears in emotional testimony:

One may ask, why do I speak so passionately about issues that seem hypothetical or that some may perceive as impacting only a small number of women? This is not hypothetical, this is real. I know women who have lost roster spots and spots on the podium. I know of women with sexual trauma who are adversely impacted by having biological males in their locker room without their consent.

And I am one of these women. I was sexually assaulted on June 3, 2016, in a bathroom. I was able to forgive my attacker, but violence against women still exists.

Let us not forget the viral #MeToo movement that empowered female victims to speak up; it cast a spotlight on the widespread prevalence of sexual assault and abuse, including in scholarly and educational institutions. Individuals on this committee have stated, “Violence against women is all too common.”

I am extremely grateful for those members who have brought awareness to violence against women in the past, but unfortunately, there is still much to be done. As a sexual assault survivor, many policies pushed today completely ignore my experiences and many women like me.

Additional testimony heard Thursday came from detransitioner activist Chloe Cole. She spoke of the physical changes she underwent when she thought she identified as male and took puberty blockers and testosterone.

“I look in the minor sometimes and I feel like a monster,” Cole told the congressional committee. “I had a double mastectomy at 15. They tested my amputated breasts for cancer. I was cancer free, of course. I was perfectly healthy.”

“There was nothing wrong with my still developing body, or my breasts, other than as an insecure teenage girl, I felt awkward about it.”

She said a huge part of her womanhood has been stolen from her, and that she will never be able to breastfeed, and her future fertility is also in question. In February, Cole filed a lawsuit against her doctors.

Also testifying Thursday was Jennifer Bauwens, director of the Center for Family Studies, part of the conservative Family Research Council. She argued so-called gender affirming medical care is an “experimental practice … despite our understanding of a child’s developmental capacity to truly give informed consent for social and physiological interventions that have life-long consequences.”

“…We should be innovating solutions to heal their distress, not coercing them onto a path that tells them they need to remove or change parts of who they are in order to be whole.”

MORE: Lia Thomas teammate breaks her silence – Penn ‘wanted us to be quiet’

IMAGE: YouTube screenshot

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About the Author
Fix Editor
Jennifer Kabbany is editor-in-chief of The College Fix.