Sexism? Tilli Buchanan West Valley City, Utah woman charged with lewdness after being topless in front of her husband’s three children at their private home.
A Utah woman has told of being arrested for taking off her top in front of her stepchildren in her own home. A ‘crime’ that would never have led to her being arrested had she been a man- highlighting what she calls a lapse in gender discrimination.
Tilli Banner Buchanan, 27, was in her home with her husband Jared and his three children when she removed her top.
She says she and Jared had both been installing insulation in their garage in West Valley City and that they stripped down to their underwear to rinse ‘itchy materials’ off their bodies when his kids – two boys aged 13 and nine and a 10-year-old girl – appeared, ’embarrassed’.
Buchanan claimed that she told them not to be embarrassed and that there was no difference between her being topless and their father.
Police however say she was drunk and had stripped off to prove a point to the children.
They also claim, after being informed about the incident by the children’s mother, that Buchanan said she would only put her shirt back on if her husband exposed his penis.
‘I was devastated. Because the moment I took to teach the kids, it was kind of smashed. Like you can’t teach kids this.’
The incident happened as the family was already being looked at by Child Protective Services for another, unknown matter, The Salt Lake Tribune, reports.
‘This isn’t a sexual thing,’ she recalled telling the children. ‘I should be able to wear exactly what my husband wears. You shouldn’t be embarrassed about this.’
Now, Buchanan and her attorney are fighting three counts of lewdness involving a child – a class A misdemeanor – which they contend is constitutionally unfair, arguing sexism on the grounds that her husband would not have faced the same charges because he is a man.
Buchanan claims the incident occurred in the fall of 2016.
Police say it happened later, between November 2017 and January 2018.
The children were the focus of another investigation, according to The Salt Lake Tribune, and as part of that investigation, their mother told authorities about it after hearing it from them.
She said she was ‘alarmed’ by what they had told them.
Buchanan however insists she did nothing wrong and that she should not be punished.
She says she was trying to teach them a lesson on sexism.
‘I was devastated. Because the moment I took to teach the kids, it was kind of smashed. Like you can’t teach kids this.
In fact, you’re going to be charged for even bringing this up,’ she said.
She said she had never been activist on the subject but thought it was ‘cool’.
‘It’s not like at the forefront of my brain. I’m not going to go sign up for the “Free the Nipple” cause. I just thought, “This is cool, this is really awesome and natural.” It’s not a thing to me. It’s never been a thing,’ she said.
Now, she said, she is paranoid about her behavior around the children and never wants to dress inappropriately.
Is Tilli Buchanan being singled out for prosecution solely on the basis of her gender?
‘If it is not considered inappropriate for a man to be topless, it should not be inappropriate for a woman to be according to Buchanan.’
‘Because Tilli Buchanan is a woman — and only because she is a woman — the state now seeks to condemn her as a child sex offender for engaging in the exact same non-sexual conduct as her lawfully faultless husband.
‘Tilli Buchanan is being singled out for prosecution solely on the basis of sex,’ her attorney Randy Richards said in a filing the dailymail reported.
Buchanan faces criminal penalties for being shirtless in her own home, Richards argues, while her husband was also in the same state of undress and is not charged.
The lawyer is basing much of his argument on a recent court decision in Fort Collins, another city in Utah, which prohibits the city from enforcing a nudity ban on women.
‘The fact that this was in the privacy of one’s own home is real troubling,’ the lawyer said. ‘Different people have different moral positions as far as nudity.’
Prosecutors in Buchanan’s case have responded, saying that by making no distinction between male and female’s chests, it would not be illegal for someone to grope women or young girls’ breasts.
The case is due to return to court in November.
If convicted, Buchanan could land in jail and stay on the sex offender registry for the next 10 years.