Dana Hodges represented both CWA of Texas and herself as she gave testimony in support of SB 6. It was passed out of committee with a 7-1 vote.
Senate Committee on State Affairs
Hearing on Senate Bill 6
Dana Hodges, State Director of Concerned Women for America of Texas
March 7, 2017
Madam Chairman and members of the committee: My name is Dana Hodges and I am speaking today in favor of Senate Bill 6. I am the State Director for Concerned Women for America (CWA) of Texas. CWA is the largest public policy women’s organization in the nation.
As the leader of a women’s organization, I work with and represent a wide variety of women from many different backgrounds and socio-economic sectors. Those members have made their wishes known to CWA and what they have conveyed is that Texas needs legislation passed that will protect the privacy, safety and dignity of women and girls in public restrooms and changing facilities. I wholeheartedly agree with their concern and am here as their messenger to pass along their wishes to this committee.
But I come today, not only as a leader of a women’s organization, but also as a private Texas citizen, to plead with you to give this bill your serious and prayerful consideration. You see, the reason I’m so passionate about seeing this bill passed into law is because I myself was a victim of being videotaped by a hidden camera placed in a women’s public bathroom stall by a man.
One day several years ago, I received a phone call notifying me that a hidden video camera was found inside a women’s bathroom stall that I had visited. Images of me were found among the footage. The camera was hidden in a small, white plastic coat hook, exactly like the one I’ve brought with me today. As you can see, it looks completely innocent and no one would dream that a video recording device was hidden inside the small opening. Thankfully the device was found and turned over to the authorities before the man who placed it inside the women’s bathroom stall was able to retrieve it. I shudder to think at what could have happened to the footage had the man gained access to the camera before it was found.
Going through this experience was especially traumatic for me as a survivor of rape that happened when I was a teenager. Knowing that someone had violated me again dredged up lots of old memories and emotions. I struggled for over a year to use any public bathroom for fear that there was a recording device hidden somewhere inside.
We have heard many of the news reports of females being assaulted in public restrooms, but how many more instances do we not hear about because women do not even realize that they have been secretly videoed without their knowledge?
Senate Bill 6 specifically refers to public buildings, which, of course, includes public schools. Opening up the bathrooms and locker rooms for boys to freely enter into the girls’ facilities is a disaster waiting to happen. I was able to purchase this hook with the camera embedded in it for $12 online. What seventh grade boy isn’t able to order the very same hook, place it in the girls’ locker room since he has unrestricted access, then retrieve the camera and upload the images to the internet?
Thankfully, I am a woman of faith. Faith that God can use my traumatic experience to make a difference in the lives of others. That’s why I am here sharing my story today, albeit an uncomfortable one to share. I don’t wish for anyone to ever go through what I went through. Let’s pass Senate Bill 6 into law so we won’t ever have to look at our sisters, daughters and mothers and tell them we stood idly by and did nothing to protect them.