Prevention of unwanted attention is within your control.
While I was visiting in India recently, I heard horrifying stories of how certain upscale shops had installed security cameras in their trial rooms, in popular shopping malls. It was so terrible that I vowed not to do any shopping that required that I try something on. But then, India is a country where the law and order situation is not particularly imposed, and who am I to pass judgement on another country when here in America, we face insecurity due to those happy voyeurs on the streets! Not to mention the selfie stick menace! I’m so glad that this extension device is already banned in Museums like the Museum of Modern Art, NY, the Getty Center in LA, the Smithsonian’s Hirshorn Museum and Sculpture Garden in DC. The Coachella in California (attended by the likes of Rihanna, Katy Perry, and Kanye West) that recently got over and the Lollapalooza in Chicago have also banned selfie sticks this summer, all claiming concerns over their artwork and visitors.
Two examples –
1. “Janet, a 25-year-old dental hygienist, was trying on a swimsuit at a large department store when she noticed what appeared to be a small camera poking through a hole in the wall of the adjoining room. She immediately dressed, burst out of her dressing room, blocked the suspect from leaving the adjacent room, and called until 911. Police officers arrested the subject and charged him with video voyeurism, a felony offense in Florida. The perpetrator admitted recording at least 50 other women in the fitting room over a period of six months.”
2. “It is a dispatched prowler in progress call. Emily, a 31-year-old single mother, just saw a white male adult looking into her window as she was changing into her nightgown after a shower. The man was masturbating. It’s a slow night, so everyone shows up to look for the perp. The area is canvassed. K-9 even tries to track, but the trail goes dead. No physical contact was made between the victim and the suspect; no words were exchanged. Emily is sobbing, panicked, and terrified. You do a thorough investigation, like you did last night for an almost identical case two blocks away.”
– SceneDoc, Public safety’s Trusted Digital Notebook.
You don’t need to go all the way to India, folks! It happens in downtown, US of A! So, what’s the best way to safeguard oneself? First, what exactly is voyeurism? The Legal definition says,
“(i) A place where a reasonable person would believe that he or she could disrobe in privacy, without being concerned that his or her undressing was being photographed or filmed by another; or (ii) A place where one may reasonably expect to be safe from casual or hostile intrusion or surveillance.
Given the similarity to voyeurism, a jury might find that placing a hidden camera in a certain location may amount to the torts of outrage or negligent infliction of emotional distress.”
– US Legal.com
So, let’s assume nobody is foolish enough to walk around a house scantily clad. One would then be restricted to a bedroom, bathroom, walk-in closet, or changing room attached to the bathroom. How would one prevent voyeurs or peeping Toms from gaining access to one’s private and vulnerable moments?
In terms of window shading, the choices are many – you have light filtering shades, room darkening shades and blackout shades, the terminology referring to the translucence or opacity of the fabric the shades are crafted from. Light filtering shades are often made with loosely-woven fabric or material through which shadows and shapes are quite visible, even during the day, and while they are a tempting option offering bright indoors and a muted view of the outdoors, they are strictly not to be used in bedrooms, bathrooms and changing areas, however secluded you think your home is. A voyeur can find ingenious ways to fulfil his needs, so beware!
Room darkening fabrics, on the other hand, could be misleading – any shade can darken a room to some extent when lowered over a window, the level of darkness depending on the density of the weave of the shade fabric and the window size. And come night time, the lighted interiors always show shapes and shadows to relief with room darkening shades lowered over windows.
Blackout The Best Preferable Shades.
The best option to opt for in these areas that require the utmost privacy is the blackout variety. This means that absolutely no light penetrates the fabric. You can get Roman shades, cellular shades and roller shades in the blackout variety of materials. And if by some quirk you decide you like a lightly woven fabric, you could always get added protection using blackout liners – these liners are available at an extra charge.
But why go through the hassle when you can opt for the blackout cellular shades! The insides of the cells are coated with a metalized plastic called Mylar that makes these shades 100% opaque. Blackout cellular shades come with side tracks that block any light seeping through the edges of the shade and the window frame. In addition, the sidetracks are coated in black on the insides that absorb any bit of light seeking entry or exit over and, above all, the precautions!
And cellular shades provide the best possible insulation – they are available in single and double cell layers, so you can choose more layers for places that face extremes in climate. These cells trap air that form an insulating layer that blocks the transfer of heat and sound through windows. Opt for blackout cellular shades from Graber, Crown or Norman – you can’t go far wrong with keeping those peeping Toms at bay!