Stop persecuting foot fetishists for the criminal actions of one Joey Leaphart!
A good chunk of the population, however, have used Mr. Leaphart’s arrests for sexual assault since the winter of 2012 as an excuse to persecute people with foot fetishes – with WRDW News 12 seemingly aiding in the stigmatization of foot fetishists by interviewing Mr. Leaphart, who was convicted of sexually assaulting an 11-year-old girl in 2000 (which added him to the sex offender registry) by sniffing and licking her feet (the age of consent in South Carolina and Georgia is 16 – which means that this victim can not legally consent under state law at the time this crime occurred – that victim is now 24).
When I saw the Facebook comments about Mr. Leaphart’s arrest at the WEST RICHLAND AV Wal-Mart in July on WRDW’s chief rival, WJBF (they were the first to report on this), I was not too pleased at how they were attacking people with a foot fetish, lumping them in with Mr. Leaphart. I saw comments like “nasty”, “pervert” (and its variants), and the like.
There are good and bad in every walk of life. There are good business owners and there are bad business owners. There are good feminists (those who are intersectional) and there are bad feminists (e.g. those who are transphobic).
The foot fetish lifestyle is no different in this regard.
Where the foot fetish lifestyle does differ from most others, though, is the stigma. It takes only a handful of incidents for a scandal-mongering society like ours to stigmatize a fetish that is very close to normal for men. This lifestyle has it a little bit better than nudists do (I’m working on an essay about that currently), because it only takes one (two at most) incidents of masturbation from a naked person before the anti-Christian, constitution-hating politicians and citizens come out of the woodwork and unconstitutionally ban nudity in both public and private (like Georgia-lina and recently, San Francisco, have done).
Mr. Leaphart just happened to be one of the worst apples in the foot fetish lifestyle.
As with all other sexual fetishes, consent is key. If a female (that is of the age of consent) wearing flip-flops wants you to sniff her feet or lick her toes, she will say yes. Anything other than a clear, concise, and enthusiastic “yes” must be treated as a “no”. Otherwise, it is sexual assault – and that is what landed Mr. Leaphart on the sex offender registry as a 31-year-old, 13 years ago. The definition of sexual assault (and rape) is non-consensual sexual contact on another person, no matter how slight. Most people define the words sexual assault and rape differently, but I treat them as the same for reporting purposes – and I use them interchangeably at times.
And please know, “normal” people: the very first ones to condemn Mr. Leaphart were the foot fetishists. We want him off the streets as bad as you do – if not more so.
So, don’t zealously punish all of the foot fetishists for the criminal actions of one Mr. Leaphart.
[image of woman’s feet in flip-flops via Flickr]