Michael W. Edwards is accused of spraying semen from a bottle onto women’s backs in Giant grocery stores and Michael’s craft stores in Gaithersburg, Maryland.
Edwards has confessed to the crime and there is video evidence of his actions on his cell phone. Clothing from two of the women has been tested as evidence. Detectives have charged Edwards with five counts of second-degree assault and say there might be additional victims. He had no prior convictions.
I’ve never heard about this kind of harassment before, but I know there is an endless supply of men who think nothing of humiliating, harming, harassing, and assaulting women in public places for their own amusement.
The Washington Post article author does not seem to know this, though. The writer kept noting how “normal” Edwards is, how he was raised in the church, has a college degree, a long-term girlfriend, and until his charges, a job. I find that focus problematic because it implies that harassers – or other criminals like rapists – are ususally “deranged” people. But in fact, many of the perpetrators are “normal” people who are indistinguishable from our friends, family, colleagues, neighbors, and national heroes. Yes, that’s scary, but the sooner we as a society face this fact, the sooner we can address the root causes and increase conviction rates instead of ignoring or being shocked when these crimes are committed by “normal” people.
(By the way, Edwards worked as a security guard at a water treatment plant. He was fired. The company said there was no evidence he’d done anything wrong, but when someone who likes to squirt semen has access to drinking water, I say thank goodness for water filters!)
Many thanks to reader MRH for the story tip