I'm sorry. WHAT DID I JUST READ?!?
Western Australia Police have charged a woman FIVE HUNDRED DOLLARS for stealing a $6.75 packet of tampons from the service station.
I don't even know where to begin. Frankly, I think the crime is that a servo is charging nearly $7 for a packet of tampons!
What kind of desperation does a woman find herself in that she STEALS a packet of TAMPONS? Imagine the sheer embarrassment of getting caught doing such a thing, let alone having the police called AND THEN have them fine you for it!! The boys in blue couldn't have said "put the tampons back, I'll let you off with a warning, go use some newspaper/here's a tissue to sort yourself out"? No?
I'm thankful everyday I've never found myself to be in such a position whereby I can't afford basic hygiene products like tampons but I damn well show a bit of empathy and understanding for those who can't. As the WA Police Minister clearly Liza Harvey MLA can't bring herself to imagine what it must be like to live in the shoes of a woman who can't afford essential products such as this.
If this woman couldn't afford the $6.75 for the tampons, how will she be able to pay up $500 (or 73 more packets of over-priced servo tampons) for this incredulous fine?
Facts re Criminal Code Infringement Notices (CCINs)
It is not mandatory for police to issue a CCIN, with officers exercising discretion to caution, summons, arrest or issue a CCIN on a case-by-case basis
To be eligible for a CCIN, a person must be at least 17 years of age, have their identity confirmed and have a current postal address
Anyone issued with a CCIN can pay the fine or elect to appear in court
A person has 28 days to pay the penalty of $500 before a final demand is issued
Where was the discretion shown??
Obviously I wasn't there but on face value this seems insanity. I am well prepared to get down off my high horse if by some extraordinary facts present themselves like, I don't know, the woman in question was a tampon kleptomaniac, had the means to buy herself sanitary items and was just stealing them for fun...
Reason #76 why sanitary items should be made freely and readily available for women in need - so you don't get arrested by WA police.
Please consider following local organisations in your area who are set up to advocate for women's sanitary items on a regular basis.
It is not an isolated incident for disadvantaged women to go without basic essentials such as tampons. It's just fairly unusual to cop a $500 fine...
SA - www.facebook.com/e4wadelaide
WA - www.facebook.com/essentialsforwomenofperth
VIC - www.facebook.com/PeriodProjectMelbourne
Sydney - www.facebook.com/SydneyPeriodProject
Hunter region - www.facebook.com/wingsandstringsaus