A mum was reportedly threatened with arrest for breastfeeding her baby in public [Photo: Getty]
It’s not unusual to hear stories of women being shamed for breastfeeding in public. What’s slightly more out of the ordinary, however, is discovering that the person doing the shaming is a police officer who threatened to arrest the mum in question if she didn’t stop nursing.
Mum-of-two Savvy Shukla was shopping in a Piggly Wiggly supermarket in Georgia in the US with her two children, when her one-month old newborn needed to be fed. But as she started discreetly breastfeeding her youngest child, she was approached by a police officer who asked her to cover up as some people might find it offensive.
Recounting the incident in a Facebook post that has since gone viral, the new mum explained that though she told the officer it was legal for her to breastfeed her baby in public, he told her she was mistaken.
“You just think you know what the law says and if your nipple becomes exposed I really don’t want to have to arrest you or you be arrested for being offensive,” Savvy claims the officer told her.
Savvy said she then repeated the state law only for the officer to point out that he could “already see my areola”.
He reportedly told her if someone saw her nipple (even if she were trying to cover up) that he would have to arrest her and that he ‘really didn’t want to arrest [her]’.
Savvy Shukla was left distraught by the incident [Photo: Facebook/Savvy Shukla]
“I’m so upset about it and I understand why this type of harassment can cause mums to stop,” Savvy continued in her post before thanking a paralegal called April who stepped in to help by taking the officer’s picture and getting his name.
Since uploading, the post has been shared almost 78K times and received hundreds of comments from people shocked by the incident and offering their support.
“I’m so sorry you had to go through that! How disrespectful!!! A police officer is supposed to protect you and your rights, not harass you for feeding your child!” one mum wrote. “I literally can not comprehend how and why someone would get so offended over something so beautifully simple.”
“You feed your baby wherever and how ever you want. If people get offended, they’re too immature to understand the concept of a hungry child and the purpose of female breasts. So proud of you for standing your ground! Society today is absolutely absurd. Stay true to you mama!” added another.
Savvy has since reported the incident to the management at Piggly Wiggly and has spoken to several outlets in an effort to end the shame surrounding breastfeeding in public.
Earlier this week Muscogee County Sheriff John T. Darr responded with an apology.
“I have seen and am aware of a post circulating Facebook, regarding a situation between a Muscogee County deputy and a woman attempting to breastfeed her young child. My wife and I have four children, each of whom were breastfed, and two of my daughters now have small children of their own. Therefore, I fully understand and appreciate the right of a woman to feed her child wherever she is most comfortable.”
“It is also the law in the state of Georgia. We are currently looking into this incident and it will be addressed. Our office does not condone these actions and will ensure all officers know and understand the law,” he continued.
“On behalf of the Muscogee County Sheriff’s Office, I would like to personally extend an apology to the woman involved, and we hope that she knows that these are not the opinions or practices of the office as a whole.”
He later explained that the investigation into the incident was ongoing but that “regardless of the outcome, we would like to ensure that a situation like this does not happen again in the future. We have sent out a reminder to all of our deputies, that in accordance with Georgia law, a woman has a legal right to breastfeed wherever she needs to, without having to cover up. Additional training shall follow,” he added.
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