Female public urination more commonPosted: March 6, 2012
They squatted next to a trashcan in an empty parking lot — urinating.
Morgan Elizabeth Wright, 18, and Andrea Charlotte Thomas, 19, were arrested in early January on charges of underage possession of alcohol and possession of fake identifications, according to a police report. An officer approached them as they were both still urinating.
Female urination may not be as common as male urination, according to University Police Chief Jimmy Williamson. But recent crime reports show more female students may be willing to squat and relieve themselves in public.
Of the five public urination cases reported by The Red & Black during January and February, three of them included female offenders. All of them had charges of either public intoxication or underage possession of alcohol.
University Police Chief Jimmy Williamson said he was unable to tell if most cases usually concerned males or females. He said the five cases in the last two months were not enough to determine whether most offenders were females.
He said he did not track the cases that way either, but he would assume most cases usually concern males.
In another incident, Megan Cancila Nicole, 20, was approached by officers while she “squatted down beside a green Jeep urinating,” according to a police report.
She was arrested on Jan. 20 on charges of underage possession of alcohol and urinating in public, according to a University of Georgia police report. Ten days after Wright and Thomas were arrested.
Several emails and calls to Women’s Studies professors and sociology professors at the University were not returned.
Cecilia Herles, assistant director of the Institute for Women’s Studies, said she had no comment on the matter of female public urination and said she did not know anyone else in the department that could comment.
According to Williamson, however, the reasons for public urination across the board may simply be a lack of better judgment.
“Most people who are in a sober state try to find a location. The difficulty seems to turn late at night or in the morning,” he said. “We don’t have a problem with people on North Campus right now having to go to the restroom and hiding behind a tree. They would go to a facility. But I think when it is late at night and there are less spaces open and the fact that you’re inebriated makes for some poor decisions.”
And though such an incident could create an awkward situation for offenders in a sober mindset, under the influence of alcohol there is little awkward interaction between the officer and the female offender.
“If I walked in on you and you were sober, there would probably be some huge embarrassment on the violators part,” Williamson said. “But with the alcohol, they don’t rationalize it how they would if they were sober.”
He said, on the part of the officer, most do not find it awkward either. Williamson said police officers encounter different situations every day, and they almost become immune to the situations.
“But when it’s your job, and you’re confronting people all the time and they’re making bad decisions, you just confront them based on the fact that they’re breaking the rules, breaking the law,” he said.
He said he has even encountered female public urination under his role as police chief.
“I did and I’ve seen it even as a chief on football game days,” he said. “I’ve run into it. They’re dressed nicely — they have nice shoes on and a very nice dress and they’re squatting there going to the restroom.”
The Athens statute for public urination charges those who decide to relieve themselves in public $210. But the crime deserving of this fine may not even be a consequence of a heavy night of drinking in combination with a shortage of bathrooms.
On average, most downtown bars have three to four stalls for ladies to use.
The bar Sideways, for example, has three stalls.
On any given weekend night, Sideways sees anywhere from 300 to 600 people come in and out of the bar, according to Co-owner Baker Martin.
He said, however, the longest line for the restroom was not for the female restroom, but for the male restroom.
“Normally it is the guys bathrooms that have the longer lines just because of where it is in the bar,” he said. “When you walk straight back, that’s the guys’ so a lot of people get cut off when you’re going to the deck.”
Martin said he and his staff have caught males urinating in places other than the restrooms.
“We’ve caught people going in the stairwell peeing before, peeing off the deck, out in the hallways, out in the back door,” he said. “They’re excuse will be they didn’t know where the bathroom was or the line was too long.”
But Martin said none of the offenders he has ever encountered are females.
“I don’t think I’ve ever caught a girl,” he said. “If I have, I didn’t know it.”
He said cleaning up after these offenders and others was the worst part of the night, but his crew had a good routine settled which made it go by much faster when bartenders are ready to go home at the end of the night.
Still those customers who do make it out of the bar but decide the walk to the next bar or the walk home is too long to hold it may find themselves arrested.
The five public urination cases reported by The Red & Black all included alcohol related charges, and according to Williamson, urinating in public whether you are male or female may be the tip that pushes officers to arrest.
“You’re bringing attention to yourself if you decide to urinate,” he said. “Some people don’t even try to conceal themselves. They’re either squatting out on the sidewalk or between two cars or out in the middle of the street. But they’re not in their sound mind.”