When a woman believed an autistic man was looking at her breasts, she subjected him to an electrical shock for his “bad behavior.” She ended up in trouble with the law, but did she get what she deserves?
Hollie Baker, a 29-year-old woman of Maidstone, Kent, found herself in hot water after she delivered a debilitating shock to 42-year-old Lee Pearson, an autistic man who Baker accused of ogling her breasts. Baker shocked the unsuspecting man with an illegally owned taser before she allegedly ran off laughing as he writhed in pain on the ground. She likely wasn’t so amused when the law caught up with her.
Tasers, which can give shocks of up to 50,000 volts, are illegal for the public to own in the UK, according to The Sun. Baker was arrested for possession of an electrical incapacitating device and for assault by beating. Although she pleaded guilty, Baker still attempted to defend her actions when she appeared in front of the UK Maidstone Crown Court. In addition to telling the court that the autistic man was staring at her breasts, Baker also alleged that she was uncomfortable because he was standing too close to her as they chatted in the street.
“I asked him to move back many times,” Baker said, presenting her account of events to the court. “He was looking at my breasts quite a lot. I jabbed him in the side and said, ‘Get away from me.'”
However, Pearson told a different story. According to his testimony, he was on his way to the local library when he saw Baker, who lived in the same part of Maidstone, England. Pearson said he and Baker had known each other for a year, and they struck up a conversation. While he and Baker were having a personal chat, Baker zapped him in the back with a taser. “She thought it was funny. It was like being stabbed — it was horrifying,” he said of the taser.
Pearson said he considered both Baker and her boyfriend friends and that he had not looked at Baker’s breasts or meant to make her uncomfortable. “No, I was looking at her hair. I didn’t look at her in a sexual way,” he said. Pearson acknowledged that his Asperger’s syndrome sometimes causes him to unwittingly stand close to people in conversation and fix his eyes on them, Mirror reported, but he said that wasn’t the case when Baker tased him.
Instead, Pearson alleged that he and Baker were talking about his autism when Baker launched an unprovoked attack. “Wasn’t standing close to her. I was talking to her about my Asperger’s syndrome,” Pearson recalled. “The next thing I knew she tasered me on the back. I was terrified. I ran down the road and called the police.”
The prosecution accused Hollie Baker of being a bully, alleging she had just gotten “a new toy” and wanted to “have a go at” Lee Pearson, knowing he was vulnerable. Baker, of course, denied that she knew about Pearson’s condition at the time she tased him and said she had gotten the illegal taser for her protection when she takes her dogs on late-night walks after she was previously struck by a man.
Although she stood accused of running off laughing as Pearson writhed in pain, Baker’s version of events concluded quite differently. She alleged that she was distraught and rushed home to her boyfriend after the incident. “I ran home in tears to my partner,” she said. “It was ‘Oh my god, what have I done?'”
Baker’s lawyers tried to excuse her behavior, saying that she has mental disorders of her own. In addition to being bipolar and having schizophrenia, they claimed that she had to take prescription drugs to sleep. Their defense didn’t seem to matter, however, as she was sentenced to 16 months in jail, according to Kent Online.
While awareness of sexual misconduct has increased with the #MeToo movement, some argue that innocent encounters are being misconstrued as men are excessively vilified. Is that what happened here? Even if Baker’s allegations were true, it would definitely seem that she took things to the extreme. After all, she tased Pearson in the back, and men don’t have eyes in the back of their heads.
Women and girls definitely deserve to feel safe, but the same should go for men and boys. Being tased when you present no clear danger doesn’t exactly fit that description. The UK court seemed to agree. In the U.S. justice system and American society, however, we often see women getting a slap on the wrist while men are seemingly guilty until proven innocent since it’s become “taboo” not to believe the “victim.” Some think that’s okay, but others see a double standard.