A mom’s account of her experience at the store Marshalls in Oregon has gone viral, outraging nursing mothers everywhere.
Karina Gomez says she was shamed for breastfeeding while shopping at a Marshalls in Portland. She posted a photo on the department store’s Facebook page and wrote a detailed account of the incident.
“Yes, this is me sitting on a toilet feeding my sweet, Katalina Maria, after I was denied my right to breastfeed where I wanted to by a #marshalls employee. I was denied to breastfeed in a dressing room, instead I was directed to a bathroom stall to breastfeed. What a way to treat breastfeeding customers, shaming them for breastfeeding, making them feel embarrassed that you need to feed your child. I am angry, upset, but more so humiliated. My rights have been violated.”
Oregon law does protect the right of nursing mothers to breastfeed their children in public, and Marshalls issued a statement to local news station KGW apologizing for the incident.
The statement read:
“Thank you for reaching out to us. We have a breast feeding policy in place which instructs Associates to allow customers to breastfeed as they choose within stores. We have looked into this matter and regret that it may not have been followed in this instance. We have asked the customer involved to reach out to us directly so we may resolve the matter and again, apologize for any inconvenience. "
But the apology wasn’t enough for Julianna Gjerman, a local mother who was outraged by the incident.
“I felt that was ridiculous, I felt like they should have contacted her directly and taken care of it themselves,” Gjerman told KGW. “It's shameful, it's embarrassing. Here's another story of a mom who was shamed for breastfeeding in public.
“I've seen quite a few of them.”
Gjerman added she is helping to organize a “nurse-in” at the Marshalls store on Monday at 11:30 a.m. She hopes the event will send a strong message to the department store and businesses everywhere.
“They need to train their employees,” Gjerman added. “I think all retail, restaurants, they need to be more aware of how to approach situations like this, and be more appropriate.”