Your Clothes Have Nothing to Do With Being Raped
The Harvey Weinstein rapes and assaults have brought a conversation back from the dead and I'd like to see it put back in the graveyard. The conversation is dressing to avoid unwanted attention. The idea just. Doesn't. Work.
In the New York Times, Mayim Bialik wrote about how awful Hollywood is regarding the abuse of women. One part of her piece has seen an angry response.
I still make choices every day as a 41-year-old actress that I think of as self-protecting and wise. I have decided that my sexual self is best reserved for private situations with those I am most intimate with. I dress modestly. I don’t act flirtatiously with men as a policy.
I am entirely aware that these types of choices might feel oppressive to many young feminists. Women should be able to wear whatever they want. They should be able to flirt however they want with whomever they want. Why are we the ones who have to police our behavior?
In a perfect world, women should be free to act however they want. But our world isn’t perfect. Nothing — absolutely nothing — excuses men for assaulting or abusing women. But we can’t be naïve about the culture we live in.
There's an idea in there I feel I need to address. After spending a life in broadcasting, and talking to so many rape/abuse/assault specialists, there's something they've said over and over.
Dressing modestly, is not a rape prevention technique. Modestly dressed women are raped. Geriatric women in hospital gowns are raped. 13 year olds in footie pajamas are raped. The sad reality is 7 out of 10 rapes are committed by someone known to the victim (source).
It's not the clothes.
ps - While I disagree with MB on this, I want to say this doesn't make her a bad person, or a person with bad ideas. I agree with other things positions whole it should be pointed out she also make a ton of sense in other areas. Like a child having a right to say no to being touched by anyone, including a family member.
From the video:
"You do not have the right to touch someone if they don't want to be touched. That goes for friends, girlfriends, neighbors, even family. And if you don't want to be touched, even by your own mother, you have a right to not be touched. Absolutely. With no exception."