Wednesday, August 27, 2014

"Modesty" and Assault

I can't believe we are still having this conversation.

Upworthy has a video discussing cat calling and assault. (Some language, but good.) It was positive to see a video linking cat calling and assault, especially after the recent proclamation that women should take being harassed as they walk in public as a compliment. Then I did a stupid thing. I looked at the comments. On a pro-life Facebook page's post about the video.

Ladies. Gentlemen. It was embarrassing. If you watch the video, I am sure you can guess what I saw in the combox, so I won't bother repeating it here.

I'm not going to write about the danger zone we've created with modesty talks. I've seen it written better than I can manage dozens of times. Many of those posts come from Calah Alexander, BUT SHE IS RIGHT.

I have covered (no pun intended) the subject of sexual assault before. I have even detailed my own experience with assault.

Today, there is only one message I want to pass on. If you are conservative, against abortion even in cases of rape, Christian, Catholic, traditional... Stop. Stop making assault hinge on what a woman is wearing. JUST STOP. The crime lies in deciding someone else's body is there for your amusement and pleasure. The crime is deciding you do not have to keep your hands or your words to yourself. The crime is in taking without consent.

Stop. Refocus your thoughts. This is not about destroying men or their fun times. It is about destroying the idea that a woman is there for your pleasure, and that you have a right to take what you want without asking.

Stop. When you say that men and women should show respect and reverence for one another and that marriage and sex is sacred, no one is listening if you follow that by calling a woman a whore for wearing short shorts. No one is listening when you say that all life is sacred, even in the womb, if you follow that noble statement by saying a woman deserves to be assaulted if the way she dresses does not meet your approval.

Do you need to know why no one is listening? Women of all shapes, sizes, colors, and backgrounds experience assault, harassment, and rape. Everything about what you do, how you walk, how you talk, what you are wearing, and how you look can be re-framed. Don't believe me? Potato salad.


  1. Gah. I tried to comment on the blog, but it kept freezing on me. Darn internet. Anyway, I agree. I feel like there are a lot of things that are stacked against us in this culture. It doesn't excuse it one bit, but I know it makes the battle harder and it easier to slip into that realm of thinking. I think post assault of myself I totally thought this way just because well, it was what I was told. Somedays, I kind of want to live in a culture where modesty isn't how much skin you cover but how you present yourself.

  2. Jess, I am so sorry for what happened to you, and you are a strong and brave woman to share your story. What a complex world we live in as woman are supposedly "liberated" in so many ways, yet it is as if we are defined solely by our sexuality because of our pornographic culture.


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