USA Olympic gymnast Aly Raisman is the latest among many women in the public eye to speak out about her experiences as a survivor of sexual assault. BET reports the athlete recently appeared on 60 Minutes to raise awareness about rape culture as well as share her story after recently revealing she had been sexually abused by Larry Nassar, the disgraced USA Gymnastics doctor who has been accused by more than 100 women and girls of abuse over the span of decades.
Unfortunately, one of her teammates on the gold medal-winning 2012 Women’s Olympic Gymnastics team doesn’t exactly share her opinions when it comes to the steps society should take in combating rape culture. When Raisman tweeted that women should be able to dress at they please without fearing they will be harassed or assaulted because of it, Gabby Douglas didn’t hesitate to express she disagrees:
Douglas quoted the tweet and in response (in a now deleted tweet) shared:
“However it is our responsibility as women to dress modestly and be classy.”
“Dressing in a provocative/sexual way entices the wrong crowd.”
Athlete Simone Biles came to Raisman’s defense before Douglas was able to delete the tweet to call out her victim-shaming behavior:
Biles wasn’t the only one who took offense to Douglas’s opinion and the internet erupted in response to the Douglas’s victim-shaming:
When Douglas implied that victims of sexual assault in some way contribute to their own harassment by tweeting “it goes both ways”, many questioned where does one draw the line? Does a young athlete in a leotard invite harassment? What about a little girl in a swimsuit at a pool party? When we begin to debate about what women should wear to avoid harassment it takes the responsibility off of perpetrators to exercise self-control and practice respect for women regardless of how they dress.
Douglas eventually apologized and said her words were taken the wrong way, but I have to say, most us got exactly what she was trying to say:
Unfortunately, Douglas is just a famous face behind an opinion many people share which proves that when it comes to rape culture and sexual assault, we’ve got some difficult conversations ahead of us.