Opinions, Context & Ideas from the TPM Editors TPM Editor's Blog

The 'But What Were You Wearing?' Rape Myth


Before long, Fox was inundated with hundreds of tweets. The Root's Jenée Desmond-Harris has a sampling of them here, and they are completely worth reading, even if they are difficult to get through. (If you're brave enough, reading through @Steenfox's feed gives you the raw, unfiltered version of it.)

This serves to simultaneously destroy two myths about rape, first that it is rare and that you probably don't know anyone who has suffered assault -- too many of the tweets related clothing that they were wearing as children and that the perpetrators were relatives or family friends. The second is that what a victim is wearing matters at all. This is one of the hardest things for many who haven't been victimized to understand about rape: it isn't about sex; it's about power.

The detailed and visceral responses Fox received surprised even her, and her own words explode the "what was she wearing" myth: "I really hope that this opens peoples' minds that what you are wearing has absolutely nothing to do with whether you are assaulted," Fox told The Root. "It's just regular, everyday people that these things have happened to."


"Stock Photo: Shopping Sale Background Theme" on Shutterstock

About The Author


Kay Steiger is an associate editor at Talking Points Memo. She formerly worked at Raw Story, Washingtonian magazine, the Center for American Progress and The American Prospect. Her work has appeared in The Atlantic, the Guardian, Jezebel, AlterNet and others. She graduated from the University of Minnesota. Contact her at kay@talkingpointsmemo.com.