After the emergence of Harvey Weinstein’s history of sexual harassment and assault and the widespread takeover of Alyssa Milano’s #MeToo social media campaign, sexual violence against women has taken a spot as one of the hottest talking points and controversies today. So many people have spoken out, from politicians to celebrities.
Eddie Bernice Johnson, a congresswoman from Texas, recently decided to argue her own point about sexual assault: that it isn’t just men that are responsible for sexual violence against women. Johnson says that women are responsible in their own ways.
In an interview with NBC 5, Johnson said the following:
“I grew up in a time when it was as much the woman’s responsibility as it was a man’s — how you were dressed, what your behavior was. I’m from the old school that you can have behaviors that appear to be inviting. It can be interpreted as such. That’s the responsibility, I think, of the female. I think that males have a responsibility to be professional themselves. … I think we also need to start talking about the power that women have to control the situation. There’s law enforcement, you can refuse to cooperate with that kind of behavior. I think that many times, men get away with this because they are allowed to get away with it by the women.”
Johnson goes on to say that “supporting all women in this fight will continue to be [her] life’s work.”
Is it just me or does that point totally contradict itself? You support women in the fight against sexual assault, only to turn around and say that women should be held responsible for how they dress and their sexual behavior. As a victim of sexual assault myself, I know that it is never the victim’s fault regardless of what they wear or what someone else thinks of their behavior. Nobody is ever asking for it.
According to a recent ABC News/Washington Post poll, 54% of women have experienced unwanted sexual advances from men at some point in their lives. 34% of women have been harassed by men that they know and 25% of women have experienced both harassment and sexual assault in the workplace.
It might be hard for Congresswoman Johnson to understand this, seeing that she grew up in a different time and a different generation, but everyone needs to stop “victim blaming.” No, Eddie Bernice Johnson, women are not to blame for their sexual assaults. And most women that find themselves in this situation are not in control. The victim is never to blame.