Aly Raisman, an American gymnast and member of the U.S. women’s Olympic team, posted a message on Friday reminding everyone that a woman’s appearance has nothing to do with whether or not she’s assaulted. Drama ensued when teammate Gabby Douglas responded.
“Just to be clear … just because a woman does a sexy photoshoot or wears a sexy outfit does not give a man the right to shame her or not believe her when she comes forward with sexual abuse,” she wrote.
Raisman has been a vocal advocate for victims of sexual assault and harassment after sharing her experience of abuse by USA Gymnastics team doctor Larry Nassar. An appearance on 60 Minuteslast weekend brought her story to the forefront of the past two months’ allegations of harassment and assault by powerful men across industries.
Raisman’s post drew an unexpected response from Olympic teammate Gabby Douglas, who disagreed.
“However, it is our responsibility as women to dress modestly and be classy,” Douglas wrote on Twitter. “Dressing in a provocative/sexual way entices the wrong crowd.”
Douglas’ comments echoed similar ideas expressed in a recent editorial by actor Mayim Bialik, who seemed to suggest that dressing “modestly” had played a role in keeping her safe from sexual misconduct. Bialik later walked back the comments in an apology.
Teammate Simone Biles responded to Douglas’s comment, expressing her support for Raisman.
shocks me that I’m seeing this but it doesn’t surprise me… honestly seeing this brings me to tears bc as your teammate I expected more from you & to support her. I support you Aly 💕 & all the other women out there!
STAY STRONG pic.twitter.com/CccTzhyPcb
— Simone Biles (@Simone_Biles) November 17, 2017
“Shocks me that I’m seeing this but it doesn’t surprise me,” Biles wrote. “Honestly seeing this brings tears to my eyes bc as your teammate I expected more from you & to support her. I support you Aly & all the other women out there!”
Biles’ defense of Raisman brought Douglas’ input to the attention of a wider audience. Douglas soon apologized.
“I didn’t correctly word my reply & I am deeply sorry for coming off like I don’t stand alongside my teammates. Regardless of what you wear, abuse under any circumstance is never acceptable. I am WITH you. #metoo,” Douglas wrote.
Douglas is 21 years old, and many on Twitter pointed out that the incident seemed to be a learning experience for her.
Let’s talk “cancel culture.” Personally, I am willing to give a lot of grace to young Black girls simply because the world doesn’t. I wasn’t born reading bell hooks. I had to grow. So does Gabby Douglas. And so do some of you.
— Shanita Hubbard (@msshanitarenee) November 18, 2017
Gabby Douglas is young to be a public figure, and I hope she gets the chance to learn from this, but let me make this crystal clear for you on victim-blaming: If a woman wears a fishnet bodystocking and downs a handle of vodka, the only thing she’s “asking for” is a hangover.
— Lauren Duca (@laurenduca) November 18, 2017
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