Congresswoman blames women with 'revealing clothes and deep cleavage' for sexual harassment
Kaptur made the statement when she was in a closed-door Democratic caucus meeting, which was held to address sexual harassment issues.
Referring to the recent sexual misconduct scandal that is sweeping the country, a Democratic congresswoman on Wednesday said that she believes that some female lawmakers and aides invite sexual harassment by the way they dress.
Representative Marcy Kaptur of Ohio, while addressing a group of colleagues, said: "I saw a member yesterday with her cleavage so deep it was down to the floor. And what I’ve seen … it's really an invitation," a Politico source stated.
Reports state that Kaptur made the statement when she was in a closed-door Democratic caucus meeting, which was held to address sexual harassment issues.
The Congresswoman, 71, also suggested that women should consider wearing military-style uniforms to ward off potential harassers.
"Maybe I'll get booed for saying this, but many companies and the military [have] a dress code," Kaptur said. "I have been appalled at some of the dress of... members and staff. Men have to wear ties and suits."
Recently, three Congress members - Senator Al Franken, Representative John Conyers, and Representative Trent Franks - resigned from their positions after they were accused of sexual misconduct by women. The rampant sexual harassment allegations in the political arena have left Congressional leadership grappling over how to come to a solution to this serious issue.
BREAKING— Joseph Sachter (@NYEDMD) December 13, 2017
Representative Marcy Kaptur announces new suggested uniform for female Congressional staffers. pic.twitter.com/JqfEqUVPkT
Kaptur, however, later attempted to clarify her statement saying that she did not intend to suggest that women were responsible for the action of the harassers.
"Under no circumstances is it the victim's fault if they are harassed in any way. I shared the stories from my time here in the context of the 'Me Too' legislation and how we can elevate the decorum and the dress code to protect women from what is a pervasive problem here and in society at large," she told Politico. Kaptur has been in Congress since 1983.
Hi @RepMarcyKaptur, you sound out of touch. The clothes a woman wears doesn't invite sexual harassment, groping, assault or rape. No one has the right to touch anyone. Take a seat. https://t.co/uyI3Xte0jy— Ricky Davila 🇵🇷 (@TheRickyDavila) December 13, 2017
Although men and women are expected to dress professionally and in accordance with the set rules in Congress, House Speaker Paul Ryan has been working to modernize the dress code. The decision to ramp up the dress code was taken after an outcry over a rule in Congress, which required women to cover their shoulders when they were in and around the House floor.
Blaming the victim for inciting sexual harassment is relatively common, where generally women are held accountable for the sexually aggressive actions of male perpetrators.
Sonia Ossorio, New York president of the National Organization for Women New York, an advocacy group for women and girls, said: "It's a very simplistic viewpoint that's both callous and ununiformed."
Buh bye. Shame is on @RepMarcyKaptur for blaming women for men’s behavior— LSchwamb (@louwala) December 14, 2017
"Women do not invite sexual abuse, and by focusing on the targets rather than the people who are targeting is precisely why we've made so little progress in changing culture, ending male entitlement and keeping women safe," Ossorio said.
She also added that Kaptur’s statement did not conform to the "the laugh-out-loud test," as "victims of sexual harassment range from teenagers in fast food uniforms to grandmothers in scrubs."
Sexual harassment allegations have also put President Donald Trump in a boiling pot, where women are recounting their ordeal anew as the furor - which started during the presidential campaign last year - had died down after Trump's election to the presidency. Nearly 16 women have alleged Trump of sexual harassment.
Trump, in an attempt to fend off the renewed focus on sexual misconduct allegations against him, added more trouble to his woes on Tuesday. The president lashed out at Senator Kirsten Gillibrand - a frequent critic of the president - and said that the New York Democrat came to his office "begging" for campaign contributions and "would do anything" for money.
Gillibrand, who had asked for Trump's resignation a day before because of sexual harassment allegations against him, called his comment a "sexist smear attempting to silence my violence."
"I will not be silenced on this issue," she said. "Neither will the women who stood up to the president yesterday," referring to those who have accused the president of sexual harassment.
Trump had tweeted: "Lightweight Senator Kirsten Gillibrand, a total flunky for Charles E. Schumer and someone who would come to my office 'begging' for campaign contributions not so long ago (and would do anything for them), is now in the ring fighting against Trump," the president wrote. "Very disloyal to Bill & Crooked-USED!"
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