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Kaptur dress code proposal sends wrong message: Darcy cartoon

December 15, 2017 GMT

Kaptur dress code proposal sends wrong message: Darcy cartoon

CLEVELAND, Ohio -- Have the Taliban taken over Toledo? Seems as if they may have after Rep. Marcy Kaptur proposed a stricter female dress code for Congress, arguing attire she considered inappropriate invited sexual harassment.

“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,” Kaptur said Wednesday, during a private Democratic Caucus meeting on combating sexual harassment.

“Maybe I’ll get booed for saying this, but many companies and the military [have] a dress code.” Kaptur continued. “I have been appalled at some of the dress of...members and staff. Men have to wear ties and suits.”

The Taliban also has a female dress code. Apparently because Taliban men are too weak and insecure to control themselves.

Politico, which broke the story, reported that Kaptur’s comments left nearly everyone in the room aghast with their mouths agape.

Later Wednesday, Kaptur released a statement to Politico, Cleveland.com and other news outlets, claiming she wasn’t trying to blame the victims.

“When I was first elected to Congress my office and I became a refuge for female staffers who had been mistreated by their bosses. Some of them in tears many days. It is something I carry with me to this day and something I brought up during our Caucus meeting. 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 here and in society at large.”

Had a male election opponent suggested the way women dressed invited sexual misconduct, Rep. Kaptur would likely blast him, justifiably. If a defense attorney in a rape case suggested the victim was asking for it with the way she dressed, Kaptur would likely loudly object.

Without actually seeing what Kaptur deemed inappropriate dress, It can’t be judged whether or not her description is accurate, and it’s a moot point anyway. The way a person is dressed, deemed provocative or not, is not a legal justification for the illegal acts of harassment, assault or rape.

A Washington Post story reported that a Federal Commission on Crime of Violence study had found that just 4.4 percent of all reported rapes involved “provocative behavior.” The same study found most convicted rapists didn’t remember what their victims were wearing.

The same WP story noted that studies have shown women who dressed in layers, and totally covered, with high necklines, were more likely to be raped.

Women working in Congress don’t need a stricter dress code. Male lawmakers in Congress need to follow the law.

Kaptur wrote that “under no circumstances is it the victims fault if they are harassed in any way,” That’s correct, even including circumstances of a “member...with her cleavage so deep it was down to the floor.”