Monday — April 05, 2021

"What Was He Wearing"

by: Samantha Thornsberry

It’s April, so that means Sexual Assault Awareness month! ’ve been thinking a lot about victim-blaming-and-shaming because it tends to permeate our Twittersphere and social media platforms anytime the topic of sexual harassment or sexual assault comes up. I remembered a poem that I read years ago, written by Mary Simmerling, entitled, “What I Was Wearing?” and couldn’t stop thinking about why no one wants to know what “He” was wearing? You know, the perpetrator of the assault. What was “He” wearing, was it clothing that was loose and easily pulled down, shoved off, nondescript so it couldn’t be described later, was it clean or dirty with DNA? Why aren’t we curious about this? Would it matter if we knew? Yet, our focus remains on what “She” wore, like it will explain, perhaps justify, why her invasion occurred. It’s hard not to be overwhelmed by all the “feels,” of outrage, of unfairness, of helplessness, of such anger that it bubbles like acid in my throat. The thought of the injustice that strangles our sense of reality, reason, and action. One of these days, hopefully soon, we realize that it doesn’t matter what anyone wears. Assault is assault. Rape is rape. Blame and shame should be directed where it belongs, on the perpetrator of the uninvited action. Period.

Check out the poem:

"What I Was Wearing" Poem By Mary Simmerling | Sexual Assault Prevention and Education Center (ku.edu)

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