Modesty has nothing to do with it - www.jewishaz.com: Opinion

Modesty has nothing to do with it

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Posted: Wednesday, November 1, 2017 9:18 am

In response to the Harvey Weinstein scandal and the flood of women coming forward to participate in the #MeToo social media campaign, there have been a number of essays and editorials about the Jewish tradition of modesty. This cultural moment is the wrong time for such a consideration. Connecting the issue of modesty to the crimes of rape, sexual assault and harassment is entirely inappropriate, as it makes the conversation about the behavior of the victim rather than that of the perpetrator.

There is a long tradition of this problematic linkage. In the 1970s, as a journalist at Philadelphia magazine, my father wrote a courtroom dialogue called “The Rape of Mr. Smith.” In the dialogue, a mugging victim, Mr. Smith, is asked the kinds of questions rape victims were then accustomed to during a trial: “Did you struggle with the robber? Did you cry out? Were you wearing an expensive suit? And a nice watch?”

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