So, one of the ways racism and misogyny manifest in local and state governments is via legislated dress codes. Of particular popularity in recent years is legislation seeking to prohibit saggy pants, which were never a problem when it was just older white men's buttcracks hanging out in public, but are tantamount to a sign of impending apocalypse when it's young black men (and young white men emulating black men) with droopy drawers and young women with visible thong-tops above low-slung jeans roaming the streets.
Naturally, because she believes in Family Values like covered underwear, Florida State Republican Kathleen Passidomo vehemently supports the "sagging pants" bill which would establish a statewide "student dress code of conduct." How she chose to express her support for this bill, however, is remarkable in its audacity, even for a Republican: Passidomo invoked the Cleveland, Texas gang rape case in which an 11-year-old girl was raped by 18 young men, flatly asserting her clothes were the cause of the crime.
"There was an article about an 11 year old girl who was gangraped in Texas by 18 young men because she was dressed like a 21-year-old prostitute," Passidomo declared.Apart from the heinous victim-blaming, which utterly relieves the perpetrators of any responsibility (while simultaneously suggesting that men can't help themselves from raping a woman if she's "dressed provocatively"), carelessly perpetuating the erroneous belief that following some dress code will protect children from rape is also an exceedingly dangerous game to play.
"And her parents let her attend school like that. And I think it's incumbent upon us to create some areas where students can be safe in school and show up in proper attire so what happened in Texas doesn't happen to our students," she added.
Abiding and indulging false notions about what inoculates children (and adults) against sexual violence has the inevitable effect of giving communities an excuse for not being vigilant about the things that actually support endemic sexual violence.
Passidomo's ridiculous victim-blaming isn't just cruel and wrong; it enables predators, who count on the reliable investment in comforting myths to create opportunities they can exploit.
Protip: Pants don't stop rapists. Dismantling the rape culture does.