The Red Dress
Did Felicity “ask for it” by dressing provocatively?
In touring the live production of Far From The Heart, there never fails to be a lot of debate around what Felicity chooses to wear to the party – the red dress. Some people think it’s hardly revealing at all, some people think it’s far too mature for her age. Some people think that she is too dressed up for a high school party, some people think she could be even more dressed up. Some people think she’s sending the wrong signals, some people think she looks great but isn’t as confident as her dress suggests and that’s why she was hesitant about wearing it. And, always, some people wonder whether she might not have been sexually assaulted if she was wearing something, anything, other than that scandalous dress!
In other words, a lot of people think a lot of different things about what Felicity was wearing. What matters is how Felicity felt. What matters when you pick out your clothes is how you feel – do you feel confident? Do you feel fabulous? Do you feel shy? Do you feel adventurous? Do you feel sparkly? Do you feel casual? Do you feel like trying something new? And most importantly, do you feel comfortable?
So what are the statistics about provocative dress and rape? The reality is that research shows that most convicted rapists don’t remember what their victim was wearing. In fact, a Federal Commission on Crime of Violence Study found that only 4.4% of all reported rapes involved provocative behavior on the part of the victim – in murder cases 22% involved such behavior (which could be as simple as a glance).
These numbers clearly show that what someone wears is not related to their chances of being raped. No one deserves to be sexually assaulted – dresses are rarely more revealing than a swimsuit, and everyone can agree that going to a swimming pool or the beach is not an invitation for sexual assault. Women do not “ask” to be raped by their clothing choices, and should never be considered an invitation for sexual assault – slutty or not.