The state of sexual assault — and the reporting of it — is pretty dire these days. One in three American women are sexually harassed at work, and we've all seen just how easily high-profile men can get away with assault, and how far they can go.
Yet somehow there is still a baffling, pervasive culture that blames survivors for their own abuse — the implication that there is some secret message hidden in a woman's outfit or tone of voice or cocktail preference that is the real root of why a man has violated her body without her consent.
Thankfully, comic gem Tracey Ullman is here to turn this awful attitude on its hilarious head, via a truly brilliant satire video.
In the most recent episode of Tracey Ullman's Show, Ullman plays a callous and surprisingly familiar (albeit usually male) type of detective dealing with a new crime case. The victim, a young man in a suit, has apparently shown up at the police station to report that he has recently been mugged. Unfortunately for him, the reporting does not go as he likely had hoped.
"Is this what you were wearing when it happened?" Ullman's detective asks, gesturing at the man's nice suit. "You look quite provocatively wealthy... Just a bit of an invitation, isn't it? Like you're advertising it."
The obvious parallel is every accusation that a woman has somehow invited sexual assault upon herself by wearing, say, a short skirt.
When the man becomes upset by the detective's incessant victim-blaming, she calls in a counselor to assist. Except the counselor is just as much of an asshole as the detective. "Oh dear. Had you been drinking?" the counselor asks.
"Yes, because if you'd had a drink it could send out confusing signals," Ullman's character adds in an accusing tone. "Lead somebody on with the nice suit and the phone, and then at the last minute, say 'I don't want to be mugged!'"
You get the picture. It's a spot-on parody that highlights just how absurd the double standard is when it comes to sexual assault versus practically any other crime. The frustrating, stressful, often traumatic results of a dead-end police process are precisely why 63% of sexual assaults go unreported. That's the issue that Ullman nails right on the head.
"The shade and sarcasm is bountiful," Twitter user @divinemalec said of the video. "This feels like a massive (and hilarious) middle finger to victim blaming." We completely agree.
There's just one issue the video gets wrong. As far as "flirty" fonts go: Helvetica? No chance. Baskerville all the way.
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