“What Were You Wearing?” This Sketch Nails The Absurdity Of Questions Directed At Victims Of Sexual Assault

There are many incidents of sexual assault that go unreported. Victims that do commit to the complicated process of filing an official report are often discouraged and insulted by the initial interview. Questions like “what were you wearing?” perpetuate victim-blaming and insinuate that is was the victim’s own behavior at fault.  This brilliant video accentuates the absurdity of this misogynistic method of questioning that unfortunately still frequently happens.

The sketch is a collaborative effort between It’s On Us, The White House’s campaign to stop sexual assault, and PYPO, which is described as a “A Comedy, Community, Conversation kind of Network” on their website. PYPO stands for “Put Your Pretty On.” I know, I was turned off by this too, but after reading about the mantra’s origin, I feel much better about it.

“One day, when our founder and creative director’s daughter was 4, her daughter told her she couldn’t leave the house until she “put her pretty on.” Slightly freaked out, and not sure where she got that from, Stephanie watched as her daughter put her chapstick on and realized, in that moment, it would be her job to explain “pretty” to her daughter. A word inundated with cultural and societal pressures, a word that we all want to be called but not defined by, a word that to her four year old meant chapstick. Instead of trying to define a word, PYPO became their mantra for how they live their lives and give back to the world.PYPO represents “pretty” from the inside out, however you choose to define it.”

The sketch PYPO produced is titled “Asking For It” and features a woman reporting a sexual assault while dressed in a chicken suit. The woman explains that she was wearing the suit at the time of the assault. The man then takes a condescending tone (which the actor masterfully maintains throughout) and insists that the costume is  “pretty figure-hugging, isn’t it?” which highlights how absurd and misogynistic the interrogation process often is for women in this situation.

“You said “no” with your mouth, but did you say “no” with your body?”

The sketch is extremely well executed and leaves no room for misinterpretation. Victims are never “asking for it” regardless of what they are wearing. Watch the video and read more about the efforts of  PYPO and It’s On Us by visiting their websites.