Since coming forward last year as a survivor of former USA Gymnastics team doctor Larry Nassar, Olympic gold medalist Aly Raisman has become a prominent voice and advocate for victims of sexual violence. Now her passionate words from her victim impact statement are being used—presumably without her consent—to promote another cause that is not at all near and dear to her heart: wearing a hijab.
This video, which was tweeted by Iran’s Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei, features other women, some of them prominent like Senator Elizabeth Warren, talking about their own #MeToo experiences. With the backing of dramatic music, this all builds up to the Supreme Leader’s exciting solution to stop endemic sexual abuse and assault—the hijab.
“By introducing hijab, Islam has shut the door on a path that would pull women towards such deviation. Islam does not allow this [sexual abuse and violence],” he said in the video.
Why am I so certain that Raisman does not endorse this message? Well, because she has made some pretty strong statements about severing the link between modest dress and respecting women. When she posed naked for this year’s Sports Illustrated Swimsuit issue, for instance, she said that “women do not have to be modest to be respected.” A video that is yet another entry into the “but what were you wearing?” genre of blaming women for their assaults is both extremely stupid and extremely not Aly Raisman.
Of course, we don’t have to look all the way to Iran to find people espousing a message that modesty keeps women safe from assault and harassment. We can find Hollywood actresses much closer to home who will say as much in the op-ed pages of The New York Times.