jessica tholmer
November 18, 2017 7:37 am
Charley Gallay / KCASports2017 / Getty Images

As we all know, everything is tense and triggering in the world right now. With every new accusation of sexual harassment and assault, there seems to be an equally disappointing defense of that action. Most recently, Olympic gymnast Gabby Douglas replied to teammate Aly Raisman’s passionate post about victim shaming, tweeting that women need to “dress modestly” in order to avoid unwanted advances. Teammate Simone Biles stepped in and called her out, and Douglas has since apologized for her comments criticising Raisman.

We all love the Final Five. Based on their adorable teamwork playing Hungry Hungry Hippos on The Tonight Show and their epic takeover of the White House’s Instagram account, we feel like we’d get along perfectly. Not to mention how impressed we are by their Olympic gold medal count. So Douglas’s misstep feels extra disappointing.

The five women are an inspiration to all of us. Each individual team member has made waves in her own way. Recently, Raisman shared she was sexually abused by Larry Nassar, a former national team doctor for USA Gymnastics who is now in prison. Raisman is not the only one to speak up about Nassar; his name is on a long list of men in power who have taken advantage of women.

On Friday, November 17th, Raisman posted on Instagram about women having the right to dress however they please.

In a now-deleted tweet, Douglas challenged her sentiment.

Douglas was quickly criticized online. Among the disappointed fans was Biles, her Final Five teammate.

First, Douglas tried to clarify what she meant.

But then, Douglas chose to apologize instead.

As women, we should all be there for one another. And when it comes to actual real-life friends, we should definitely be there for one another. Douglas’s suggestion that how women dress is the problem is, well, a problem.

We appreciate Biles for standing up for Raisman and for women everywhere.

And we appreciate that Biles encouraged Douglas to think twice about her words. This year has been a huge growing experience for many people. Even the people we know and love.

Raisman’s experience is traumatizing and horrifying and it should have never happened. We applaud her courage, and we love that Biles stood up for her. Douglas’s apology was quick, and hopefully well received.

And just as a reminder: Sexual harassment and assault have nothing to do with what a person is wearing. To growing and learning — together.

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