From Uber and now TVF, it has become abundantly clear that official responses to allegations of sexual harassment focus on poking holes in the survivors’ stories rather than the severity of the crime. This is usually done by putting the blame on the victim’s shoulders by suggesting behaviour or attire that may have invited the assault.
In her latest sketch, legendary comedian Tracy Ullman gets at this exact point by turning the situation on its head and having a wealthy man report a mugging.
“Is this what you were wearing when it happened?” asks Ullman’s police officer, while gesturing towards the man’s stylish attire. “You look quite provocatively wealthy... Just a bit of an invitation, isn’t it? Like you’re advertising it.”
As the official continues this line of questioning, the man becomes noticeable upset, so a counsellor is called. She proceeds to make things worse: “Oh dear. Had you been drinking?” she asks, prompting Ullman’s officer to add, “Yes, because if you’d had a drink it could send out confusing signals. Lead somebody on with the nice suit and the phone, and then at the last minute, say ‘I don’t want to be mugged.’”