A Florida state house subcommittee passed a bill — the so-called “Sagging Pants” bill — that would require state school districts to adopt a dress code that prohibits students from “wearing clothing that exposes underwear or body parts in an indecent or vulgar manner.” “This would make for a better school district and more productive students,” said the bill’s sponsor Rep. Hazelle Rogers (D). Referring to a horrific story of an 11-year old girl in Texas being gang raped by as many as 17 men and boys, GOP florida lawmaker Kathleen Passidomo — taking a page from Fox News host Bill O’Reilly’s book — applauded the measure with an offensive justification:
There was an article about an 11 year old girl who was gangraped in Texas by 18 young men because she was dressed up like a 21-year-old prostitute. And her parents let her attend school like that. And I think it’s incumbent upon us to create some areas where students can be safe in school and show up in proper attire so what happened in Texas doesn’t happen to our students.
“Whoa!” wrote the Broward/Palm Beach New Times’ Brandon Thorp, of Passidomo’s blame the victim approach. Thorp added, “Blaming the rape of an 11-year-old girl on her parents’ sense of fashion — and to do so out loud — smacks of rank amateurism.” A St. Petersburg Times blog reported that “No one commented on that line of reasoning” at the subcommittee hearing. The young Texas girl is currently being held in foster care and her parents are living in an undisclosed location fearing for their safety.
A reader informs ThinkProgress that when asked about her statement, Passidomo responded, “Thank you for your concern, I was not referring to my own opinion to the cause of the rape, but to the cause implied by a March 8th article of the New York Times.”