Wrote Bialik, "I want to address my op-ed in the NY Times, and the reaction to it. Let me say clearly and explicitly that I am very sorry. What you wear and how you behave does not provide any protection from assault, nor does the way you dress or act in any way make you responsible for being assaulted; you are never responsible for being assaulted."
Bialik's essay described how, as a woman in Hollywood, Bialik "avoided" sexual harassment. The Big Bang Theory actress implied that she skirted sexual abuse by dressing conservatively and not being a "10."
"As a proud feminist with little desire to diet, get plastic surgery or hire a personal trainer, I have almost no personal experience with men asking me to meetings in their hotel rooms," she wrote in the piece. She went on, "I have decided that my sexual self is best reserved for private situations with those I am most intimate with. I dress modestly. I don’t act flirtatiously with men as a policy."
Modesty is not a form of protection from sexual assault, though. According to a 2011 report from the National Intimate Partner and Sexual Violence Survey, 19.3% of women in the U.S. have experienced rape. That's almost one in five — this is not an issue that can be quelled with a strategic chunky sweater, as many of Bialik's detractors have pointed out.
Days after the essay went live, Bialik released a statement about the backlash. "I... see a bunch of people have taken my words out of the context of the Hollywood machine and twisted them to imply that God forbid I would blame a woman for her sexual assault based on her clothing and behavior," she wrote on Twitter. "It's so sad how vicious people are being when I basically live to make things better for women."
"I was not looking to speak about assault and rape in general," she said. Instead, she wanted to address the "culture of Hollywood."
In response, the actress Martha Plimpton wrote a letter to the editor, which was published Wednesday.
"With all respect to Mayim Bialik on her considerable accomplishments, the positioning of sexual assault and harassment in the entertainment industry as a special club for pretty girls is offensive," wrote Plimpton. The letter was published hours before Bialik tweeted her most recent apology.
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