Catholic School to Girls: Your 'Provocative' Outfits Invite Harassment

It’s not particularly surprising to learn that a Michigan Catholic school, which last year made headlines for wanting students to wear “modesty ponchos” over prom dresses deemed too revealing by teachers, has once again fucked up.

Detroit’s ABC 7 reports that dozens of students at Dearborn Divine Child High School are protesting a lesson about rape and sexual harassment by a Campus Life Minister at the school, who, according to students, said that girls who dress provocatively are “contributing to the boy’s and men’s bad behavior and that all the blame is on them.”

ABC 7 played a recording of the tape, recorded by a student, in which the minister says, “Ladies, if you dress provocatively and leave absolutely nothing to the imagination, younger girls look and go, oh my gosh, she’s got plenty of boys around her.”


“Those younger guys go, oh, that’s how you talk about women, that’s how you look at women as an object, something to be dissected,” the voice says.

The outlet reports that about 40 girls protested by wearing paper target signs on their uniforms, to symbolize being “targeted” and “objectified.” They also put up posters at school that read: “Instead of publicly shaming girls for dressing how they want, teach men not to over-sexualize women’s bodies.” According to the students, school administrators gave detention to students who refused to take off the paper targets. Once the posters went up, according to one girl’s father, who spoke anonymously, the school threatened the protesters with suspension.

“He was telling a woman, if you’re dressing a certain way, you’re asking for it,” the father said in support of his daughter.

In a statement to ABC 7, the school said it is “aware of concerns” regarding the minister’s presentation to students, but did not take a stance on the issue. The school also denied allegations that they punished protesters.


“Our students’ comfort, safety and well-being are paramount to their experience at Divine Child High School, and we are taking all concerns seriously,” the school wrote in a statement to ABC 7. “To that end, we have discussed these concerns with some students and parents and welcome input from all of our stakeholders. School administration has no record of students being suspended, issued detentions or otherwise disciplined as a result of this situation.”

Prachi Gupta is a senior reporter at Jezebel.

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catholic school survivor here; please find below a list of some real fuckin gems my school offered me during “sex ed.”

  • a metaphor about how boys & girls live sexual attraction differently. boys are like microwaves, meaning they’re quick to get hot and it doesn’t take a lot of work. girls are like slow cookers, they need time and patience to get there.
  • a fool-proof method for a girl (only a girl) to tell if she’s dressing provocatively: the smurf trampoline. if your shirt is stretched so tight across your chest that a smurf could get a good jump, it’s too tight.
  • a priest who truly could not say the word ‘sex,’ and instead gave us euphemisms like ‘the marital hug.’
  • a nun who, when explaining how we’re only meant to give it up to our future spouse, said “now i’m married to jesus, so i only spread my legs for jesus.”

meanwhile, i did not know there was a third hole for a tampon until i was 17 and i literally found it on accident, because it was inappropriate to discuss how a woman’s body worked. i couldn’t figure out how to use one properly and fully was just laying it in there like a hot dog in a bun, and didn’t understand why i always got blood everywhere but none of my friends seemed to have any issues. then one day i was trying to adjust it to catch more of the blood and accidentally put it where it belonged. but smurf trampolines.