Actress Mayim Bialik has apologized following a backlash against her New York Times op-ed suggesting that dressing and acting modestly is protection against sexual assault and harassment.
In the op-ed Friday, written in response to allegations of sexual assault against Hollywood mogul Harvey Weinstein, the observant Jewish actress said she has long made decisions that she considers “self-protecting and wise.”
“I have decided that my sexual self is best reserved for private situations with those I am most intimate with,” Bialik wrote then. “I dress modestly. I don’t act flirtatiously with men as a policy.”
In a tweet late Wednesday, Bialik said she was “truly sorry for causing so much pain” with her comments.
“What you wear and how you act does not provide any protection from assault, nor does the way you dress or act in any way make you responsible for assault; you are never responsible for assault,” she wrote.
— Mayim Bialik (@missmayim) October 18, 2017
Social media users had said that in the op-ed Bialik was insinuating she had not been sexually harassed or assaulted due to her choices and that she was contributing to victim blaming.
The op-ed was published as countless women around the world recounted their instances of sexual harassment and abuse using the hashtag #MeToo.
On Monday, Bialik defended her column in a Facebook Live video event with The Times.
She said women can’t avoid being “the victim of assault by what you wear or the way you behave.” She added that she regrets that the piece “became what it became.”
“I am deeply, deeply hurt if any woman in particular who has been assaulted, or man, thinks that I was victim blaming,” she said.