[This post has been edited for clarity in light of Benedam’s reply below.]
In light of the #MeToo thread, the issue of modesty in how we dress has come up with the usual debate of whether it’s victim blaming to say women shouldn’t be dressed immodestly as that is an invitation to be harassed.
My personal opinion is that even if a woman is walking down the street naked, it does not give any man the right to harass or sexually molest her. He is 100% responsible for how he responds to immodesty. He has a duty to look away if he’s tempted to lust or to take any kind of liberties to obtain sexual satisfaction in thought, word or deed. Indeed, in a situation this extreme it would be quite chivalrous if he would offer her his coat while trying his best to keep his eyes averted.
Having said that, the above principle of the male’s responsibility doesn’t mean that women should have license to walk down the street naked or dressed in a sexually provocative way, not because they should be legally responsible if a man commits a crime against them or that it legally mitigates his responsibility, but because it’s uncharitable. If we are going to be honest, it’s not a secret that men, depending on their personal level of self-discipline, are generally more easily tempted to lust in thought, word or deed at the site of a provocatively dressed woman. Women, in choosing their dress, should keep this in mind as an act of charity for those men who are struggling with fighting temptation or to at least not contribute to the sin of those who don’t even try to fight it.
In a recent article by Anthony Esolen, he stated that both sexes need to be aware of the general weaknesses of the other.
"We must live with one another such as we are. Charity, forbearance, an honest admission of one’s susceptibility to sin, and consideration for the susceptibility of others, particularly members of the opposite sex, whose feelings are sometimes quite different from ours, should govern our choices in dress, speech, and physical deportment.
Do not lay a snare in your neighbor’s path."
What is your position on the modesty issue as it relates to sexual harassment? Is Anthony Esolen’s take a reasonable one that men and women should agree on? (especially for Christians)
Here is his article if you want to get the full scope of his argument