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The Sexual Assault of Women Isn’t a Problem of Women Drinking

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Ann Friedman’s response to Emily Yoffe is priceless.

I understand Yoffe is well-intentioned and qualified her argument by making it clear that rapists are responsible at least twice. But putting the responsibility for avoiding being raped on women is still very problematic given the context. Consider the justification of the prosecutor who declined to prosecute a young man who had sex with a woman whose blood alcohol content was still 0.13 seven hours later:

Sitting in his nicely decorated town square office — on one wall is a small collection of framed NMSU jerseys, on another is a framed photo of Graves — he defended his decision, calling the rumors of political favors a “total red herring.”

Rice said charges were dropped for lack of evidence, but he added, declining to go into the specifics, that information brought to his attention regarding what happened “before, during and after” the incident also played a role in his actions.

“There wasn’t any prosecuting attorney that could take that case to trial,” he said.

“It had to be dismissed. And it was.”

Making the sexual assault of women about women drinking too much feeds into this kind of illogic even if it doesn’t intend to. Which is one reason that analogies to telling people not to walk in unsafe neighborhoods are null; nobody blames mugging victims for being mugged or refuses to prosecute the mugger because it happened in a neighborhood with an above-average crime rate.

…Amanda Hess has more.

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  • nobody blames mugging victims for being mugged or refuses to prosecute the mugger because it happened in a neighborhood with an above-average crime rate.

    No one blames the mugging victim even if he or she was drunk.

    Of course, since (many) prosecutors decline to try cases like this, the culture won’t change. To paraphrase the Simpsons, they’ve tried nothing and they’re all out of ideas.

    • Picking on Yoffe here just demonstrates the need for a moratorium on this lazy “NO advice on avoiding rape, because IT’S ALL MEN’S FAULT.” Well, yeah. But the rapists aren’t going to read a Slate article and mend their ways.

      I find it slightly, no not slightly, appalling that people with daughters would tell them, “look, you do whatever you want, because if anything happens to you, it’s the guy’s fault.” Well great. I’m sure the most consoling thing to a rape victim is that it wasn’t her fault. Hoo-fucking-ray.

      • Scott Lemieux

        How many people read Slate and aren’t aware that binge drinking is bad?

        • There are people who can read Slate without needing a drink?

          • mantis

            Win.

          • mojrim

            And that would include the editors.

        • I actually think most of the American college age population, of both genders, grossly underestimates how dangerous alcohol is.

          We need to deal with this in a gender neutral way, but alcohol consumption on college campuses needs to go way down.

      • Anon21

        Anderson, Yoffe isn’t (just) a mother trying to keep her daughter safe with some sage advice. She is a person with a prominent media platform shaping the conversation around alcohol and sex, and doing so very deliberately. And she’s using that platform to focus (again, again, again) on victims’ behavior, even though our whole fucking society can hardly take one second to acknowledge a rape victim’s pain before tripping over itself to analyze her behavior in minute detail. She presents herself as a brave truthteller, and yet there could hardly be anything less edgy than the hoary old suggestion that if women don’t want to get raped, they need to be constantly on guard.

        So that’s why everyone hates Yoffe, and why it’s so richly deserved. She also richly deserves to lose her column over this garbage, although it will never happen.

        • MacK

          Actually, Yoffe talked a lot about the perpetrators behavior and with considerable disgust. There were the guys who stayed sober waiting for someone to be wasted, the offer an escort home rapists, the big-man on campus mobilise the fans rapists. All take advantage of the problems in prosecuting their crime that the victims condition creates. The problem is that is hard to see how to remove the advantages that the rapist has, legal and logistic.

          • Anon21

            Yes, she talked about perpetrators as a sort of preemptive defense for the criticism she knew she’d be coming in for. But the article’s focus is clearly on the behavior of female victims. That’s a bad focus; it perpetuates a dynamic where rape victims’ motives and actions are carefully scrutinized for signs of non-perfect victimhood such that if the victim is not outright blamed, at least excuses will be found to regretfully decline prosecution.

            Scott’s point is that when people like Yoffe perpetuate this focus on victims’ behavior, it shapes the instincts of jurors, judges, and prosecutors about what’s important to focus on in a rape case. When they focus on victims’ risk-taking or whatever, they lose focus on the crime that has been committed and the moral necessity of punishing that crime.

      • Origami Isopod

        I’m sure the most consoling thing to a rape victim is that it wasn’t her fault.

        Considering that a LOT of the trauma post-rape is due to people second-guessing and blaming the victim? You bet your ass it is.

        • LeftWingFox

          This this this this this this this.

          • nillions’ irish fred

            How utterly detached from giving a shred of a shit about the victim does Anon21 have to be, to believe that isn’t actually pretty important?

            • VCarlson

              I think you mean Anderson, not Anon21.

      • JL

        I think you are misunderstanding the community role in rape prevention here. According to Steve Thompson’s research, people who want to commit acquaintance rape evaluate their communities and settings. It is true that aiming “Hey, don’t rape!” at someone who wants to rape people is not going to suddenly convince them that rape is bad. But the message isn’t just, or even primarily, to convince them to change their minds about whether rape is bad. It’s to organize communities, to change the lens through which bystanders interpret events, so that communities will be hostile to people who commit, defend, or minimize rape and supportive of people who are raped. So that people who do want to rape someone feel that they are in a community that will be disinclined to let them get away with it (which will make them less likely to go through with raping someone).

        I’m sure the most consoling thing to a rape victim is that it wasn’t her fault.

        I do rape crisis hotline work, and you would be surprised.

        I find it slightly, no not slightly, appalling that people with daughters would tell them…

        How about people with children of any gender teaching them “You should respect other people’s boundaries” and “This is what consent looks like” and “These are signs of healthy relationships and signs of abusive relationships” and “Look out for your friends and your community” and “If someone is sexually assaulted it is the perpetrator’s fault, never the victim’s.”

        • MDrew

          To the last paragraph, the ENTIRE point here is that those should be both/and with teaching girls and young women how to stay safe – that it’s not either/or.

        • mojrim

          The thing is, it isn’t a trade-off we make between teaching those two things. They are neither mutually exclusive nor in opposition. The problem is that I, as an individual, have only minute influence on the larger community’s messaging. I can teach my sons not to rape, but cannot control what my neighbor teaches his. In that environment I am compelled to also teach my daughter how to minimize her risks. Failing to do either would be irresponsible.

      • nillions’ irish fred

        Well great. I’m sure the most consoling thing to a rape victim is that it wasn’t her fault.

        uh………….

        yes, you colossal fuckstick, it is pretty god damn consoling, especially compared with your preference of telling women in advance a bunch of shit that won’t actually prevent them from being raped, but WILL add a fuckpile of guilt to the situation after they are

      • Origami Isopod

        Also, Amanda Hess, rebutting Yoffe:

        Rape is damaging not just in a physical sense but also in a psychological one. It’s common among victims to internalize the crime and blame ourselves. As Gina Tron put it in her powerful Vice essay this year, “I got raped, then my problems started.” Telling women that they can evade rape by not drinking will only exacerbate that problem when it does happen, through no fault of their own. One victim of alcohol-assisted rape Yoffe spoke with said that she was overwhelmed with “shame and guilt” following the assault, and only began to come to terms with the crime when “I realized it wasn’t my fault.” That realization felt like climbing out of a “deep, dark hole.

        I bet that woman feels real swell now, having helped Yoffe create her victim-blaming POS slatepitch.

    • Pat

      This reminds me of the stories about urban African American mothers giving their sons advice on how to act if/when they are stopped by the police.

      Knowing that they are innocent, knowing that they are merely children, does not mean that they won’t end up dead if they handle the interaction wrong.

      I get that the complexities of date rape leave a horrible burden on the victim. But a parent’s desire to teach a child to avoid evil isn’t the problem.

      • Origami Isopod

        Except that, you know, the anti-rape “advice” given out doesn’t do much to prevent rape and actually contributes to the trauma of rape survivors.

        As well as that, like institutional racism, institutional misogyny should be tackled at the root.

        • GoDeep

          I think you raised a good point yesterday OI when you said we should tell ppl not rape. That’s a legitimate issue if you’re dealing with a well intentioned guy who needs to be reminded that consent should be active (“Yes means yes” as Jessica Valenti says).

          The guy who raped the 13yo girl in this piece, though, wasn’t a well intentioned guy. He raped her despite her saying “No” repeatedly. So telling him not to rape has about as much effect of telling Charles Manson not to kill.

          So you must teach people to protect themselves as best they can. You don’t think black ppl learn this from young ages? There are places we just don’t go, and if we must we’re cautious–and often armed.

          • Origami Isopod

            The guy who raped the 13yo girl in this piece, though, wasn’t a well intentioned guy. He raped her despite her saying “No” repeatedly. So telling him not to rape has about as much effect of telling Charles Manson not to kill.

            You are missing the point of the entire culture condoning and excusing his behavior. Which factored into his decision to rape her.

            By the way, any implication that 13-year-old could have “prevented” a larger, stronger boy or man from raping her creeps me right the fuck out.

            • Cheap Wino

              You are missing the point of the entire culture condoning and excusing his behavior. Which factored into his decision to rape her.

              And considering the charges were dropped on top of the reinforcement his society gave him, what do you think the chances he does it again are? But, yeah, we should focus our efforts on telling the women that will interact with him to watch out when they drink. That should take care of it.

              • GoDeep

                The charges weren’t dropped against the guy who raped the 13yo girl. He was convicted & sentenced. Its the guy who raped the 14yo girl who got off.

                No one’s saying, OI, the 13yo girl sh/could have fought him off. What we’re saying is getting drunk, sneaking out of the house, and hanging out with people you’ve been warned are dangerous creeps undermines your own safety.

                My friend’s 15yo daughter recently sneaked 2 guys into the house while the parents were away. They returned home & found the bed broken. My friend asked her, “If those 2 guys had tried to rape you, do you think you could have fought them both off?” as a way of saying maybe you shouldn’t sneak 2 guys into the house while no one is here to help you. Considering the bed was broken & the father of one boy was [a criminally prone NBA player] it wasn’t the worst advice…but you’re suggesting it was.

                • nillions’ irish fred

                  It’s nice that said 15 year old girl now knows that if she’s ever raped, her parents will be there to make sure she doesn’t forget how it’s her fault for committing the rapeworthy sin of having friends over.

                  Considering the bed was broken

                  Oh well, their bed was broken, that makes it totally legit to put a child through a guilt trip about the prospect of getting raped

                • MacK

                  I think the charges were dropped in that case against both rapists, of the 13 year old and the 14 year old, as well as the guy who videoed it.

                  That is why the case is particularly shocking. Situations where the victim was drunk to the point of no-recollection are very hard to prosecute – which is why rapists want to take advantage. Here was a case where despite the 13 and 14 year olds being so drunk, the police assembled a solid case WITH CONFESSIONS – and the DA dropped the charges.

                  So a solid case with drunken 13 and 14 year old victims gets dropped – how else can this be seen other than as blaming the victims?

                  At the heart of the problem is advising young people as to how to navigate safely an imperfect world, explaining how people get victimised by “bad people” and precautions they should take, versus blaming them for been victimised. I understood Yoffe’ article as trying to address that conundrum (except for the headline).

          • Commie University Professor

            There are places we just don’t go, and if we must we’re cautious–and often armed.

            Yes, it’s called a “good guy with a gun”.

  • information brought to his attention regarding what happened “before, during and after” the incident also played a role in his actions.

    For example, that the rapist was the grandson of one of his owners mentors, I mean.

    And that “all the girls want the d.”

    Ummm. Divan? Doorknob? Department? Douchenozzle?

  • Aaron B.

    Yoffe is a notorious teetotaler and I think her article is more driven by her feelings about drinking than her feelings about preventing sexual assault.

    Which doesn’t detract from Friedman’s response, I’m just saying.

    • Denverite

      This. It’s hard to go more than a couple of Dear Prudence sessions before she gets a letter along the lines of: “Dear Prudie, I have a couple of beers once a week, and my husband/wife is telling me to stop because I have a problem, isn’t s/he being unreasonable?”. To which Yoffe invariably answers, “Well, if drinking is so important to you that you can’t/don’t want to stop when your loved one asks you, then I think you have a serious problem.”

      • bassopotamus

        I think it’s irresponsible to give her a platform as an advice columnist.

        • Origami Isopod

          Yoffe is incredibly full of fail on a variety of issues, but she’s par for the course when it comes to “advice” columnists. (Consider Cary Tennis.)

          • Is Will Saletan married? Yoffe and Saletan sound so perfect for each other.

        • Because drinking alcohol is such a wonderful life choice that can never be questioned?

          • Origami Isopod

            Wine has been shown to have modest health benefits when consumed in moderation.

            Also, having a beer or wine with dinner is completely unremarkable in a great many cultures, which distinguish it from drinking to get drunk. Your lack of respect for such cultures is noted, however.

            The unearned moral superiority of teetotalers is a remarkable thing, rather like the unearned moral superiority of “virgins by choice” who look down on all the sluts around them.

      • GoDeep

        In the case you mention I agree entirely with Yoffe, actually. Sure 2 beers a week doesn’t make anyone even remotely alcoholic. But the fact that you’re unwilling to give up drinking despite the fact that it horribly offends your spouse suggests (to me) that you place far too much importance on it. Even a lifetime supply of cold Regab isn’t worth a marriage. Geez.

        • steve

          I think the failure was in marrying someone who is horribly offended by you having a couple of drinks a week. That sort of incompatibility really should have come out during the dating phase.

          • Origami Isopod

            +1

            Go Deep’s comment makes sense only if you value being married, period, more than you value not being married to a control freak with unreasonable standards.

          • slightly_peeved

            the failure is also an advice columnist who doesn’t ask “so WHY does the drinking offend her? have you talked about it?” arbitrary ultimatums don’t sound like the best way to run s relationship.

          • mojrim

            Precisely. That marriage is doomed anyway.

        • EH

          Right, because if you really loved them, you wouldn’t drink both of those beers every week.

          • I’m saving them for my wedding. I mean, my divorce. \/\/hatever.

          • Alex

            Yeah, don’t be greedy. Offer her the other one.

        • Anna in PDX

          Why is your spouse freaking out about it? Why is this not *their* problem and *their* fault for being non-compromising? Maybe they are a control freak, maybe they are being completely irrational, maybe you are actually a heavier drinker than you are admitting in yoru letter to the advice columnist, who knows? However, no matter what is truly going on, it does indeed take two people to compromise in favor of their relationship. If you are always the one compromising, then that relationship is not a healthy one.

          • Timb

            No one drinks ” a couple of beers.” People who deal with alcoholics: doctors, case workers, prosecutors, in my case disability lawyer, know to multiply any reported drinking by at three. People with problems minimize

            • Ronan

              *No one* drinks a couple of beers? No one?
              How is that statement in any way defensible

            • Origami Isopod

              Uh, yeah, actually a lot of people can stop after a few drinks or just one. Personally, I can’t drink more than one drink, so I never do. I’m sorry you don’t seem to know any such people.

            • Hogan

              “The fact that he says he’s innocent proves that he’s guilty! Guilty people always say they’re innocent!”

              I’m married to a person who stops at two. Cram it up your ass.

    • Joshua

      Is it terrible advice for a young woman who doesn’t want to get sexually assaulted, though? I don’t think so. Considering these rapist bros aren’t going to grow a conscience overnight, and society isn’t going to stop protecting them overnight… a young woman living in the real world today should take some steps to protect herself.

      • Karate Bearfighter

        There’s a difference between the advice you give your friends and loved ones as an individual, and policy prescriptions. I will share my years of anti-mugging strategies with my children, but I would never diverting public money from useful crime prevention programs to hold anti-mugging training in schools.

        • Karate Bearfighter

          And I certainly would never ask someone who got mugged what steps they had taken to prevent it as a part of a public discussion about mugging.

        • Julia G

          I don’t follow this at all. So it’s somehow wrong to provide any sort of PSA about how to avoid being a victim of crime?

          • Origami Isopod

            You certainly haven’t been following the thread. Literally or metaphorically.

            • Julia G

              Whoa, sick burn! I’ve been put in my place now. Except, my point stands.

              • Origami Isopod

                You’ve made no “point” that hasn’t been handily debunked dozens of times already in this thread. You aren’t engaging with any of the many cogent arguments that have been made against your opinion.

                • Timb

                  You’re a bit defensive, dogmatic, and pointlessly hostile on this entire thread

                • Origami Isopod

                  Fuck you and fuck your tone trolling. How nice that you can discuss rape in such a dispassionate way. Many of us can’t.

              • EH

                Your point appears to be that you haven’t been able to follow the conversation, in which case it’s a point that defies refutation and stands alone in its clarity. Maybe try re-reading it a few times before asking for mentoring?

        • mojrim

          Why not? If it’s useful to you and yours, why is it not useful to others? I would argue that target hardening (in all it’s forms) is probably the most cost-effective method of crime prevention.

          • Karate Bearfighter

            “Target hardening” is effective at an individual level because it shifts the attention of the criminal to another victim. It’s absolutely reasonable to try to keep people as individuals from becoming a crime statistic, but how is that a useful policy at a social level?

            • I think telling people to lock their cars and not leave valuable things visible on their car seats is a useful policy at a societal level. (Caveat: I think all car burglers are bad people who should be prosecuted.)

              • Origami Isopod

                Aaaaand another implicit comparison of women’s bodies to property. Because we should just lock up our pussies. It’s not like that would impede our freedom of movement…

                • Julia G

                  This is stupid. Are you a troll parodying a feminist? Are we not allowed to learn anything about how to prevent rape from how other crimes are prevented, because doing so “compares women’s bodies to ___.”? What if we only learn from how other violent crimes are prevented?

                • Are you just a troll? Yes.

                • Also, I’d be folding money “Julia” is a dude.

                • Julia G

                  This from someone whose contributions to the thread consist of going through and writing “idiot” and “stupid” after comments you dislike.

                • Origami Isopod

                  Get back to me when “other violent crimes” are habitually followed by victim blaming, victim demonization, threats, and, as in the Maryville case, arson.

                • You haven’t read all my comments have you…idiot?

                • Karate Ratfuck

                  Because we should just lock up our pussies.

                  It’s only at risk if someone actually wants it.

                • Karate Bearfighter

                  “Karate Ratfuck”. That’s nice … I’ll have to use that.

                • Karate Bearfighter

                  Troll.

                • mojrim

                  How do you imagine that? Illustrative comparissons have to be made to make sense of the argument. If not mugging or robbery what do you suggest?

                • Timb

                  Geez, b, Julia has a pretty reasonable point. It’s the sort of thing I tell my teenage daughters

              • Thank you for recycling Camille Paglia’s victim blaming garbage.

            • Serious question: what do you think would happen to the sexual assault rate on college campuses if all the students stopped drinking?

              Clearly at least some assaults are of the “take liberties with a plastered person and claim the victim consented” variety. People seem WAY too sure that this rate could never go down if people stopped drinking.

              • Yolo Contendere

                But that’s not what Emily is suggesting. She is saying women should stop drinking, and hopes it eventually trickles down to the guys. Somehow. If Emily’s column was about both sexes cutting out the alcohol, Ann would not have had to write the column she did.

              • Tristan

                Yoffe would write a column scolding women to smoke less pot

            • mojrim

              One of the things I came to understand from criminal justice studies is that violent crime is overwhelmingly opportunistic. Predators don’t generally leave the house in the morning saying “Today I’m going to jack a car and cripple someone for a gold chain.” Those things predominantly happen when said predator spots prey in possession of something he thinks he might like even if he didn’t think about wanting it until a minute before. It’s the same way a commercial for Cap’n Crunch blows right by anyone that didn’t just run out of breakfast cereal.

              While date rape bros like this exhibit a certain amount of forethought, two conditions are required for them to put a plan in motion to begin with.
              1. Low estimated chance of punishment: This is important, but it’s been addressed quite thoroughly elsewhere and I wish to confine my arguments.
              2. Presence/availability of a good victim candidate: In this case a young, socially vulnerable girl that can be induced to sneak out of her house to attend a party with the rape bros.

              If either if these conditions is not met to a satisfactory degree the plan stops. He can switch targets, he can be assured that he will never face punishment, but if all targets are hardened beyond a certain point he simply cannot proceed. At this point, depending on his degree of rapyness, he will either find something else to do (such as stuffing smaller kids into gym lockers) or escalate rape technique. Thing is, this kind of aggressive, victimizing behavior exists on a distribution curve like nearly everything else, so raising the barrier peels away ever more of them into other pursuits.

              The above is true of most forms of violent crime. This, then, is why I am a devotee of target hardening as a method of actual reduction rather than just redistribution of crime. I do not consider this strategy to be mutually exclusive with others such as increased social opprobrium or chance of punishment, nor do I believe that it “sends the wrong message” about rape. To torture an analogy, it’s like having two signs on your property: “caution, wolves” and “wolves shot on sight.”

          • Origami Isopod

            So women should all be “hardened.” It’s not like, you know, some of us can’t be, due to physical disabilities, or economic limitations, or PTSD. To hell with such women, eh?

            • EH

              You’re being too literal.

              • Origami Isopod

                I understand the metaphor “hardened target,” but I think it’s, at best, a hideously inappropriate term to introduce into such a discussion, and that’s not even touching the issue of where to start with rape prevention.

                • mojrim

                  I think we are having a problem of incompatible analogies. You are speaking of a path with beginning and end points that don’t overlap. I’m speaking of a two-pronged attack.

                  I’m sorry if the terms “hard target” and “soft target” offend you, but they are the words I learned in criminal justice and security studies (and applications). If you accept that some people are predators, and seek out others to target, it works. If you have another set of terms that will substitute I will gladly do so to end this friction. To me words are just word, but I understand it’s not the same for everyone.

      • Ann Outhouse

        The point is not that it’s bad advice. The point is that women have already heard this a million times, we’re tired of hearing it, we don’t need to keep hearing it, and it’s sexist as hell to assume that we do need to keep hearing it. And even more to the point, we’d really like to see as much energy spent on lecturing boys and men on not raping as we see spent on telling women and girls what we already know. We’re not seeing that. We just keep seeing tripe like Yoffe’s article over and over, and very little being done outside the feminist community to address the real problem, which is MEN WHO RAPE and those who defend, enable, make excuses for and cover-up for them.

        • bassopotamus

          Frankly, I think the message that should be repeated over and over again to men and boys is “DON’T FUCK PEOPLE WHO DIDN’T/COULDN’T CONSENT.” I’m not sure there is really anything else that needs to be said about rape.

          • DrDick

            This x 1 million!

          • chris

            Do you really think that repetition would help, though? ISTM that anyone who has rejected this message is aware of it and has chosen to reject it.

            I’m not an expert on the psychology of rapists, though.

            • Origami Isopod

              It’s not just the rapists themselves. It’s an entire society that minimizes the prevalence of sexual assault, others rapists as “monsters” when they are mostly regular guys, and insists that victims could have “done more to protect themselves.”

              You know, rape culture?

              • GoDeep

                You know, OI, millions of ppl, in fact, blamed Trayvon Martin for his own death. Just b/cs they did so doesn’t mean black parents everywhere didn’t have a long talk with our children abt how to deal with cops, how to avoid suspicion, and how to try & avoid rednecks. Just b/cs we talk abt how to protect ourselves doesn’t mean we give a pass to racism. You can oppose racism & still teach black youth how to protect themselves same as you can oppose sexism & still teach young women how to protect themselves.

                • …aaand if you’re trying to keep your daughter of color alive and unscathed by all the forces that want to eradicate her spirit while leaving her beautiful body to be ogled and objectified by the same people who treat her like shiny soulless trash, there’s always drinking too much.

                  For the parents, I mean.

                  I am clear with my kid that drinking lowers her capacity to understand which are the losers and which re the violent rapists. Which is an appropriate message for parents to speak to our daughters.

            • DivGuy

              But they’re also hearing the other message at least as loudly, “she really wanted it” etc. (Or “he really wanted it” — while basically all rapists are men, a significant number of rape victims are men.)

              Ending rape means ending rape culture. As a society, we are decidedly not sending men a univocal message that no means no and consent is always a requirement.

              • Ed

                But they’re also hearing the other message at least as loudly, “she really wanted it” etc.

                And often as not the message is translated as “Don’t do this in order to avoid rape,” but “Do this and you will be raped and it’s your fault because it wouldn’t have happened if you hadn’t been doing X, Y, or Z.” There’s nothing wrong with warning kids of both sexes about the danger of binge drinking in general but in this context you’re walking a very fine line.

                The discussion also demonstrates the way in which rapists, by making examples of a few unfortunates, intimidate all women, limiting their freedom of movement, behavior, and expression. This also applies to the black youths mentioned elsewhere in the thread. That’s how oppression works.

                • Ed

                  That should read “And often as not the message is translated as not…”

            • Anon21

              Reflexively blaming rapists rather than victims for rape would reduce rapists’ social license to operate. Rather than giving a hard look at victims’ behavior, the default would be to have a hard look at the rapists’ behavior, which might include highly relevant questions like “Did you manipulate your victim into becoming so intoxicated that she couldn’t resist you?” and “Have you done this sort of thing before?” And that would it more likely that predator rapists would get locked up after their first rape rather than after their 20th.

            • rvman

              Look up “Sociopath” or “Psychopath” and “Anti-Social Personality Disorder”. Sociopaths are around 1% of the population, and anti-socials aer another several percent. You will find your rapist a fairly large percentage of the time. (Hint, anyone who fits the criteria of the Hare Psychopathy Test isn’t going to pay one moment of attention to stern-faced lectures about how they shouldn’t rape women:

              Facet 1: Interpersonal
              Glibness/superficial charm
              Grandiose sense of self-worth
              Pathological lying
              Conning/manipulative

              Facet 2: Affective
              Lack of remorse or guilt
              Emotionally shallow
              Callous/lack of empathy
              Failure to accept responsibility for own actions

              Facet 3: Lifestyle
              Need for stimulation/proneness to boredom
              Parasitic lifestyle
              Lack of realistic, long-term goals
              Impulsivity
              Irresponsibility

              Facet 4: Antisocial
              Poor behavioral controls
              Early behavioral problems
              Juvenile delinquency
              Revocation of conditional release
              Criminal versatility

              About half of male violent criminals fit one of the two disorders listed above. Probably more of rapists. If you are at a party with 30 people, assume at least one person there is one of these. Probably the guy hanging out by the punch-bowl volunteering to “help” drunk girls get home “safely”.

            • nillions’ irish fred

              ISTM that anyone who has rejected this message is aware of it and has chosen to reject it.

              I’m pretty sure that people like the alleged rapists who are the impetus for this discussion are fully aware that said message is not supported at all by the power structures around them and that said power structures actually give much more prevalence to the opposite message that the problem is the fault of rapists’ victims, especially when the rapists are popular athletes with politically connected families.

            • EH

              Do you really think that repetition would help, though?

              Are you really asking to predict the future? How about this: has it ever been tried?

            • Ahuitzotl

              Actually, yes, repetition in sufficient volume DOES change attitudes and behaviour – that’s very solidly established. Call it education, indoctrination or brainwashing, idc, but it does work. And it’s completely absent in the case of rape attitudes in this society of yours.

        • Denverite

          This. There’s also the little fact when the magic bullet to preventing assault is “women, don’t drink,” then it’s really hard not to imply that assaulted women sorta kinda contributed to their own assault.

          • A whole lot of women get raped without having drunk anything at all. How is advice about not drinking effective in those cases?

            • Denverite

              It’s not, obviously. My point is that telling women not to drink if they don’t want to get assaulted is just another in the long line of “advice” that at least implies — if it doesn’t actually say — that the assault is partially the assaulted woman’s fault.

              • mojrim

                I think you’re making more out of it than is actually there. The words of “how not to be a victim” do not, ipso facto, extend to victim blaming. To dig up the mugging analogy yet again, telling people how to avoid mugging in no way implies that the inevitable muggings which occur are the fault of the muggee. The criminal remains a criminal regardless of whatever the victim did to make it easier for him.

                Rape is a fact, and there are no guaranteed methods to prevent it. Not teaching girls and women steps they can take to reduce their odds is just irresponsible. Of course there will still be women raped that took all the precautions, but the goal is reduction. Don’t make the good the enemy of the perfect.

                • You know what? Ive been female for fifty three years. There has never been a minute of my life as a female since i could toddle when society has not been warning me not to let strangers rape me or steal my sexual value. Not. One. Moment. The idea that girls are not raised to see their bodies and liberty as needing constant guarding and vigilance–and that that fact doesnt harm and imprison them–is just stunningly ahistorical and naive. My body and my life are not a wallet. They are a lived experience. The fact that men can act as though its some kind of friendly gesture to let us know that we could work harder to be more suspicious and guarded every waking and sleeping moment just astounds me. Its part of what makes being female like living in a large prison with no guards to protect you from violent inmates.

                • Origami Isopod

                  You want to reduce our odds?

                  Teach men not to rape, and start when they’re boys.

                  Guess what? It works.

                • DrDick

                  Aimai – I think this captures the heart of the problem right there. This mentality basically gives men a free pass and puts all the burden on women to protect themselves from the inevitable male attack on their persons. It is outrageous from both a female and a male perspective. I have been male for 61 years and have always known and been aware that I must not force myself on a woman and that consent was required. That anything else was at all permissible never even occurred to me. I never seem to have had a problem conforming to that and have had far from a celibate lifestyle.

                • I couldn’t agree with you more doctor dick. The only people who should be more revolted than women by this “anti rape” advice are men. The assumption that large numbers of normal men would rape an unconcious woman is absurd. Rape is a brutal, violent act that most men would never dream of committing. I don’t see where assuming that the world is full of potential rapists is a healthy attitude for the men and women arguing that every group trip to the bar with friends is impermissibly risky behavior on the part of our too trusting daughters. Every man is not a potential thief–why do we let the rape apologists assume every man is a potential rapist who given the opportunity would rape? In talking about drunk eimen getting raped we are almost always talking about people being raped by friends or friends of friends in social settings where they should have been safe. It should give us all pause that we assume that tsking advantage of another person when they are helpless is normative behavior. If our dins go off camping and break a leg in the wilderness do we wag our heads znd assume that his friends will steal his stuff and abandon him?

                • Emily

                  Of course there will still be women raped that took all the precautions

                  Do you not see that in this very comment you are suggesting that the women who did not “take all the precautions” are therefore at least partially responsible for being raped? Do you not see why a college student who went to a big on-campus party and drank a few beers would be made to feel that she didn’t “take all the precautions” and that she therefore really can’t complain about what happened to her? Do you not think that this unfairly restricts women’s social lives and potential to be fully active, equal participants in the world?

                • JL

                  The problem is that repeating this advice over and over has not been very effective – people have been repeating it forever and there are still tremendous numbers of rapes happening, and ALSO that the idea that they should have done something to prevent it contributes to psychological trauma among people who HAVE been raped.

                  Back in the day we used to tell people not to drive at times when there were likely to be drunk drivers on the road, because they might get hit. Now we tell people that friends don’t let friends drive drunk, and treat driving drunk as a serious offense that can be deterred through community norms and should be punished rather than an unstoppable fact of life that innocent people have to work around. We need to tell people that friends don’t let friends rape, and treat rape as a serious offense that that can be deterred through community norms and should be punished rather than an unstoppable fact of life that innocent people have to work around.

                • Why can’t we treat DRINKING as a social opprobrium? It’s not as though except for the fact that it puts people in a state where it is more difficult to refuse consent to sex, it’s this wonderful substance with tons of social good.

                  I suspect a whole lot of “rates” would go down if we drank less.

                • mojrim

                  @Aimai – because every man is a potential thief, or rapist for that matter, under the right conditions, just as every politician is potentially corrupt. The purpose of law and other social organizing tools is to prevent those circumstances from arising in the first place. I am not calling your body a wallet, and I understand your aggravation, but reality is uncaring. Some people are cautious and others are not, with the latter group more likely to be victimized in some way.

                  @DrDick – I’m not sure how you (or many others) draw that conclusion. Nothing in my argument implies that anyone gets a free pass on rape because of the circumstances. This is not about “dividing the responsibility” in any way shape or form.

                  @OI – These are not mutually exclusive programs, that’s the point I have been trying to make. Speaking of which, do you have anything with program effect stats for this? Everything mentioned looked like good ideas but I’d like to know if there was a measurable change in rape incidence.

                • BH

                  The perfect the enemy of the good?

                • Origami Isopod

                  Dilan:

                  Why can’t we treat DRINKING as a social opprobrium?

                  Because we shouldn’t. Because there is nothing wrong with wanting to alter one’s mood chemically, which is an ancient and sometimes beneficial human desire. Because the puritanical and fundie hatred for “the demon rum” in this country has hardly stopped people from drinking.

            • So unless a policy proposal eliminates all rape, it cannot be considered?

              • Origami Isopod

                You really haven’t proven that “Ladies, circumscribe your lives!” will prevent rape.

      • L2P

        I think it’s terrible advice, period.

        To start with, getting “drunk” isn’t a thing. You can go anywhere from .05 (not drunk) to .35 (pretty damn drunk) based on one, two, or several drinks depending on your tolerance, what you’re eating, your general health at the time, etc. So this “advice” is basically telling women not to drink. Ever. Why not just advise women to stay home and watch netflix, where it’s totally safe and all that?

        Worse, once you stop drinking there will be a hundred other things you need to police. Alone in a room with a guy? Nope. Wearing tight clothes? Stop THAT stuff right now. Heavy kissing? Better not! Acting flirty? Nopers!

        There is NO WAY to be safe other than not interacting with men, period. Once you take ANY BIT of the responsibility from men not raping and placing it on women not being “targets of rape” (whatever the hell that is) the burden is now on women. And that’s just wrong.

        • mojrim

          See, this is the part I can never understand. How does teaching a woman to be a hard target equate to shifting some portion of the responsibility? Rape bros are gonna’ rape (at least for the foreseeable future) and should certainly be prosecuted. Teaching people to manage their environment and avoid dangerous situations is unrelated to that.

          I have two sons and a daughter. I can teach my sons not to rape, but I can’t control what my neighbor teaches his sons. Therefore, I teach my daughter how to reduce her odds of being raped. It’s not perfect, and yes it’s likely said rapist will simply attack someone else, but I don’t have control of that. I live in the real world and control the things I can control.

          Now, I would never, in the aftermath of a rape, ask the victim what precautions she had taken. It’s both useless and pointlessly cruel. But I can point out something like this to my daughter and say “Learn from what happened to her. Don’t allow yourself to get sucked into situation like that.”

          Rape is a fact of life that will never be eliminated. The rapist will not, absent outside factors, decide not to rape. In an ideal world we could raise the next generation to contain no rapists, but we can’t. Living in this world we can reduce the upcoming cadre of rapists, but concomitant defensive measures are called for.

          • Origami Isopod

            Rape is a fact of life that will never be eliminated.

            It is not a “fact of life.” Cancer is a fact of life. Missed buses are a fact of life. Rape is a crime of sexual terrorism that helps enforce second-class citizenship for women. It is a conscious act that (mostly) men make the decision to commit.

            If you truly want to see it reduced, and not only for some women (i.e., the ones you think should be “hardened” – telling term, that), you will call out the idea that the onus should be on women to stop rapists instead of rapists to stop raping.

            • mojrim

              Except that it IS a fact of life, one that can be reduced but never eliminated except by severe, society-wide genetic manipulation. It has been with us since we were recognized as a species, with our progenitors before that, and with practically every other species that has the morphology to permit it.

              Once again, these are not contradictory programs, and no one that I’m willing to engage with is calling for placing the onus on the (potential) victim. This isn’t about spreading blame, it’s about controlling risk, which in the end is the only thing an individual can do for themselves. Simultianiously, we should working to adjust community norms and ideas. Attack the problem from both ends.

          • Anna in PDX

            See I disagree with your final paragraph. I think you *can* change men’s attitudes about consent and that this is what you should try to do instead of telling women to go hide under their beds.

          • The rapist will not, absent outside factors, decide not to rape.

            I disagree with this. I think we could all but stop rape if we spent half as much time shaming rapists as much we shame their victims. Rape needs to be the new racism. I like the idea of shaming racism out of existence. We’ve got a long way to go, but we’re making progress on that front. We can do the same thing with rape.

            • Rigby Reardon

              Someone very recently posted to a LGM comment thread about a study of convicted rapists and men who admitted having committed rape but were never caught / prosecuted / whatever. One of the highlights is that these men, before they decided to commit a rape, began quietly and obliquely sounding out their friends, families and neighbors, looking for signals regarding their attitudes toward rape and rapists (telling rape jokes and seeing who laughed was a very common technique, for example). The idea being, they wanted to see if they had a peer group that would be more likely to offer support if he ended up getting caught.

              To me, that says very fucking clearly that telling men from a very early age that sex without consent is unacceptable has a chance at reducing rape on a societal level. Of course it’s not going to happen overnight. Neither did the demonization of smoking. Societal change takes time, but that’s no reason not to do it.

              • Exactly.

              • mojrim

                That’s one of the outside factors I’m referring to. Why do you insist that these are incompatible strategies for shaping the environment?

            • GoDeep

              I think we could all but stop rape if we spent half as much time shaming rapists as much we shame their victims. Rape needs to be the new racism. I like the idea of shaming racism out of existence. We’ve got a long way to go, but we’re making progress on that front. We can do the same thing with rape.

              “Shaming racism” sure didn’t keep Trayvon Martin alive when George Z wanted him dead. Shame only affects ppl with a moral conscience. A lot of rapist–like a lot of murderers–have no conscience.

              You can’t “shame” away rape anymore than you can “shame” away murder. Society has said murder is wrong ever since Cain & Abel and yet we still have it. The way you get rid of rapists is by sending those motherfuckers to the penitentiary & keeping them there until they die.

              • JL

                You’re right that it’s not just about shame. But it’s certainly about things like “How likely do you think you are to get away with this?” and “Will your buddies think you are cool for doing it?” Even if you have no conscience you probably care about getting away with it. And by creating a community that is genuinely anti-rape, you make people less certain that they’ll get away with it.

                This could apply just as well to George Z and to cops. If he had believed that he would be considered at fault by the police and by society, instead of figuring that any right-thinking person would consider him in the right, he might have been less likely to go looking for trouble. If cops thought that society and the system were more likely to treat them as being at fault when they beat up a young black man, if they couldn’t assume in so many cases that most people would assume that they were in the right, perhaps they’d think twice before they used that baton. Even if they were thugs who didn’t care on a moral level.

                • GoDeep

                  I can agree with you JL that anti-rape messages are a good thing, same as I agreed w/ OI yesterday that the “Don’t be a Rapist” campaign is a good thing.

                  What ticks me off, however, is this politically correct notion that the 2 are mutually exclusive. You can both have a campaign that teaches men to respect women, while also discussing with women steps they can take to protect themselves. My father was a cop & I was the youngest of 5 so I got a lot of advice on how to protect myself. As I learned in college not everyone gets that advice.

                • Ronan

                  The fact that your father gave you advice on how to protect yourself says nothing at all, about anything. I never got any advice from my father on ‘how to protet myself’ but also never got seriously injured Perhaps you (we) were lucky?
                  Perhaps your fathers advice was wrong, even counterproductive in some contexts, or misremembered by you after the fact. How can your fathers advice hold for every situation? How are you measuring the effetiveness of your fathers advie?

                  But the context here isnt even a ‘father giving specific advice’, its generalised ‘advice’ from a newspaper columnist which, AS MULTIPLE PEOPLE have explained, is worse than useless.
                  Its the equivalent of George Will writing an article offering advice to young black men to not get drunk, or go out alone, because youre at greater risk of being attacked
                  Its idiotic

                • JL

                  GoDeep: As is so often the case, being “politically correct” here is about being aware of the impact that your words have on people.

                  In the society that we currently live in, victim-blaming around rape is very common in a way that is not the case for most other forms of violence (I might consider police brutality a partial exception, in that the subcultures in which it is common don’t tend to victim-blame about it but dominant culture definitely does). This victim-blaming increases and prolongs the trauma of survivors, and its tropes, many of which center around survivors’ allegedly not having done the right things to “keep themselves safe”, have been internalized by much of the populace. Because of this, advice coming from a place of love and good intentions about how to “keep yourself safe” from rape can have different effects than similar advice about how to, say, “keep yourself safe” from mugging.

                  In addition, because there is SO MUCH advice given to girls and women about how to “keep themselves safe”, it adds up to create a situation in which many girls and women feel very restricted in how they can move through the world. Someone who is just talking about alcohol may not be thinking about how much advice the person hearing them gets about avoiding rape, and how it adds up, but the person hearing the advice about the alcohol has heard the other advice too and it is adding up in their head.

                  As to how to talk to your kids about their own safety for the short term while we work on changing society for the long term, there are parents in this thread who have talked some about that.

                • How likely will they be to get away with this? More likely if everyone is drinking, for all sorts of pretty obvious reasons.

              • Ronan

                Sure, GoDeep, you need a number of approaches
                But why are you so adamant that shaming ant be one of those?

                • GoDeep

                  Sorry for the confusion, Ronan. I’m not opposed to “Don’t be a rapist” campaigns (see above).

                  I oppose this notion that that alone is sufficient. I believe evil ppl do evil things. I don’t think rape is a primarily cultural phenomenon anymore than murder is. Its not sociological, its psychological.

                  So these “Don’t rape” campaigns can only impact a small sub-set of rapes. We can run ad campaigns that say, “Don’t be a pedophile”, for instance, but I wouldn’t count on them being very effective. Would you?

                  My disdain for this (IMO) myopic view is that it elevates ideology over common sense. And in the lurch its victims who pay the cost, not the blogosphere.

                • Ronan

                  Well isnt common sense ‘the collection of prejudices acquired by age eighteen.’
                  Or are you disputing Einstein?

                • GoDeep

                  Einstein quote. Well played, my friend, well played…

                  Emily Yoffe was twice raped, so she’s not George Will.

                  And as far as dad goes, abt the only times my safety has been compromised was when I disregarded his advice…Do I blame the guy who shot at me for shooting at me? I sure as hell do. Do I wish I had followed dad’s advice on what to do when you’re deep in redneck country? I sure as hell do.

                • Ronan

                  You certainly have a nonsensical story for every argument ; )

                • Origami Isopod

                  “Common sense” is what tells us that the sun revolves around the earth, maggots spontaneously generate in rotten meat, and any number of ugly prejudices I don’t think I need to list here.

                • GoDeep

                  I’m old Ronan, and that’ll give anyone their fair share of non sensical stories! :-)

                • Wait. If you’re old Ronan, then who’s this new Ronan?

                • Manju

                  Do I blame the guy who shot at me for shooting at me? I sure as hell do. Do I wish I had followed dad’s advice on what to do when you’re deep in redneck country? I sure as hell do.

                  Look, what are you supposed to do…say ‘no” when the VP invites you on a hunting trip?

              • slightly_peeved

                If Americans didn’t believe the ridiculous notion that carrying around guns made for a safer society, there’d be a lot less murders in the US. George Zimmerman’s actions were bound up in a desire to be a hero that the US legally and culturally supports. in other countries, his desire to drive around with a fun would be viewed with open derision. I think that cultural viewpoint on the acceptability of carrying a gun affects the level of murder, and the statistics bear it out.

                • slightly_peeved

                  drive around with a gun, dammit.

              • Yolo Contendere

                I’m a day late & a dollar short, but I have to answer this bullshit. We have been shaming racism, and it has reduced murder. We don’t seem to have many lynchings nowadays, do we? Just because we haven’t totally eliminated it doesn’t mean we haven’t made great strides. And frankly, the Trayvon Martin case has nothing to do with this, because there was no potential societal shaming there. Quite the opposite. Absent a stand your ground law, and the permissions implicit with it, I think it much less likely that Trayvon would have been shot. Zimmerman would have certainly had more pause anyway.

          • We are all the outside factors that will end rape.

            • Origami Isopod

              This is an amazing comment.

          • Pat

            I know which world I live in.

          • nillions’ irish fred

            The rapist will not, absent outside factors, decide not to rape.

            Bullshit.

            The rapist is a human being making a choice, influenced by all the reasons human beings make choices.

        • Joshua

          Nobody said it is right. It is how it is, though. And from the POV of someone who doesn’t want to be raped – as opposed to someone trying to slowly change a culture and discourse – it makes sense to tell people to do what they can to protect themselves.

          And .35 off a single drink? Not seeing it.

          • JL

            Have you considered that most of the people arguing with your point of view in this thread are women, and therefore the people in this society who are socialized to fear rape and are more likely to be raped?

            Don’t you think we count as people who don’t want to be raped, who maybe fear being raped? And yet, we are arguing with your point of view.

            We’ve been told in so many ways all throughout our lives to be careful and do this and that to reduce our risk. Those of us who have brothers (I have three) may have noticed that our brothers are not told the same things (even though they also face dangers from, say, binge drinking at parties), and that they were given more freedom than we were. We may have noticed (I did) when we got to college that in general our male friends were more experienced and confident in moving through the world because they were allowed to do more of that as adolescents, and not made to be afraid all the time.

            We know that if we do get raped people (of all genders) will be looking for what we didn’t do to reduce our risk. They’ll say that we weren’t careful enough in some way, without realizing that we are pushed to be careful in a hundred ways that add up to seriously restrict how we move through the world.

            Meanwhile, a huge portion of us will get raped anyway despite all this well-intentioned advice that we’ve heard hundreds of times, and even more will experience some form of sexual violence, and the actual psychological impact that all this well-intentioned advice creates for that subset of us can be really bad. I volunteer on a rape crisis hotline, so I talk to that subset of us a lot, and I see it.

            • Origami Isopod

              Have you considered that most of the people arguing with your point of view in this thread are women, and therefore the people in this society who are socialized to fear rape and are more likely to be raped?

              Of course he hasn’t. Dudes like Joshua know everything, including everything ladeez think and feel, and what we should and should not do.

              (And then, when we contradict them, they throw up their hands and yell, “Women! Can’t understand ’em!”)

      • Origami Isopod

        The ONLY thing that causes rape is the presence of a rapist.

        The ONLY thing that prevents rape is the rapist deciding not to rape.

        “Taking precautions” presumes the woman in question can prevent rape.

        If she is lucky enough that a rapist does not rape her (because fuck saying “avoid getting raped” like it’s something she did), he will go on to rape another woman who could not “take precautions,” because she lives in that “bad neighborhood,” she has to walk home because she works nights and can’t afford a card, she’s disabled, she has trauma that affects her ability to react, etc. etc. etc.

        How many times does this need to be said? I’m so goddamn sick of mansplainers blithering about “commonsense precautions.”

        • 1000 percent this. Rape is a crime rapists commit. It miggt be opportunistic in a given case but its a crime that is going to be committed by the rapist eventually. Becsuse thats what he wants to do.

          • GoDeep

            Yes, as you say “because its a crime that he wants to do” he’s going to do it. He couldn’t give a fuck less what society thinks, no more so than Ted Bundy, or Charles Manson, or Dennis Rader, or any number of hundreds of anonymous priests and boy scout leaders. Dennis Rader was a Sr Church Deacon. Its not as if he didn’t know it was wrong to bind, torture, and kill women. He just didn’t give a f–k. So the thing you do with motherfuckers like that is you lock them up for their natural life or put their asses on death row. But trying to reason with or socialize those guys is just a waste of time.

            • Cheap Wino

              But he will do it a whole lot more often because he knows he can get away with it. If there were societal pressure against it the barriers to the ability to actually do it would be much, much stronger. If society consistently gave passes to serial killers and they got off on technicalities or vicitm’s families were often afraid to press charges for fear of shaming there would be a lot more of them.

              • GoDeep

                I hear you CW and, at the margin, it might help. (There are guys who don’t understand what consent means, for instance.) I’m also against victim blaming. We have to figure out how to distinguish blaming the victim from precautionary advice.

                Largely, I think tho, that liberals blaming rape on cultural factors is like conservatives blaming Newtown on cultural factors. They blamed Newtown on vidoe games, we blame rape on sexism. In both cases I think psychology, not sociology, is the culprit.

                • Origami Isopod

                  I don’t know how you can possibly separate sociology from psychology on this issue. We’re social animals, even those of us who aren’t gregarious. Society’s values help shape our own.

            • I realize this was posted hours ago but its so bone deep and filled with macho shit that I think it needs to be addressed. For the last time–though it may be the first time you hear it–no one here is “putting ideology” over anything, no one here is arguing that bad people are not bad people who want to do bad things. But everyone here who is arguing with you seems to have a more sophisticated and accurate view of how most rapes (and even murders) actually happen. Perhaps your policeman father didn’t explain this to you but even people who are really fucking nuts and want to kill can be deterred by lots of things–in fact your “don’t drink and be a girl” advice consistitutes a rather weak version of this form of social deterrence. Except for the guy in the belltower with the gun LOTS of actions that society or some individuals may take constitute a form of deterrence to the violent psychopaths among us.

              You know what doesn’t serve as deterrence? Incarceration. Very few of these guys think they will get caught or really fear it. And you know who really don’t fear it? Rapists. Because most of the time they can rely on rape culture, their friends, society at large to protect them from even being accused, let alone charged. That’s the instant case that spawned this thread–that two minor aged girls were gotten drunk, raped, abandoned in freezing weather and the charges against their admitted assailants was dropped BECAUSE THE ASSHOLE PROSECUTOR ARGUED THAT THE GIRLS WERE COMPLICIT IN THEIR OWN RAPE BECAUSE: DRUNK.

              • Stinky Pussy

                I think you’re safe…really safe.

                • Malaclypse

                  Stay classy, sweetie.

            • nillions’ irish fred

              Yes, as you say “because its a crime that he wants to do” he’s going to do it. He couldn’t give a fuck less what society thinks, no more so than Ted Bundy, or Charles Manson, or Dennis Rader, or any number of hundreds of anonymous priests and boy scout leaders.

              So you’re saying that preteen boys who don’t want to be raped need to be told repeatedly to avoid joining the boy scouts to keep their scoutmasters from raping them.

              Excellent, make sure to go forth and spread awareness of how young boys have a responsibility to protect themselves from rape by never participating in scouting, and to teach them to be aware of the risks they engender by giving in to their desire to learn to tie knots.

          • If the crime is in fact “opportunistic”, that would actually suggest that reducing opportunities would reduce the rate of rape.

            As I said upthread, I agree this should not be gendered. I basically think the optimal amount of MALE AND FEMALE college drinking is zero.

            But one of my reasons is I think it would make it much harder for rapists to find opportunities.

            • Origami Isopod

              Yeah, good luck, getting legal adults to never drink at all, ever. Because everybody should share your tastes and your hostility to all alcohol, including people from wine cultures. Because forbidden fruit never tastes good.

              • ironic irony

                Not only that, many rape victims are not drunk when raped, and a woman is more likely to be raped BY SOMEONE SHE KNOWS. So telling people that they shouldn’t drink will not end rape, period. Too many people in this thread don’t seem to get that.

        • Mansplain? What does that make Slate-ian idiots like Yoffe then? Better yet, does Slate think being “King of the Trolls” is the way to win the internet?

          • Origami Isopod

            Oh, women can definitely perpetuate rape culture and other misogynist tropes. But men get a lot more leeway in society to go on at length about shit they know nothing about, whereas women have more of a tendency to speak hesitantly and qualify everything we say.

          • Better yet, does Slate think being “King of the Trolls” is the way to win the internet?

            I’m pretty sure they do, actually.

      • Dear Jeezlebub it’s exactly like the anti-choicer’s attack on reproductive rights. (Surprise!)

        “Can we ban all forms of birth control? What about all abortions? How about only if the mother will die? What about after six months? What if we create a rule that means most clinics will have to shut down…?”

        Instead it’s “Can we blame the victim if she spoke to a stranger? Went outside after dark? Wore skimpy clothing? Was or was not married? Got drunk…?”

        Surely there must be some way we can put constraints upon the people who failed to be born with a penis!!

        Shut. Up.

        • Origami Isopod

          “Can we blame the victim if she spoke to a stranger? Went outside after dark? Wore skimpy clothing? Was or was not married? Got drunk…?”

          Which is an awful lot like rapists rules-lawyering what they can get away with. “Well, if I put my hand on her ass, and she looks uncomfortable but doesn’t say no because I’m bigger and stronger than she is, it’s still OK, right?”

          • “Something, something, something, wasps are much smaller than people!”

            And of course there are the 50 Shades of Rape that exist nowhere in the law. “Well, she was unconscious and he didn’t bruise her but a little bit so that’s not Rape Rape.”

            • But one reason for that is because so much consensual sex occurs between plastered people.

              It’s not right, but if people insist that nobody ever challenge the great American pasttime of getting blotto, people are going to continue differentiating rapes.

    • Karate Bearfighter

      This also isn’t the first time she has blamed rape on drunk women.

      • Denverite

        OK, to be fair, that kind of misrepresents the letter and Yoffe’s response.

        • Karate Bearfighter

          Meh. She straight out says, “I agree that men should not have sex with drunk women they don’t know.” (My emphasis.) Not “men should not have sex with drunk women” period, full stop. I think Yoffe has that regressive mindset that if a woman fails to prevent her own rape, she is responsible for it.

          • Denverite

            I think that you and Yoffe are using “drunk” in different ways here. I think you’re using it to mean “too intoxicated to give meaningful consent.” I think she uses it to mean “someone who’s been drinking.”

            • Also, people really do negotiate different rules of consent with people they know. You basically have to if you like consensual sex while being really drunk.

      • rea

        Yeah, for crying out loud, you can’t reason from the general (people can be drunk to the point of being incapable of consenting) to the particular (this person on this occasion was raped) like that. And, while people can be intoxicated to the point of being incapable of consent, that does not mean that no can ever give valid consent to sex under the influence of alcohol

        • Karate Bearfighter

          Maybe this misses your point, but the original letter is ambivalent; initially it’s “she drank too much”, later it’s “I’ve seen her blackout drunk before.” The fact that the friend has gotten blackout drunk is only relevant if: a)the friend was blackout drunk that night, or b)it serves as a general reason to question her claim that she was raped. If she was blackout drunk, there is no consent. If she wasn’t, then you’re left with two people jumping on an excuse (“she’s a habitual drunk”) to discount the friend’s claim that she was raped.

          • Denverite

            I agree that you can read the letter two ways. I read it as the friend basically confessing or admitting that it was a consensual one night stand (because otherwise, why write the letter?).

            As to you’re blackout drunk point, while that’s (obviously) like 98% correct, I’ll just note that for many people there is often a window of intoxication where you can act more-or-less lucid but have absolutely no recollection of what happened the next day.

            • rea

              Yeah, what makes some people black out while drunk seems to be fairly complicated, poorly understood, and not necessarily in a one-to-one correlation with degree of intoxication or amount of alcohol consumed. Blackouts also seem to be sometimes somewhat retroactive. You can’t simply say, “she doen’t remember anything; therefore she couldn’t have consented.”

              • rea

                And, the point I thought the letter-writer was making was an expression of doubt that her friend actually remembered what she claimed to remember having happened

              • Which gets to how alcohol really does make make rape more common. Consent is easier to verify if everyone is sober.

                • witless chum

                  I don’t think so. The facts of the Marysville case explicitly suggest that those guys lured those two much younger girls there to have sex with them whether they liked it or not. They used alcohol to differing degrees to accomplish it, but the other girl testified that she said no again and again, and still got raped.

                  What alcohol being involved does is give people an out to believe that what obviously happened didn’t happen, so they can go on thinking well of the sons of the local gentry.

            • Pat

              My understanding is that there is a law in MO that says that individuals with a certain blood alcohol level are deemed not capable of giving consent.

              Which seems pretty damn reasonable to me. And makes your point moot.

              • rea

                If that were true, it would be a singularly useless law, since there is seldom any accurate way to determine blood alcohol content retroactively back to the time of the sexual contact. My understanding, on the contrary, is that the issue of consent turns on the reasonable belief of defendant

                • Sherm

                  There is such a law, and BAC could be established quite easily through expert testimony. The girl was .13 at the hospital 7 hours post rape. An expert can testify what her approximate BAC was at the time of the incident given normal metabolic rates. She was probably about .3 at the time btw.

    • Tristan

      I’m three days late and this may have already been brought up, but I’d feel remiss not mentioning it: in one ‘Dear Prudie’ column, Yoffe straight up shamed a girl for getting raped while drunk.

  • Captain Bringdown

    There is some good news in the Daisy Coleman case.

    • Does the Lt Gov. have the authority to do this or can the AG just ignore the request?

      • Captain Bringdown

        I’m not sure.

        From NY Mag:

        Though Koster’s office claims it has no power to reopen the case, Missouri House Speaker Timothy Jones issued a statement echoing Kinder’s request and arguing, “While our attorney general has already stated he has no authority to intervene in this matter, I firmly believe he is empowered to do so under state statute 27.060. I am calling on him to utilize his authority to intervene in this matter so that we can be confident that justice is served.”

      • Hogan

        As a rule lieutenant governors don’t have the authority to do much of anything, but the AG is at least under some pressure now to explain his decision.

        • GoDeep

          The AG is (unfortunately) saying he doesn’t have the statutory authority to do squat. That’d be a surprise compared to most state’s AG powers, but its hard to think he has any reason to lie abt this. There’s a lot political upside at this point in going after these kids. MO has some weird fucking laws, tho, so I wouldn’t be surprised if the legislature needs to pass a law that gives him such authority.

          • Karate Bearfighter

            The Lt. Governor is a Republican, the Attorney General is a Democrat, and the (liberal Kansas City) media has been discussing the political angle as it relates to a Republican DA, a Republican state senator, and the local Republican machine in a purple county. Both Kinder and Coster are assumed to be future gubernatorial candidates.

            A Missouri grand jury is summoned by a circuit judge (here, another Republican,) and the grand jury in turn summons the local DA (hi again!) to present a case. There is no role for the AG’s office. Peter Kinder is a former practicing attorney, and he knows all of this.

            • GoDeep

              So, you’re saying that the local circuit judge could do something?

              And that Kinder is being disingenuous is attacking the AG when the AG can’t do anything?

              • Karate Bearfighter

                Pretty much.

  • bassopotamus

    Emily Yoffe is a notorious yutz. I mostly read her Slate column to laugh at the consistently shit advice she gives.

  • Nick

    I understand the point people are making and I kind of agree with it in theory, but in some way it always seems to be putting a strict theoretical viewpoint far above common sense. Compare the following two bits of advice:

    1) be careful driving on Friday and Saturday night, there are a lot of drunk drivers out there (given to both my kids).

    2) be careful getting really drunk, there are a lot of men who will sexually assault women in that condition (given to my daughter).

    • Denverite

      Why wouldn’t you tell your son to be careful getting really drunk around young women because you make really bad decisions when intoxicated, and when you’re drunk, you can’t always understand what other people are saying (like “no,” for example)?

      • Nick

        Well you see, I didn’t say that I wouldn’t do that — you assumed it for some reason. I thought we were discussing whether it was a bad idea or not to warn young women about getting drunk.

        • Did you tell your son that?

          • Nick

            Nope, he’s 4. But this is just showing the odd state of discussion — instead of talking about whether it’s reasonable to warn my daughter that getting drunk puts her at risk (the point of the column), I’m being made to answer about what I’ve told me son.

            • Oh noes! Mean commenters!

              • Origami Isopod

                Wah, wimminz are being rude and bullying because we don’t feel like listening to Mansplainer #4,857 explain the Rulez of Life to us li’l ladies who have obviously never heard them before!

                • rea

                  And:(1) Women have as much right to get drunk as anyone else, and also (2) On the long list of potential bad outcomes of being drunk, sexual assault is not particularly entitled to prominent placement.

                  And some of this is just friggin’ timing–if we’re talkin about drinking, saying, “Being drunk makes you more vulnerable to being a crme victim.” is unexceptional. But it’s usually, “Some poor woman got raped.” “Well, she shouldn’t have been drinking.”

                • Actually college women and men, for the most part, have no right to drink at all, a point made by Yoffe.

                • Origami Isopod

                  Dilan, thanks so much for being yet another teetotaler who has to grind your anti-alcohol axe in this thread. That does so much to help combat rape culture.

                  Also, maybe you’d like to read downthread about how removing the legal right to drink from legal adults encourages binge drinking.

              • GoDeep

                FWIW my father gave my brothers that advice. Of course we were black & he was a cop & he had seen lots of black men railroaded for things they didn’t do. His idea was that 1 way to avoid that was to avoid being around a lot of drunken ppl b/cs drunken ppl generally don’t exhibit good judgment. Kind of a ‘drunk’ version of “Neither lender nor borrower be.”

                • mch

                  Nick, I didn’t think of advising my son about drinking and rape, though I did my daughter. (Both in their 30’s now.) No shame. We live and learn. Do advise him when his age is right.

                  I long for the day when anyone, male or female, who’s been raped in a social setting like the ones being discussed here (stranger rape, repeated rapes by a captor or a father — very different, no?), feels only the inevitable sense of violation and depression that someone who has been robbed or mugged feels, but who soon gets along without major marks of trauma.

        • Rigby Reardon

          I thought we were discussing whether it was a bad idea or not to warn young women about getting drunk.

          No, we’re discussing how society has erred by placing the bulk of the responsibility of preventing rape on the victims and not on the people who actually commit it, and what should be done to change that.

          Do try to keep up.

      • Joshua

        Why do you assume that he wouldn’t tell his son that?

        • Origami Isopod

          Because mansplainers never think of that sort of thing. They ASS-ume it’s on women to prevent rape.

          • Joshua

            Why is he a “mansplainer”? You seem to be debating with the Nick you invented in your head rather than the one that posted in this thread.

            • He must be in all our heads. It’s weird.

    • Nick

      Anyway, back to my original point — how many people would tell their kids to be careful driving Friday night? Even though they aren’t committing a crime, and if they get hit it won’t be their fault?

      I honestly don’t know why everyone wants to discuss what I’ve told my toddler son about sexual assault, can we discuss the point that’s being debated in the two articles? I would warn my kids how to avoid being hurt, by drunk drivers or rapists. Who wouldn’t?

      • L2P

        Dude, I’d tell me kids to be careful driving ALL THE TIME (luckily they don’t drive yet.)

        And I tell my older kid to be careful with alcohol and drugs because it’s dangerous to overindulge regardless of sexual assault. Frankly, getting raped is like 3 or 4 on my list of bad things that can happen when somebody’s drunk. It’s not, like, dieing, right?

        And you’re giving two very different pieces of advice there. The first doesn’t stop anybody from doing anything. The second is severely limiting your kid’s opportunities.

        • GoDeep

          The second is severely limiting your kid’s opportunities?

          You mean severely limiting their opportunity to drink???

          • Origami Isopod

            Yes. As in, socializing, because a lot of socializing in the U.S. is done around alcohol. Including in professional settings.

            • GoDeep

              I guess OI, but I grew up in a tee totaling house, in a tee totaling county, in a state that led the way in Prohibition. Drinking just wasn’t that big a deal. So, on balance, I come out in a different place.

              • Origami Isopod

                My own parents barely ever drink and have barely ever drunk as well (they’re not teetotalers), but that is not how a great many Americans live their lives.

            • I’m pretty damn successful, with colleagues and clients who drink plenty. I drink very little. It has never been an issue.

              If you drink in your business dealings, it’s because you like to. Own it.

              • Origami Isopod

                Good to know that all business settings are the same and everyone has the same ability to resist social pressure as you, especially women who are trained from childhood to obey it.

      • Scott Lemieux

        Does anyone believe that vehicular homicide shouldn’t be prosecuted if someone in the victim’s car was drunk?

        • Nick

          Absolutely not! But I thought that the discussion was about the advice given to women, not the prosecution of rapists. Sorry if I’ve sidetracked things.

          • Yeah. You should be sorry.

            • Nick

              That’s a really strange, and rude response.

              • Origami Isopod

                LOL. How dare women call you out on sucking the oxygen out of the thread with rape apologetics we’ve all heard before. So rude. Why can’t we all just lap up Nick’s Dudely Wizdumb and be grateful for it?

              • Please be sure not to think about why several people have told you you’re full of shit. It isn’t you. It’s us.

              • Nick, I don’t know if you can see it right now, but I strong encourage you to consider that it may have been reasonably provoked by your comment and actually rather mild.

                If you only consider your comment as you intend or wish or hope it to be, or shorn of context, you will never see this and you will continue to write comments that provoke this sort of respond as a justified and restrained response. And your, “What did I say? What did I say?” will only add to your conversational failure.

                Now if you are either comfortable with provoking this sort of justified reaction or intend it, then we can stop. If you are genuinely puzzled feel free to drop me an email and I’ll try to help you understand off line so thst your next intersection can be more successful and less noxious.

                (First tip, just apologise. It’s a start.)

                • Oh, my email address is easy to find, but here it is anyway: [email protected]

                • Nick

                  That’s a fair offer, and I do apologize if anyone misconstrued what I wrote. My original point was one that I felt fairly basic — that I would warn my daughter that getting drunk put her at risk of sexual assault. I think that’s true, and it’s not exclusive of other things: it doesn’t exclude discussing sexual violence with either of my kids, it doesn’t imply that if she is assaulted, I’ll blurt out “But were you drunk?” It makes some assumptions that might be wrong, I admit — maybe drinking is an insignficant factor.

                  But I really do find it odd that the first responses to this were: “What do you tell your son?” It is true, that he is at less risk of sexual assault; I’ve always understood that is what the term ‘rape culture’ meant — that women were at heightened risk of sexual assault from men, and that the culture excused this in a number of ways. I still see my advice as the normal advice that a parent would give their daughter AND that the original article this thread brought up was discussing that.

                  I’m comfortable having a discussion about it, and I’m sorry if I seemed snippy too. But I thought that the first few responses to my post were trying to have a different discussion. That’s fine too — I’m not trying to impose a topic on LGM, I just thought that my first post was reasonably phrased. If it’s not, I apologize.

                • Sorry for the delay, I had a follow up drs appointment about my shingles and thankfully most of the scary things (facial paralysis, months of narcotics level needing pain, deafness) are off the table. I’m also a bit wobbly with antivirals.

                  However, your response is so socially obtuse as to rise to a moral failing in this context. Read what JL wrote below.

                  A simple apology would have been helpful. A apology mixed with an apologia and more wondering and speculating about other people that you clearly don’t understand is just more of the same bad.

                  I urge you to take it off line. That’s why I offered. If you don’t want to share email or create a throw away account, post so here and I’ll create a special post on my blog where we can work this through.

                  I sincerely believe that Aimai’s comment was both measured and more than justified by your conduct. Given your own reaction, consider the implications of that. I would hope that you’d want to avoid or rectify having behaved that way. Step one is to stop behaving that way and figure out what’s going on but not where you originally shit the bed.

                • Hogan

                  Bijan: My heart hears your “open, seesame” and goes out to you. Some time after my melanoma diagnosis and treatments I got in touch with my personal pain scale: “better than teaching freshman English” and “worse than teaching freshman English.” So far shingles is the only thing I’ve ever had that was worse than teaching freshman English, and I’ve had a broken finger after falling off a horse.

                • Oh, thanks Hogan!

                  I’m really fortunate that the pain is exceeding mild so as to be merely tedious now that the fear has gone away :)

                • A (single!) kidney stone was much worse than having to feign respect for a succession of venal, stupid administrators, which in turn was much worse than teaching Pre-Calculus at 8AM, which I suspect is approximately equal to teaching Freshman English.

                • For the record, Nick has not contacted me in any way off line, nor has he indicated here that he’d like me to set up a different forum.

                  While not conclusive, it’s certainly not a positive sign.

      • Emily

        Arg. Everyone tells their kids to be careful driving when drunks are likely to be out.

        And when a drunk driver hits someone, the loudest response in the general news media is, “We need more speed traps/harsher penalties/lower blood alcohol limits!” It’s, “Take the keys, take a cab, take a stand: friends don’t let friends drive drunk.”

        It’s the absence of, “Friends don’t let friends rape unconscious women,” coupled with, “She shouldn’t have been drinking/wearing that skirt/at that sketchy party!” that is so, so unbefuckinglievable.

        • Nick

          I completely agree with this, and if my daughter or another woman is sexually assaulted, I won’t blame them, nor will I tell them that if they were drunk it wouldn’t have happened. But I will tell them, ahead of time, that being drunk puts them at increased risk, and if I don’t I’m sure my wife will.

          • megan

            You need to make a distinction between advice you might give to your daughter individually and broader messages about how we can prevent rape as a society. You apparently don’t see the connection, but for a lot of people it’s a very short leap to go from reading article after article explaining how women ought to protect themselves better by doing x, y, and z, to responding to rape cases with “Why the hell didn’t she protect herself by doing x, y, and z? If she had done those things this probably wouldn’t have happened!”

            • That is explicitly the o’reilly factors take on it.

              • GoDeep

                Uggghhh. I hesitate to ask, Aimai, but O’Reilly blamed the girls for their own rapes? I suppose I shouldn’t be surprised at anything he says, but even for him that’s particularly loathsome.

            • Nick

              I did make that distinction — my original post was about talking with my kids.

              • megan

                Right – and your original post is in a thread about an Emily Yoffe piece. I’m saying your advice to your own daughter is not actually that relevant to a discussion of the problems with Yoffe’s piece. You can give your daughter whatever safety advice you want; that’s different from arguing more broadly that as a matter of public policy, giving this kind of advice to young women is a good way to prevent rape. The latter is the problem with the Yoffe piece (really one of several problems). Advice that might be fine at an individual level can be damaging if it’s applied at a public policy level: In this case it encourages victim blaming which is already rampant in rape cases.

                • Nick

                  I agree completely — I’ve never argued that this would be a good public policy.

                • megan

                  Oh so you’re just threadjacking! Because as near as I can tell, this thread is all about rape culture and how articles like Yoffe’s contribute to it, not about individual parenting choices. In fact, many people have made that point to you already.

                • mch

                  No, not threadjacking. Concerned and loving parent.

                • Origami Isopod

                  One can be a “concerned and loving parent” and still uphold and propagate a shit-ton of oppressive ideas.

    • L2P

      The first advice doesn’t limit anybody’s life. The second advice? You’re not giving your kid any advice that’s helpful TO HER. It’s the equivalent of telling her, “Don’t drive on Saturday and Friday.”

      Ok, she can follow it. That’s fine. But it’s limiting her life, her choices, her experiences in a way that you aren’t limiting your son. Which sucks.

      • Nick

        I think it’s interesting that you don’t want to limit people’s lives in ways that make them safe. First of all, the advice on driving is limiting people’s lives, it determines what they can (or should) do on Friday or Saturday night; second, our lives are determined by what is safe. In my other home in Thailand, I don’t live in a cabin in the forest, because of the high rate of violent crime; if my son or daughter wanted to build a cabin in the forest, I’d tell them they were stupid. When my sister comes to visit, I warn them about Thai customs about women dressing, to reduce the chance that she’ll have an unpleasant encounter.

        I’m curious — I think it’s a given that a woman who is very drunk has a greater risk of being sexually assaulted than one who is not. We aren’t disputing that, are we? Which do you think would disrupt my daughter’s life more, being raped or being warned to watch it when she gets very drunk? Do you really think it sucks that the answer is probably the former?

        • Nick

          I think that this discussion comes down to something in the post below mine — the issue of whether we are ‘putting responsibility’ on the woman. I don’t think that warning a young woman of the risks that surround an activity is the same as putting responsibility to avoid being raped on her.

          • Emily

            Maybe you should give more weight to the words and experience of women ON THIS THREAD, who have actually been young women, when they tell you that “warning a young woman of the risks that surround an activity (drinking)” FUNCTIONS, in this society, at this time, as “putting responsibility to avoid being raped on her.”

            The message young women are recieving, whether you intend to communicate it or not, is that they are responsible for preventing themselves from being raped and that unless they are the perfect victim (stranger rape/fought, etc., etc.) they will not get sympathy from society but rather get nit picked about what they should or shouldn’t have done that night/day/evening.

            Your individual relationship with your own daughter may be strong enough to overcome the implication of your warning, to make it clear to her, because she knows you and has a relationship with you, that that is not what you mean. But you are not engaged in a discussion about what individual parents should tell their individual children. You are engaged in a conversation about what advice columnists should tell the internet reading public and the way that this particular response of this paritcular columnist re-inforces victim blaming.

            So that’s why people are frustrated with you.

            • Nick

              Well, I apologize for that — you’re right, I certainly don’t argue that my advice should be public policy, and I’m sorry if I misunderstood the point of the thread.

              But at the same time, you’re the first person to say this — the first responses were “What would you tell your son?”, which is not public policy either.

              • ChrisTS

                No, ‘what would you tell your son’ was a response to another aspect of your comment: that you are burdening your daughter with fears and restrictions with which your son is not burdened. And, in doing this, you are also adding to the burdens of a culture that will tell her – even if you never do – that it is her job to make sure she does not get raped.

                Yes, far more women than men get raped. But if my son stumbles home drunk by himself, he is just as likely to get beaten up, robbed, or murdered as my daughter is. True, she is also far more likely to be raped, in addition to being beaten, robbed, or murdered.

                So, my advice to them is the same: don’t drink too much, be sure you are with friends, don’t walk alone in the dark in most areas, don’t get into a car with anyone you don’t really trust or with a drunken driver. Finally: call us if you feel even a little uncomfortable.

                My daughter knows that, as a woman, she is susceptible to a form of violence to which her brother is (after a certain age) probably not susceptible. But, the same advice works for both of them, and they both know that if something bad does happen, we will never ask either of them, “But, were you drinking?”

            • GoDeep

              You can’t speak for all women on this. Most feminists may feel this way, but lots of women don’t. Most women think common sense advice is just that, common sense advice. Most of us teach our daughters/nieces/younger sisters how to take reasonable precautions.

              I was participating in a discussion some years ago on Feministing when after a series of rapes in India, some Indian women & public officials & entrepreneurs got together & formed women only buses, rail cars, and taxis (the taxis were even painted pink). Most of the Feministing community responded with vitriol at the idea b/cs it seemed to be a capitulation to misogyny. But a lot of the SE Asian women were like, ‘you can’t criticize those women for taking steps to protect themselves.’ Having been shot at once, I know carry pepper spray & keep a gun. And I don’t criticize common sense advice on how to protect oneself.

              • Origami Isopod

                Most feminists may feel this way, but lots of women don’t.

                So? Women are just as capable of upholding patriarchy as men are. Feminism isn’t “the battle of the sexes.” It’s a fight to make the culture more just for everybody.

                In any case, the vast majority of women in this thread are not agreeing with Nick.

              • Jesus, let me answer this bullshit story with a real story. At the international feminist congress in 1985 when western feminists were discussing rape and rape prevention the Indian women at the conference were astonished–why? Because rape was such a deadly, shaming, horrific thing they thought it only happened in India and they had not had any luck talking about it in public.

              • ChrisTS

                Suppose the proposal had been “don’t take the bus, don’t have a job that requires you to use public transportation – or walk long distances – and never be alone with any men without your 6 brothers in tow?”

                I actually agree with you that the short-term safety value of all-female buses might be greater than the short-term value of being a purist in the face of real threats. But, I could never agree that the solution to rape is to keep women isolated or to restrict their lives in ways that the lives of men are not restricted just because some men are rapists.

                Think of it this way: it is ‘common sense’ to lock one’s house and car doors. But this does not impose a special restriction on any one subset of those who own a home or a car.

                Women do not choose, typically, to be women; they do not choose that some men be rapists; their lives should not be unduly circumscribed because there are men who rape.

        • I think it’s interesting that you don’t want to limit people’s women’s lives in ways that make them safe.

          Do you see why you’re wrong, now?

          • Nick

            Is my daughter not a person?

        • Origami Isopod

          I think it’s interesting that you don’t want to limit people’s lives in ways that make them safe.

          You have shown no proof that these precautions will make women “safer.” All they do is limit women’s ability to live our lives. Which, uh, should fucking WELL include the right to get drunk, as it does for men.

          Stop acting as though rapists have no agency and are just forces of nature. They know exactly what they’re doing.

          • OI, I think you’re forgetting the timeless legal principle elucidated in Father v. Knowing Best.

          • Julia G

            “Which, uh, should fucking WELL include the right to get drunk, as it does for men.”

            There is no “right” to get drunk with zero potential consequences, for men or women. It’s absurd to refuse to acknowledge that.

            • You’re profoundly stupid.

              • Julia G

                Super deep, thx.

                • Rigby Reardon

                  She’s right, though.

              • ChrisTS

                Nah. I think that was a technical point about rights. And, of course, that point is correct: no right to X is a right to X without consequences.

                On the other hand, Christ what an asshole.

                • Most college students don’t have any right to drink.

                  And even the ones that do, males included, should not get drunk, for all sorts of reasons.

            • Origami Isopod

              Nice of you to “disappear” men’s agency in choosing to rape women, rather than simply act as though a woman getting drunk is asking for rape. Also, what bspencer said.

              • Origami Isopod

                s/rather than/and

              • Julia G

                What are you talking about? HOw about you take it as a baseline that I, like all civilized people (indeed, as a woman who has been sexually assaulted), do not approve of rape or rapists? Perhaps someone can hold that view WHILE ALSO thinking it’s reasonable to say that getting completely shitfaced and then going out in public is unwise, and may, if you’re a woman (given that women are the primary victims of rape), increase your chances of getting raped. You seem like an endless reservoir of bad faith, strawmen, and incoherent bitter sarcasm, so I’m moving on.

                • BUH BYE.

                • ChrisTS

                  And men getting ‘completely shitfaced’ can end up dead, broken, mugged, etc. Or, um, committing rape.

                  So, let’s just bring back Prohibition, and then we’ll all be safe[r].

                • Chris:

                  We already have prohibition for most college students.

                  And it wasn’t as though we got rid of prohibition because drinking was a wonderful activity that should never be criticized.

            • Disinterested

              Yeah, this is insane. They’re starting to sound like gun fetishists. Consuming alcohol is a potentially dangerous activity. There is no unqualified right to do it. We regulate its sale and consumption for a goddamn good reason.

              I love booze. I drink it regularly. But I damn well know that there are times when it is a bad idea to do so because being intoxicated would put me in harm’s way. It’s astounding that we can’t acknowledge this.

              • You’re an idiot.

              • Why is it that whenever people have an issue with being told ‘no’ by people who respect women’s agency and bodily autonomy, they immediately leap to lazy, poorly thought out comparisons to gun nuts.

                Is it really that hard to defend rape culture without comparing women to things?

                • Disinterested

                  Hmm, I was actually comparing things to other things. In my analogy, alcohol == guns.

                • Didn’t you know? Guns piss off the liberals! Therefore invoking the hated gun nuts should send us to our fainting couches.

                • If you think this about defending alcohol consumption, then it is maybe the case that you are just really bad at reading.

              • We do acknowledge this but its irrelevant to preventing rape.. Women get raped when they cant defend themselves because they are incapacitated–you can be incapacitated and not be able to fight off your attacker because you are old, young, have a broken leg, are asleep in your own bed, –women get raped under every scenario. The ficus on the image of the drunken woman comes about because its a place where rapists have a lot of success pretending they aren’t rapjng because laws relating to consent and consciousness are relatively new and rapists and their friends want to push back against them.

                • Disinterested

                  I agree with everything except the “irrelevant to preventing rape”. I believe there is a fundamental difference in the type of rapist who would attack black-out drunk women at a frat party and those would attack a woman in a home invasion. You may think otherwise, and other people have been discussing the idea of a “crime of opportunity” vs the idea of serial rapists perpetrating most of these crimes. I don’t know, but I do think teaching men and women, and yes *shaming* them too, about not binge drinking, is actually important to preventing *some* rape.

                • Cheap Wino

                  Except that warning about binge drinking and sexual assault have been around since I was in school in the ’80’s. It’s been said a million times. We know. Society knows.

                  It’s time now to start addressing the problem of rape, not binge drinking. They are not the same thing.

                • If you, disinterested, are serious in assuming that rape of drunk women in social settings is really opportunistic and almost accidental then you should be focusing on programs and lectures that reduce the liklihood that *men*will become inadvertent rapists like the canadian program referenced elsewhere. While it is not possible for women never to be incapacitated–fir instance by being in a nursing home, sedated, or otherwise vulnerable it is possible to teach people who are potential rapists not to take advantage of incapacitated people. If you seriously think that date rapes and frat rapes and bar rapes are opportunistic and accidental not predatory why would you waste time lecturing people about getting drunk and being victimized rather than teaching people how to avoid raping or how to intervene to prevent rape? Its like refusing to teain people to heimlich when someone is choking because youd rather lecture people about not swallowing too fast.

                • Nick

                  Well, the obvious answer to this is that I don’t get to talk to society; but I do get to talk to my kids. That’s why they get the discussion, and not the potential rapists in the bar, the frat house, or the glee club.

                • Disinterested

                  almost accidental

                  whoa whoa whoa whoa pump the brakes. I didn’t come close to saying that.

                  Opportunistic does not imply accidental. To clarify my above point, the very *fact* of rape culture and victim blaming (in the case of drunkenness) means that the perpetrators of rape in these settings do it because they know they will probably get away with it. What I mean by opportunistic is that they wouldn’t do it absent those factors. To return to the frat party vs home invasion, not even the worst MRAs/rape apologists would argue against the victim in the latter. Not so much in the former.

                • The kind of drunk girl gets raped stuff that happens is either predatory or not but it happens in a social context. It almost always includes a lot of people–both male and female–who are bystanders. Thats why an overemphasis on the victims responsibility seems wringheaded. There are lots if people, including the potential rapist, who can be educated in how to prevent rape.

                • According Amanda Hess, the rape rate is down. Might the anti-drinking campaigns are working?

                • The bystanders are often drunk too.

            • Nick

              I just want to point out that I don’t agree with this — my first post was just about warning my daughter about alcohol and sexual assault. I’m sure she’ll get drunk, that’s fine with me.

            • Rigby Reardon

              Of course not, you bonehead. Nobody said there was. The problem is that getting raped is ONLY a potential adverse consequence for WOMEN, and people like Yoffe (and several commenters here) are apparently perfectly happy to accept that status quo rather than try to CHANGE THE BEHAVIOR OF THE RAPISTS (and potential future rapists).

              In other words, yes – women should have the same right to get drunk men do, and the potential adverse consequences of that action that we as a society are willing to accept should be equal for both men and women – i.e., THEY SHOULD NOT FUCKING INCLUDE RAPE.

              • Nick

                The same people who attacked me for suggesting my daughter was more likely to be sexually assaulted than my son will likely disagree with this post.

        • Should men be warned about drinking too much? Or does sexual assault only happen to women?

          • Nick

            Yes they should! I agree with that! Have I written anything to disagree?

            • Origami Isopod

              Hardly convincing when it’s after the fact. You chose to focus on girls and women in your initial posts. That says something about where you think rape prevention should start: with the potential victims. Not with the victimizers.

            • Ok. Be sure to warn your son of that when he’s of age.

            • Emily

              It wasn’t your first impulse in this instance. That’s rather telling.

              • Isn’t it, though?

                • ChrisTS

                  Ok, I’m going out on a limb, here. I don’t think ‘Nick’ is trolling or being obnoxious or whatever. I think he, somewhat inartfully, jumped into a thread without entirely knowing all the context which is so painfully familiar to most of us.

                  I also think it can be a good thing to be patient with anyone who appears to be an honest interlocutor. Sure, one can be mistaken and pay the price of anger for it. Still, I would rather talk to Nick (at alia) in the spirit of good faith than drive him away to someplace where the rapebros and PUA dudes will try to swing him to their side.

                  My spousal unit was deeply invested in feminism when I met him, but when our daughter was born he was very worried about how we would talk to her about rape.

                  (I told him I would talk to her about what it is/can be in its many forms and then we would both provide her with good advice about being safe, generally, in a world in which others often behave violently.)

              • Nick

                I honestly don’t understand this. Yoffe’s article was about warning women about binge drinking; the LGM post was criticizing it. I wrote how I would follow Yoffe’s advice with my daughter to the extent of warning her about the risk of sexual assault when drunk. Now it’s ‘telling’ that I didn’t mention in that post that I would warn my son, 4 years old (I know that wasn’t clear in the first one but I mentioned it later), not to assault women.

                So I’m curious, what does it ‘tell’? Have you identified that I don’t care if my son assaults women? Have you discerned that I will never, ever mention this subject to him? That I’ll sit downstairs and watch TV while he brings home his disoriented, 14-year-old ‘date’?

                • Mostly that yo’re an entitled jackoff who gets pissy when his privilege is pointed out.

                • Nick

                  Thanks, that’s better than the others. What’s my entitlement here? Thinking that this was a debate about whether Yoffe’s article was right or wrong?

                • College Women: Stop Getting Drunk
                  It’s closely associated with sexual assault. And yet we’re reluctant to tell women to stop doing it.

                  Your premise is that that might be correct?

                • Thinking that this was a debate about whether Yoffe’s article was right or wrong?

                  Would it help if I told you that continuing to believe we’ll accept your self-congratulatory framing of your condescending lecture is a perfect example of your sense of privilege?

                • Nick

                  Yes, you’re right, Sub. McG. I’m not claiming that’s true, but if it’s wrong, my argument wouldn’t make sense.

                • It’s wrong. Getting drunk is fun. Why is your daughter not entitled to the fun I can have?

                • Emily

                  It “tells” that your first impulse in discussing how to prevent rape is to advise women to police their behavior.

                  I’m sorry to tell you, that has been tried.

                  The original post and many of the comments here have been bemoaning that society (here in the form of advice columnists, but sadly not limited to them) also is reluctant to look for another trick in the bag. It would be nice to move on to other tactics that haven’t been proven to be such utter failures.

                • Nick

                  She is — nowhere have I written ‘forbid’ in my posts. Just not with you.

                • So… College Women: Stop Getting Drunk is not your message? I would, then, run to correct Emily Yoffe.

                • Nick

                  Emily Yoffe has professionals to correct her. But the truth is, I’d be happy if my daughter didn’t binge drink, and I think she’d be safer if she didn’t as well. I also think I’ll tell her those things.

                • Sherm

                  So, what should a father tell his 15 year old daughter about drinking and the dangers associated therewith? I’m not trolling. Just curious as to what type of parental advice would be considered acceptable here.

                  I’ve told her that she can drink at a party, but that she should try to drink beer or wine rather than hard liquor until she learns her limits bc getting past out drunk is no fun and very dangerous, for a lot of reasons, including health and physical safety. Whenever we’re at a party and someone is acting like an asshole after doing shots all day while I’m still having fun and am under control after drinking beers all day, I compare that person’s behavior and drinking to mine and she seems to agree that she’d rather not get too drunk. I have told her that she should be careful when drinking out of open cups at a party because assholes have been known to drug girls that way and to rape them. I’ve told her that she will not be in trouble for drinking and that she should not be afraid to call or text me for a ride home. Am I missing something?

                • Origami Isopod

                  Sherm – not being a parent, I’ll defer to Aimai or other people here with experience of raising kids and trying to inoculate them against rape culture. But I think overall you sound like you’re doing a reasonable job, not putting the emphasis on sexual assault but discussing the subject of heavy drinking in a holistic way with her – and assuring her she doesn’t have to fear calling you if she fears a rapist, which is excellent. Maybe also reassure her that if anything does happen, you’ll have her back? I’m sure you would, but it’s always good to hear from your parents.

        • witless chum

          I’d say the advice you should give your daughter might be quite different than the advice that the Slate woman should give in her column and the sort of official advice we should be giving people in health class or whatever. You’re probably able to tailor the way you talk to your daughter about this to make sure she knows that you’re not suggesting it’s her fault if she disregards your advice and gets raped.

          Women seems to be saying that they experience the sort of official advice quite differently. And as someone pointed out upthread, there seems to be a much greater desire for people to hand out advice to women to do something differently than to shame men into not committing rape.

          I think it’s probably true that a very drunk woman is at higher risk of sexual assault, but by how much is she at higher risk? And if the idea is that women are supposed to not ever get drunk, they miss out on the fun of getting drunk. That’s something. Also, assuming this is based on the case in Missouri, why is “don’t get drunk?” the advice under discussion? As opposed to, don’t go to parties with older boys? Or football players? Or never go into an environment where you’re close to the only girl? Or never live in a small town? It seems like those would be equally prudent advice based on that whole horror.

          • Nick

            Thank you, witless chum, I appreciate you actually reading what I wrote and responding to it. And you’re totally right, it is important to know if being drunk is an insignificant risk factor (I have no idea whether it is or not). If it’s not, and if using it is an example of selecting a random variable that hides the widespread nature of sexual assault, then I would agree it’s inappropriate to mention. I don’t think this is true, myself, but I can see how it might be.

            • witless chum

              I actually disagree with what you thought I meant. The main variable is the presence or not, of a determined rapist.

              Its not something you can really control if you’re in a public place. I think its well-established that rapists are more likely to target heavily intoxicated victims, but it’s also true that not drinking isn’t proof against roofies. But plenty of women get drunk and have a good time and do not face any sexual assault. So, I don’t think that’s really a super useful thing to know, because whatever the number is in aggregate, in specific the answer is “maybe, maybe not.” And people know that. If you tell a kid, don’t get drunk because you really raise your chances of getting raped, their going to think of all the people they know who’ve gotten drunk and not been sexually assaulted and they’re gonna think they’ll be the exception.

              So, I don’t think it’s useful for people like Yoffe to want to make this the be-all and end-all or rape prevention. I’d say something more like, be careful when you’re drinking. If it has to simple one-sentence advice, I’d say don’t go out and get drunk alone and watch out for your friends.

              • Disinterested

                If it has to simple one-sentence advice, I’d say don’t go out and get drunk alone and watch out for your friends.

                This. To the max.

              • Nick

                Yes, this is my position entirely, with the provision that I bet there are some stats somewhere on it.

              • ChrisTS

                ++

                I would add that the potential rapist need not be ‘determined.’ I have had male students who committed rape when they were drunk and were horrified by it afterwards (obviously, we are talking HUGE levels of drinking).

                So, it is not always or even usually a matter of how much the woman drinks, it is just as often a matter of how much the men are drinking.

        • Origami Isopod
        • Cheap Wino

          See, here’s the thing: The discussion isn’t about whether women should be careful when they drink. The discussion is about the problem with rape in our culture. Addressing the problem shouldn’t be that people get raped so we should talk to them about it how not to get raped.

          What you’re doing is telling people that they shouldn’t go golfing in a thunderstorm because they might get hit by lightning. What you should be doing is telling people who rape not to do it. “I told you not to do those tequila shots,” doesn’t do a damn thing to address the problem of rape in our culture. Even worse it places some of the blame on the victim and that’s where the screw you attitude of the responses you’re getting is coming from.

          • Nick

            Well, no — the LGM post was a response to an article warning women not to binge drink.

            And if my daughter was a golfer, I’d tell her not to go golfing in a thunderstorm. That’s because I do believe, as witless chum points out, that binge drinking really increases the risk of sexual assault; in other words, that it’s a thunderstorm. If that’s wrong, then I admit my advice would be bad.

            • Cheap Wino

              The point that whooshed over your head is that the thunderstorm analogy doesn’t apply, not that it does. “I told you not to go golfing in that thunderstorm,” is not the remotely the same thing as “I told you not to do tequila shots Friday night.” You’re treating them as equal and thus, to some degree, blaming the victim.

              You know how much blame the victim should get if they’re raped. Zero. Stop telling victims that it was partially their fault.

              • Nick

                I thought that the thunderstorm analogy holds IF being drunk substantially increases the risk of sexual assault, at least as I understand it.

                But you’re right, I wouldn’t blame my daughter if someone assaulted her when she was drunk; but if she went golfing in a thunderstorm I certainly would blame her for the lightening strike. If that’s what you meant, I missed it.

            • Origami Isopod

              Rapists, like thunderstorms, are forces of nature that have no ability to stop harming people. Thanks for that insight.

          • Emily

            I’m trying to imagine a world where parents routinely had conversations with their sons and daughters about what how to identify predatory behavior. How to notice when their friends and acquaintances talk about vulnerable peers as prey. How to see when someone is drinking too much and making stupid decisions that will get them or someone else hurt. How to take careful action to prevent things from going too far.

            Nah, let’s just talk about “hardening the target.”

            • witless chum

              This explains what I was trying to get at in a much shorter and better way.

              • Emily

                Bonus: it works for things other than rape, too!

                • Origami Isopod

                  Bullying, right off the top of my head. Because all the advice given to victims seldom if ever works — including “just stand up for yourself,” even if you only take into account that the victim will often get punished for doing so.

            • Thanks for this. Great comment.

            • I live in that world. I recommend the book “the gift of fear.”

              • Anna in PDX

                Yes! This book is a really good and powerful antidote to all this horrible advice on how not to be a victim that leads to the generalized anxiety and self-loathing of women in the rape culture.

            • Tyto

              We recently relocated near that world.

              Long story short: youngest brother-in-law (we think of him more as our oldest son) recently finished a college degree while living with us. Knowing he was in a frat and regularly drank way more than he should, we sat him down when he moved in and had a global discussion that included consent and alcohol. My wife, a lawyer who practices in a related field, also ran through all of the ways that she and her colleagues dealt with the aftermath of the poor choices we were trying to counsel him against.

        • DrDick

          No, it is that we do not think that only women should have to limit themselves to stay safe. The problem is that we do not hear a loud chorus of people telling boys and men not to rape, not to take advantage of drunk women and girls, that you have to have consent. What do you have against limiting peoples lives in ways that keep other people safe?

    • Why aren’t you concerned about your son being sexually assaulted, robbed, beaten up…?

      • Nick

        Again, with my son! I understand now, I can’t discuss giving my daughter advice about the risks of being sexually assaulted while drunk before I’ve disclosed every piece of advice my son has ever, or will (given that he’s 4) receive.

        Folks, honestly — if the issue under discussion is whether it’s OK to warn women about the heightened risk of sexual assault when they drink a lot, and all you can say is “But your son! But your son! What did you say to him!” — some people (i.e. myself) are going to conclude that either you don’t want to discuss it, or your arguments aren’t very good.

        • Denverite

          The point is that there is a world of practical suggestions that you can give to avoid various crimes. But when the examples that are commonly given — and are publicized as the “magic bullet” to stopping the crimes in question — are always “women, don’t do X” (where “X” is a perfectly legal and enjoyable activity), then it makes you wonder.

          • Nick

            There are a world of suggestions that people can give to help other people stay safe — the idea that rape is a ‘crime’ and thus someone is at fault is what is perverting this discussion. Of course it is — but I would like my daughter first of all to be safe, what happens to her is more important to me than the fact that there is a perpetrator who is responsible. Most suggestions for keeping safe are noncontroversial, and most of them involve some sort of trade-off in comfort, freedom, etc. Examples:

            – don’t walk thought that neighborhood at night
            – put your wallet in your front pocket
            – don’t buy drugs from someone you don’t trust
            – don’t use weird modern synthetic drugs
            – don’t ride in a car where the driver is drunk
            – don’t sunbathe without sunscreen
            – don’t smoke
            – remember that getting drunk puts you at an increased risk of sexual assault

            What does the latter make you wonder about me, when you know that I’m going to give it to my daughter?

            • You know what–i am a god damned woman and i have two daughters. I can not tell you how fucking much i do not need your tired, misguided, old, male ass telling me or my daughters how to protect themselves from crimes committed by criminals intent on hurting them. Women get raped all the damned time by men when no drinking has happened. Your advice amounts to nothing more than a toxic combination of magical thinking and wishful thinking. Contra your argument the only thing that has a proven track record reducing rape is the canadian “don’t be that guy” campaign.

            • Origami Isopod

              – put your wallet in your front pocket

              Ah, here we go, the inevitable comparison of women to property! Because it’s not like our cunts are, you know, part of us. They’re commodities, and I should be guarding mine jealously… by never leaving the house, I guess. Even though many women are raped by “loved ones,” and home invasions exist.

              • junker

                don’t sunbathe without sunscreen

                Ah yes, the inevitable comparison of women to skin health…

                Wait what?

                • Origami Isopod

                  Thanks for missing the point.

                  Also, thanks for missing the fact that men, unlike the sun, have a choice as to whether to harm others.

                • junker

                  hmmm. Your point seems to be that he has equated protecting your wallet with protecting yourself, and therefore that wallet = self, and that therefore women = property. Is this not your point? And how is it different from saying that therefore, women = skin health, and women = lung health?

                  He clearly put together an arbitrary list here and you’re trying to imply nefarious intent where there is none. I’ve been pretty impressed by the caliber of argument in this thread but there isn’t any need to jump on stupid stuff.

                • Origami Isopod

                  Junker, if you don’t regularly read threads in which men ‘splain to women on how to “avoid rape,” you probably wouldn’t know that I am objecting here to a very common trope with extremely misogynist assumptions.

        • some people (i.e. myself) are going to conclude that either you don’t want to discuss it, or your arguments aren’t very good.

          You’ve concluded no one takes seriously someone who is hawking tired tripe about rape?

          Gee whilikers, you’re smarter than I thought.

          • Nick

            What am I hawking?

            • Your amiable but confused dude schtick is no longer fedorable.

              • Rigby Reardon

                “Fedorable” – Jeeebus Christ, that’s awesome.

                • Origami Isopod

                  I have recently also seen “fedorati,” in reference to that demographic.

                • Must credit O.I. for fedorable.

                • Origami Isopod

                  Heh. I just reblogged it, so I don’t get credit.

        • I’m sorry that people asking you to examine whether you may be employing a double standard is hurting your feelings.

          Wait no, I’m actually not sorry about that at all.

        • The issue under discussion is institutionalized and socially-embedded sexism. If you (or anyone else) has one set of rules for your daughter (real or hypothetical) and another for your son, the question is “why?”

          • Nick

            We’re not talking about rules, I mentioned advice and safety. I think my son’s chances of being sexually assaulted are much lower than my daughters; maybe I’m wrong, but I think that. When my daughter is 25 and my son is 16, he’ll get a lot more advice about safe driving, etc. He’ll probably get more anyway, because I believe — also maybe incorrectly — that young men are shittier drivers than women. Are these things really so very wrong?

            • Yes, it is so very wrong. Your gut feeling that you should give different advice to your kids based on gender is wrong and your (apparent) feeling that giving similar advice here is wrong.

              If you said that you would give identical advice to a son and a daughter – something like, “don’t drink too much because bad things may happen to you” – I’d have no problem with it. The “bad things” might be different in your imagination, but the advice would be the same.

              • ChrisTS

                Well, so glad I wasted however much time and words saying this before I read Big Bear’s comment. :sigh:

                • N__B

                  You said it better than me. And from the heart.

                  No wastage.

                • ChrisTS

                  Hugs.

            • See guys, Nick wasn’t mansplaining, he was just having a different conversation than everyone else and is pissed off that we’re not letting him derail things.

              Totally innocent misunderstanding, I’m sure.

            • I think my son’s chances of being sexually assaulted are much lower than my daughters

              Leaving whether or not that is also dead wrong, what about other crimes?

              Are you saying the only crime that can happen to a person who is drunk is rape or are you saying men are somehow immune to crimes even when they’re drunk?

              Either way, you’re full of shit.

              • Origami Isopod

                It’s interesting, isn’t it, how the MRAs (and I don’t think Nick is an MRA, just really clueless) always go on about how men suffer much more violent crime when they’re out and about? But we don’t really see much of an effort to warn men about walking through “bad” (read: not-white) neighborhoods, staying away from dive bars, or anything of the like.

                • Nick

                  I’m not an MRA, thanks.

                • Disinterested

                  We don’t? Christ, what about this, among, oh, I don’t know, every other piece of culture regarding bad neighborhoods?

                  http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2013/09/04/ghetto-tracker_n_3869051.html

                • I no longer bother to distinguish between MRAs and the dudes who show up on MRA blogs whining about how they tried to tell feminist what to do but they were just so unreasonable about it.

                • Origami Isopod

                  I knew it was you, JenBob. I could smell the Mrs. Butterworth’s all the way from here.

                  BTW, what about women who live in those “bad” neighborhoods and can’t avoid them? Are you going to pretend now you give a flying fuck about the safety of poor women and/or WoC?

                • You’re very kind. I thought he was a bit too heavy on the “Whut? Whut did I say?” and butthurtling around at 150 mph because no one will address his Very Serious Comment to be sincerely confused.

                  But you’re dead on about different theories on crime prevention. If a guy gets mugged we need wall to wall police officers so people can go about their business.

                  A woman get’s raped, we all need to keep our booties indoors behind barricades and barred windows.

                • Disinterested

                  BTW, what about women who live in those “bad” neighborhoods and can’t avoid them? Are you going to pretend now you give a flying fuck about the safety of poor women and/or WoC?

                  What are you even talking about? You made an unsupported assertion about not “really seeing much of an effort to warn men about walking through “bad” (read: not-white) neighborhoods” and I checked that assertion with an obvious counterpoint. Your reply makes no sense.

                • I knew it was you, JenBob

                  ahahahaha I knew I had seen ‘sick fuck’ somewhere before.

        • elm

          I think the reason people bring up your son is how you phrased your first comment:

          “1) be careful driving on Friday and Saturday night, there are a lot of drunk drivers out there (given to both my kids).

          2) be careful getting really drunk, there are a lot of men who will sexually assault women in that condition (given to my daughter).”

          The straight-forward reading of this is that you give advice 1 to “both your kids” and advice 2 only to your daughter, suggesting you have both a daughter and a son and only one of them is getting adivce about getting drunk.

          When asked whether you give your son comparable advice, you say he’s 4, which makes the advice you claimed to give both your children about being careful driving over the weekend a little odd. Are you letting your 4-year-old drive?

          • Or advising his 13 year old not to get really drunk?

          • Nick

            You’re right, it was careless, I looked at that afterwards. I hope that’s not the reason this entire thread has gone down the tubes — I honestly never imagined that there could be so much rage at the suggestion I’d warn my daughter that drinking a lot puts her at risk for sexual assault.

    • JL

      Except that we changed our societal messaging around drunk driving. Like I said above, we started saying that friends don’t let friends drive drunk, emphasizing the importance of designated drivers, making it socially unacceptable to drive drunk, cracking down on it legally. And as a result, over the course of 29 years we reduced drunk driving fatalities by 65%.

      Nobody has ever told me that I shouldn’t drive on weekend nights (though people older than me have told me that they were told that, back before the general thrust of the messaging around drunk driving shifted). However, many people have told me over the course of my life that I shouldn’t walk alone after dark, that I shouldn’t drink at parties, that I shouldn’t socialize alone with men, that I shouldn’t walk across campus after dark without a campus security escort, that I shouldn’t take the subway at night, that I shouldn’t go to parties alone at all…I could go on. Most of those people were well-intentioned. The same holds true for almost every woman or assigned-female-at-birth trans*/genderqueer person that I know. And yet a tremendous number of the people that I know have been raped, and most of those have experienced some sort of victim-blaming. Some of them developed intense self-loathing because they absorbed all those well-intentioned messages and felt like they’d failed.

  • Since I probably won’t get a proper blog post about it until I get home, something I’ve been wondering about. If we had this discussion less in terms of prevention, and more in terms of retaliation, might we be able to circumvent some of the endemic victim-blaming bullshit?

    i.e. if we talked less about preventing rape from happening, and more about making sure that every single rapist is charged, tried, and convicted every time, it might obviate the questions about “common sense” and “what did you expect.”

    As a citizen, when anyone is raped, I expect the state to retaliate on their and my behalf. That’s common sense.

    • i.e. if we talked less about preventing rape from happening, and more about making sure that every single rapist is charged, tried, and convicted every time, it might obviate the questions about “common sense” and “what did you expect.”

      I think you’d get that eventually. But society will need to evolve past the point where crimes involving genitalia are seen as sex first and a crime a distant second.

  • But putting the responsibility for avoiding being raped on women is still very problematic given the context.

    Tidied.

    • You women. Always cleaning up after men.

      • Sammich sir? Motherfuckin’ iced tea?

        • I could actually go for some motherfuckin’ iced tea. I may have to get up form my desk.

  • FL

    One thing both Yoffe and Friedman seem to get wrong is that many colleges and universities do, in fact, tell both men and women that alcohol is involved in a large majority of reported cases of sexual assault. They also urge men not to drink to excess partly because of intoxication’s effects on decisionmaking. My college’s orientation session on this (which I’ve presented for the last seven years or so, and which is a revised version of a program made at many other institutions) tells men very clearly and at length what Friedman says we don’t, namely “[letting] men know that when they drink their decision-making skills into oblivion, they can do terrible things.” And that they are responsible for this and they will be held accountable in life-ruining ways. (In practice this is not as true as it should be, but certainly that’s the message.)

    • kateislate

      I think for a certain type of guy, essentially good but raised in rape culture as we all are and taught no-means-no instead of only-yes-means-yes, realizing that you committed a rape could be life-ruining simply in self-accountability. Not that that changes the need for external accountability. But even given how bad we are at external accountability so far, I think the message you are delivering could hit home for a lot of guys.

      Even before we fix the justice system (hopefully deterring at least some of the people who think ‘I’d like to rape someone and I don’t think there will be consequences’) I think a program like yours could protect a lot of people (by reaching the people who think ‘I don’t want to be a rapist’).

    • Joshua

      While is is undoubtedly useful (and, I think, far more prevalent on college campuses than folks here think it is), it’s not just about college. Bible Belt HS in Kansas or Alabama isn’t saying this. Instead it’s saying that boys will be boys and the quarterback runs the school.

  • Anonymous Won

    One of the major problems I have with advising women not to drink is that it does nothing to reduce the total number of female sexual assault victims but rather teaches how to make a particular person a less appealing target. This doesn’t get at the problem of sexual assault it just… changes which individual people are sexually assaulted. Not good enough.

    • Denverite

      I actually think this is wrong. I think in most (though certainly not all) cases where an intoxicated woman is assaulted, the perpetrators probably weren’t on the prowl to do so. It’s more a crime of opportunity.

      • No evidence that this is true. There is plenty of predatory sexual behavior out there that uses drinking and partying as its method. Read any PUA or frat boy fb page.

        • Denverite

          Hence the “I think” and “certainly not all” language. But maybe I’m wrong. Maybe most assaults that occur when the woman is intoxicated are committed by people who set out to do that from the get-go. I just would be surprised.

          • witless chum

            http://yesmeansyesblog.wordpress.com/2009/11/12/meet-the-predators/

            Have you read this, Denverite? It suggests that the majority of rapes are committed by a small group of guys who commit rape after rape, so I tend to think that means they’re setting out to do that from the get go, at least in some sense.

            • Denverite

              Color me surprised. I never would have thought this. The discussed survey seems pretty robust.

              • JL

                Another good one is Steve Thompson’s study of men who had been actually convicted of acquaintance rape, which had pretty similar results to Lisak’s study.

                If you want to see something extremely creepy (trigger warnings like crazy at this link), Lisak created a video where he had a student reenact one of his interviews with an undetected rapist, using the transcript of the actual interview. When I do public education on the dynamics of sexual assault for my local rape crisis center, we show and discuss this video, as well as talking about the Lisak and Thompson studies.

                Acquaintance rape, at least male-on-female acquaintance rape (which is what most of the research is about) is a lot less often a crime of opportunity than people assume.

                • GoDeep

                  This is an informative study, thanks for sharing.

                  Please correct me if I’m wrong (and I’m sure you will! :-) but the way I read it is: 6% of men commit 100% of rapes; 4% of men commit 91% of rapes. This suggests that a small group of evil men are responsible for the rape problem. ie, while sexism is a cultural issue, rape is (largely) not.

                  I can imagine that a “Don’t be a Rapist” campaign could successfully eliminate the 1/3rd of rapists who are (according to the study) one time rapists. That 1/3rd tho only accounts for 9% of rapes.

                  But how could such a broad move to change the culture reduce the majority of rapes (91%) which are committed by serial rapists? These guys are just pathological. Rapists are like other criminals & their acts are best explained by psychology, not sociology.

                • A serial rapist is a rapist who does it more than once–that doesn’t mean that he is “pathological” so much as its his pattern. And yes, sociology can be used to manage these guys as much or more than psychology. Epidimieology can be used to evaluate spaces/places where this kind of rapist is likely to make his attack and work to make those spaces/place and times more safe for all women and men. We don’t expect businessmen who work late at the office to carry their own flashlight to avoid falling down the stairs–we light the building for them. Ditto for libraries and other public spaces. There a about a million things that we can do as a society that limit the ability even of determined predators to harm us. Pushing it back on the individual is really very retrograde.

                • JL

                  You’re right that the large majority of male-perpetrated rapes (there’s unfortunately very little research on non-male rapists) are perpetrated by a small percentage of men. However, it’s still a wider cultural issue, and here are a few reasons why:

                  1) Acquaintance rapists (who are the large majority of rapists) evaluate their environments to figure out how likely they are to be able to carry out the rape and get away with it. That means that for every rapist, there are other people who are unintentionally enabling or encouraging the rapist, or who could discourage the rapist and thereby prevent rapes but who don’t know how to do that or how to recognize potentially bad situations. Giving people the knowledge and the inclination, and getting the to stop enabling and encouraging, is about changing the culture.

                  2) 4% or 6% (let’s go with 5% for simplicity’s sake) isn’t a high percentage of men relatively speaking, but it’s still a lot, and they don’t wear neon signs on their foreheads, they mostly look like everyone else. One in 20. Think about that the next time you’re in a setting with a lot of guys. Your workplace. A big party with your friends (statistically, you’ve almost certainly met rapists, and you might be friends with one and not know it). A college campus. A crowded subway car. A movie theater. Then (IIRC you are a guy, forgive me if I’m wrong) imagine that you’re part of a group with increased risk of being raped (e.g. women, queer people, trans* people) and think about it again.

                  3) A lot more than 5% of women (not to mention, a non-negligible number of men) are rape survivors – the study that I link to in one of my comments in this thread says about 18% of women, in fact. And a lot more than that have experienced some form of sexual violence. Part of the cultural issue of rape and sexual violence is how we – the police/legal system, the medical system, the mental health system, employers, landlords, friends, romantic partners, journalists, random people – perceive and respond to survivors.

        • kateislate

          Above you referenced the ‘don’t be that guy’ campaign. I think Denverite could be right if he refers to that kind of guy, the ones who aren’t consciously predatory but aren’t thinking about the importance of consent (a ‘crime of opportunity’ where the opportunity is that the girl can’t say no and the dude thinks no-means-no is the only rule he has to follow). Frankly, I think that the ‘don’t be that guy’ campaign is probably more effective against those guys that telling girls to stay sober. If a guy wouldn’t assault a sober girl but would assault a drunk one, AND wouldn’t go looking for a drunk girl but would rape one right in front of him, I think he’s probably a good candidate for an only-yes-means-yes/don’t-be-a-rapist message.

          In fact, Denverite’s comments and the facts people explained to respond make this discussion pretty clear. In a case when the rapist could be deterred, the more useful message is to the would-be-rapist. In a case when the rapist is unlikely to be deterred, telling girls not to get drunk will just transfer the assault to the person not following the advice. Either way, saying ‘don’t get drunk’ as a widespread message isn’t going to solve the problem as efficiently as the ‘don’t rape’ message, and wont have as many potentially positive knock-on effects (i.e. dismantling rape culture).

      • Origami Isopod

        No, they’re on the prowl. If the woman isn’t “drunk enough,” they’ll add something to her drink. Or they’ll keep filling her glass when she isn’t looking.

        • Disinterested

          ….and so we should teach young women to be careful when consuming alcohol, because there are sick fucks out there who would do things like this.

          Oh wait, I forgot, we can’t say that.

          • You’re right, we absolutely shouldn’t put all the responsibility on women while implying that rapists share none of it because they’re ‘sick fucks.’

            That is not only disgusting, it’s idiotic to boot.

            • Disinterested

              And so what you’ve done here is projected an argument onto me. If you weren’t so clearly worked up, and I realize I’m going full jfl here, you would understand from context that calling someone a “sick fuck” actually casts the entirely of the blame onto them. What else could it mean?

              • If you weren’t so clearly worked up,

                Lol the baby is trying to reverse troll.

                and I realize I’m going full jfl here

                That is unfair. I have never seen jfl try to game an argument by insisting that all people work from an incredibly specific definition that exists only within his own mind.

                What else could it mean?

                Oh wait, you honestly don’t get how saying is ‘sick’ could imply a lack of control of their faculties? Was this post beamed in from Planet WordsDon’tActuallyMeanThings?

                • Disinterested

                  Oh wait, you honestly don’t get how saying is ‘sick’ could imply a lack of control of their faculties? Was this post beamed in from Planet WordsDon’tActuallyMeanThings?

                  Fine. Good point. I was actually just going for a strong condemnation, and yes, came out with a phrase that could be misinterpreted. I’ll take it back, since I’ve already clarified. You could do everyone a solid and not assume the worst. Especially since you’ve already called me JenBob a few times.

                • Disinterested

                  I want to go back to this for a second. How do you square the idea that part of the problem is “othering” rapists, and not giving any quarter to the idea that there’s something fundamentally wrong with them, with the link above from witless chum? These two ideas seem to be in conflict.

              • Disinterested

                I have never seen jfl try to game an argument by insisting that all people work from an incredibly specific definition that exists only within his own mind.

                You all fight with joe constantly for this exact reason. If this is not I joke, I will strongly suggest that you are wrong.

          • Origami Isopod

            I think we should teach trolls to be careful when consuming pancakes.

            • It’s wah-fer thin!

              • Origami Isopod

                Maître d’: Uh, today we have, uh, for appetizers: Excuse me. Mhmm. Uh, rape apologetics, old-school racism, teabagger cheerleading, tired “parrot” jokes, glibertarian bilge, or merde de Ayn Rand– c’est à dire, little piles of shit on a bed of puréed vomit. It’s very delicate. Very subtle.

                JenBob: I’ll have the lot.

                Maître d’: A wise choice, monsieur. And now, how would you like it served? All, uh, mixed up togezer in crêpes?

                JenBob: Yeah,… with the shit on top.

                Maître d’: But of course, avec la merde.

                JenBob: Yeah, and don’t skimp on the bilge.

        • Scott Lemieux

          Which actually happened in the Maryville case. Coleman was clearly blackout drunk but her friend wasn’t; she got raped anyway.

    • Karen

      Ex Act A Mun Doh. The problem is the binge drinking, which is bad for everyone. Address that.

  • The Pale Scot

    Really, the “I was too drunk to know I was rapin'” is BS, if your sober enough to unbutton your pants, your sober enough to know you are a rapist. Take it from one who was a professional drinker. I could ride a bike well after I was too blotto to walk, and if I was too blotto to ride I knew I was too blotto to drive, no matter how much I wanted to go score some blow to keep partying.

    • megan

      Very true. I can’t find it now, but I once read a survey of serial rapists in which some of them admitted that they would get drunk as a way to dull their conscience enough to go through with the rape, as well as to give themselves cover. Their drinking was a consequence of their intent to rape, not the other way around.

  • Karen

    I have two teenaged sons. I HATE this kind of advice because it implies that boys don’t need to worry about getting drunk or their friends getting drunk. Getting drunk is a bleeding stupid thing to do ever, for anybody. Instead of wasting our time blaming girls for being victims, why not wage an all-out war on all binge drinking? Make getting drunk at parties as socially unacceptable as smoking has become for anyone in the middle class upwards? MADD did good work their for a while. Why not build on that? Let’s keep everyone safe.

    • Denverite

      I had a snarky reply, but in all seriousness, I think the answer to your question(s) is that drinking is too much fun for there to be a concerted effort to stigmatize it, and the “it’s OK to drink, but only if you’re older than your mid 20s or so, and not in excess” is just to muddled and hypocritical for teenagers and people in their early 20s to buy it.

    • witless chum

      Because I like getting drunk and I don’t see the need to try to make people not do that fun, but somewhat dangerous thing. Stigmatizing drunk driving seems a lot more possible.

      • Origami Isopod

        Harm reduction is a good thing.

    • Origami Isopod

      If we’re going to stigmatize getting drunk at parties, we have to chip away at the puritanism about alcohol that has gotten worse in the U.S. over the last 30 years. There are people who think that parents who let their teenagers have a beer or a glass of wine at dinner should be reported to the police. In that kind of atmosphere it’s no wonder kids go nuts once they get out of their parents’ houses.

      • Stan Gable

        The puritanism goes way back beyond 30 years obviously.

        Is there any evidence to back up the notion that americans binge drink more than others or just that we binge drink in ways that are puzzling to everyone else?

        • Anna in PDX

          I think there is, I think I once read something about how cultures that prohibit alcohol in any way (drinking age, or just blanket prohibition) have more of a problem with binge drinking than cultures that don’t (i.e., many European countries). I lived in Saudi Arabia and I think this is true from just anecdata, but I also think I read an actual study on it.

          • CaptBackslap

            That’s correct, but Europe has more problems with alcohol dependency. So there are pluses and minuses.

            That said, the U.S. manages to combine high dependency and high binge-drinking rates, so we’re clearly doing something wrong.

        • Origami Isopod

          The puritanism goes way back beyond 30 years obviously.

          Oh, sure, but the insistence that nobody under A Certain Age should ever ingest alcohol (and we’re not talking toddlers here) is about 30 years old.

          Is there any evidence to back up the notion that americans binge drink more than others or just that we binge drink in ways that are puzzling to everyone else?

          Northern Europe has some horrific problems with binge drinking, too. Anna is probably on to something about “forbidden fruit.”

      • Sherm

        If we’re going to stigmatize getting drunk at parties, we have to chip away at the puritanism about alcohol that has gotten worse in the U.S. over the last 30 years. There are people who think that parents who let their teenagers have a beer or a glass of wine at dinner should be reported to the police. In that kind of atmosphere it’s no wonder kids go nuts once they get out of their parents’ houses.

        This is exactly how I feel. Its impossible to prevent kids from wanting to experiment with alcohol, drugs and sex, so why forbid it and send them underground, without adult supervision? Its better that we supervise and regulate it as much as possible since they are going to do it anyway. Growing up in the mid-80’s, my friends and I use to go back to my house with a case (or more) of beer after playing basketball to jump in the pool, and my dad would come out and throw hotdogs on the BBQ for us and drink a few beers with us as well. We’d then head into town (I lived in the country) and bring the party to another friend’s house, and hopefully get some more friends over. We would hang out in loft above garage, but his parents would be home and we’d interact with them, especially if anyone need to use the bathroom or to get some food. It just wasn’t a big deal. Our experimental drinking was thus supervised to an extent, and since we could do it more freely and without hiding from adults, we were able to learn how to drink relatively responsibly.

        • chris

          Its impossible to prevent kids from wanting to experiment with alcohol, drugs and sex, so why forbid it and send them underground, without adult supervision?

          Well, I think the answer that produced the laws we actually have is that sufficiently inept supervision is indistinguishable from enabling.

          Not saying I endorse that point of view, necessarily, but it’s not totally without logic.

      • Karen

        This is an important point. My parents never made booze a big deal. They didn’t drink much, but they also never made me think it was anything but a rather nice accompaniment to a good meal. They also explained the terrible consequences of drinking and driving — that lesson was reinforced when four of my classmates were killed in a drunk driving accident when I was a junior.

  • Brendon

    In my experience (I’ve investigated, prosecuted and defended numberous sexual offenses) binge drinking (among both assailants and victims) is a major contributing factor. It seems to me that pursuing public policies designed to reduce binge drinking across the board could provide a number of benefits (binge dinking produces many evils in addition to contributing to sexual assault). But it also seems like it can be pursued in ways that don’t involve lecturing women on why its their responsibility to avoid rape. At one point I was at a location that made all of the dorms dry (no alcohol possession, consumption etc… allowed) – I was initialy dubious that it would have much of an impact but over the following years there was a massive decrease in sexual assaults. Now obviously, prohibition is not an option (or even desireable) in most locations, but, as I said, it seems to me that binge drinking presents a lot of serious social problems and that we would all benefit significantly from its reduction.

    • Origami Isopod

      Binge drinking does pose a lot of health and other problems, but ideally it should be addressed separate from the rape issue, because while it may be correlated with sexual assault, it is not the cause.

      • Brendon

        Its a vector for sexual assault — and in my experience, the most prevelant vector, at least among the populations I deal with. Reducing binge drinking will reduce a lot of bad things — including, I think, the absolute incidents of sexual assault. In my mind though, the key is what kind of policies can communities pursue that reduce binge drinking without devolving into victim blaming. Obviously, with most other crimes we do a fairly good job at divorcing prevention strategies from blaming the victim (we may advice people not to flash about large rolls of cash in public, but we don’t generally go to blaming someone who does and is subsequently mugged — for good reason: its the mugger’s damn fault), but we do a horrible job of this with sexual assault (for all the reasons others have written about with far greater expertise then I have). So while I think reducing the rate of binge drinking would be very effective strategy for reducing the rate of sexual assault, I don’t want to see it done in a way that re-enforces our cultural tendancy to blame victims first with apparently scant regard for perpetrator behavior. I think this article in Slate, while perhaps well intended, completely fails on this point.

        • Origami Isopod

          Given Yoffe’s history on Slate, not to mention Slate’s raison d’être as a clickbait repository, I would disagree that it’s well intended.

          • Brendon

            To be clear, I did not intend to convey that it was, I was just admiting the possibility. That being said, as I’m not very familiar with Yoffe and it appears that you are, I’m more than willing to defer to your assessment on this point.

        • L2P

          It’s a “vector” formlotsmof things. Haw many DV cases you done that didn’t have alcohol,involved? And how often do those robbers have alcohol involved? And assaults. Murders. I’d be shocked if 50%+ didn’t involve alcohol.

          Do you know why rape, not these other crimes, comes up? Victim blaming. We never blame an battery victim for being drunk. But rape brings it up every time.

          I’d start thinking about that if I was you.

          • L2P

            Wow autocorrect is weird today.

          • Brendon

            Well, I’ve worked few murders, but none of them involved binge drinking. In my experience, binge drinking in DV cases is almost always on the part of the assailant and not the victim. But I take your point, alcohol can be a contributing factor in many different kinds of crimes, not just sexual assault. At the same time, from what I’ve seen, it is a particularly significant factor in sexual assault, to a far greater degree then most other types of offenses. I would estimate that 80% to 90% of the sexaul assault cases (not including child centered offenses, which have different dynamics) I’ve been involved in alcohol facilitated offenses. Based on my experience (and I get that experience is not the same as data), I think that a significant reduction in binge drinking would lead to many benefits — including a reduction in sexual assaults.

            As I said above though, I am very aware that in the context of sexual assault, when people begin to talk about prevention stratigies, there is an overwhelming tendancy for the whole thing to become an excercise in victim blaming. So the question in my mind is what kind of stratigies can communities pursue that encourage a reduction in binge drinking without also becoming excercises in victim blaming?

  • Rob in CT

    This is such a tired argument. I feel like it’s been going on for at least 10 years on the internet (more likely longer, but that’s about as far back as I go online).

    Of course it’s best if you don’t go out and get utterly hammered, especially around folks you don’t know and trust*. That’s generally good advice for anyone! It’s advice I would have been better off following more in college. But it’s really not going to do much about rapists. Sure, I’ll tell my daughters to be careful (about lots of stuff!), including avoidance-of-rapey-situations advice, as best I can. But as a general societal message, blech.

    “Good people aren’t friends with or enablers of rapists” is a better message. Combine that with “don’t be that guy” for any actual persuadable rapists, and back it up with “if you rape, we’ll nail you for it.”

    * – of course, rapists abuse trust…

    • Origami Isopod

      * – of course, rapists abuse trust…

      Indeed. And if a woman were to avoid men as possible — which I am not saying is desirable or workable — she’d bring down another load of societal shite on her head. If we try to “cut our risks,” as has been so helpfully explained upthread, we’re regarded as manhating feminazis. We have to carefully balance concern for our safety against hurting the fee-fees of some random guy who wants to walk us out to the parking lot.

    • Prezackly. I have actually warned my daughters about drinking to excess and they are 14 and 17 and not moving in social circles where there is any drinking (yet). But drinking has become, like gun violence in games and on tv, something that has no real world logic to it. It does not obey the laws of biology or gravity. We like to watch the canadian show lost girl and the main female characters routinely drink amounts of alcohol which, given their body weight would out them under the table and out of the action and possibly dead in short order. I have explained to my daughters that this is not how alchohol and the body mix. Not because they could get raped or rolled-those things can happen snyways–but because they can choke to death on their own vomit, die of of alcohol poisoning, or otherwise harm themselves or other people.

    • Sherm

      “Good people aren’t friends with or enablers of rapists” is a better message. Combine that with “don’t be that guy” for any actual persuadable rapists, and back it up with “if you rape, we’ll nail you for it.”

      Agreed. In this instance, there were more than the just the two rapists there, there were several other boys, including one who apparently recorded part of a rape on his iphone. The two kids who raped the girls are sick fucks, and sick fucks are always going to exist. But they could have been stopped on this occasion by one or more of the other guys, who apparently were decent enough not to rape, but too weak or not decent enough to stop the others. Its those guys who can be readily reached.

  • JL

    As much as I appreciate Friedman writing a response and want to endorse it, I do have an issue with it. By and large, acquaintance rape doesn’t happen because perpetrators are too drunk to make good decisions. People who commit acquaintance rape may have had something to drink but usually they aren’t getting trashed. They use alcohol instrumentally to make their targets easier targets – they give them more drinks, they lie about whether drinks have alcohol or how much alcohol they have, they intentionally pick people who are inexperienced drinkers and don’t know how much it takes to get drunk or how to recognize when they’re getting drunk. But they aren’t just getting drunk and doing something really bad because they don’t know what they’re doing. Acquaintance rape tends to be a lot more intentional than that.

    • Disinterested

      This is my take on the matter as well. It bothers me that several commenters have taken the tack that rape is committed by “regular guys” who simply have never been told not to rape. This is a ridiculously pat suggestion that at once diminishes the crime and leads to the completely wrong policies. I know the world is not full of Patrick Batemans, but at the same time, lack of education isn’t the problem. As others have said, these rapists have heard the “Don’t Rape!” message, and rejected it. We need to punish and shame those who commit rape, and at the same time talk honestly about the tactics rapists use to choose their victims. It’s not like we don’t know! The “Don’t be that guy” campaign is great, and I’m glad it’s working, but why is it an either/or?

      • LeftWingFox

        Most serial rapists out there on prey on their social circles, rather than on strangers in bushes. They get their cover because friends aren’t willing to believe their good buddy Bob just raped someone.

      • JL

        The thing is, though, I’ve been disagreeing with you throughout the thread. Because alcohol is only one tactic, and people who do everything “right” still get raped at pretty high rates, and you’re also not considering the psychological damage that the constant “Don’t get drunk!” messaging can do to people who have been raped, given that this is still a society where we jump to blame people who have been sexually assaulted. If it weren’t, maybe this would be a different conversation. But it is. I talk to people on the hotline who are suicidal or close to it because they’ve internalized the message that they caused their own rapes.

        Rapists tend to look for people who are vulnerable or can be made vulnerable. This can mean alcohol, but it can also mean everything from “This person just broke up with their romantic partner and is really sad and wants to talk to someone” to “This person doesn’t have a lot of friends” to “This person is small and thin” to “This person is new to this environment and doesn’t know the people or social norms well yet” to “This person has a disability” to “This person is trans* and will thus be seen as disreputable by a large portion of the population” to “This person is asleep so I will have the advantage of surprise.” There are many, many kinds of vulnerability.

        I don’t have a problem with teaching people that binge drinking can be dangerous (and has anyone over the age of 13 or so NOT heard that?). But what you’ve been missing in this thread, I think, is that the way our society currently frames sexual assault makes well-intentioned advice come off differently than it would in a society that framed it better, and that advice given with the best of intentions can do harm because it doesn’t exist in a vacuum.

        • JL, I didn’t have a chance to read your very, very, thoughtful post but I wanted to second everything you’ve said. I think one reason why I, certainly, react badly to the “just don’t drink and everything will be hunky dory” advice is that, as I said, its so very magical thinking. Rapists target vulnerable people, as you said–and there are a million and one ways to be seen as vulnerable and to be vulnerable to predators. One of the things I like about the book I recommended upthread “The Gift of Fear” is that it demonstrates to you that one of the most dangerous thing for a woman is being too polite and not pushing back early and hard enough. Because one of the things that predators are looking for is someone who won’t fight back, or isn’t in a position to fight back. Being drunk isn’t a problem if you are surrounded by a phalanx of active, positive, friends. Being sober and alone and civil to some guy testing your boundaries might be more dangerous.

      • I think this is just an incredibly weird thing to say:

        It bothers me that several commenters have taken the tack that rape is committed by “regular guys” who simply have never been told not to rape. This is a ridiculously pat suggestion that at once diminishes the crime and leads to the completely wrong policies.

        First, it really misses the point of what people are saying here and, second, its really not accurate at all for a vast number of rapes. Of course there are hard and fast, classic, stranger rapes with or without violence, and predatory rapes by guys who are serial rapists, but there are lot of cases that are borderline and that the men themselves do not recognize as “rape rape” when/if they are caught. There’s tons of research on this. And this applies specifically in situations where sexuality is itself a forbidden topic and where issues of consent are confused. If you’ve been raised in a puritanical society where “good” people don’t have sex outside of marriage you are highly likely to need to drink in order to relieve yourself of responsibility, to encourage your date to drink, and to have sex with her without fully grasping the consent issues. People need tons of education about consent and drinking and consciousness–and consent within the context of a relationship in which it can be given but withdrawn. A whole lot of young guys and girls need educating about this. Sure: it won’t affect the straight up psychopath but rape and sexual assault is not at all limited to psychopaths.

      • Yolo Contendere

        Actually, they haven’t heard the “Don’t rape” message. It was drowned out by the “boys will be boys” message.

    • CaptBackslap

      I was genuinely stunned to see the study referenced above. I’d always assumed that acquaintance rape was kind of stumbled into by a jackass more often than not, as opposed to dudes being out to rape specifically.

      I thought my opinion of humanity had hit rock-bottom, but now I have to rent a damned steam shovel.

      • I thought my opinion of humanity had hit rock-bottom, but now I have to rent a damned steam shovel.

        The mansplaining dudes in this thread are not helping. The rental costs keep going up — I’m thinking of buying my own drilling rig at this point.

  • steve

    1. Yoffe assumes parents are reluctant to tell their kids about the dangers of drinking. That is a strange assumption.

    2. Not getting very drunk might be a wise individual behavior within a system where there are plenty of rapists and they regularly get away with it. However, it is quite sad that women are forced to take all sorts of extraodinary precautions to slightly (if at all) reduce their chance of being raped, and then are subject to second-guessing when rape occurs.

    3. As a society we can change the system . There are not a fixed number of rapists or a fixed number of rape events that will occur no matter what we do as a society. The goal should be to reduce the number of rapists and rapes, not to teach women how to take precautions that will make the rapist rape some other “foolish” woman instead..

    Analogy:

    Problem: There is a bear that eats people.

    Yoffe’s solution: “Put on your tennis shoes…you don’t need to outrun the bear; you just need to outrun the that foolish woman in flip-flops.”

    Better solution: “Get rid of the damn bear and wear flipflops if you’d like.”

    Conclusion: let’s focus on strategies that:

    1. Teach young men that non-consensual sex is never ok. Get them to consider their behavior and to speak openly with young women about consent when things are not clear.
    2. Do not create an environment that allows rapists to believe they will get away with rape or to actually get away with rape. Do not let misogyny slide; make sure your friends know their comments or behavior are not acceptable and they will not receive support.

    You can’t erradicate crime but you sure as hell can limit it. Telling people to cower at home is not the way to do that.

    • LeftWingFox

      Ensuring bystanders are more willing to watch out for harrassers and rapists is important too. If non-rapist friends of rapists are willing to say “Hey, you don’t want to do this, man” rather than take photos, that’ll help a hell of a lot.

      • JL

        I would love to see as many people as possible get bystander intervention training (one of the various trainings that I run in my volunteer work). Find out if your local rape crisis center or another local group offers it! Request trainings for groups that you belong to!

        Just think if, instead of telling college women for the thousandth time about the dangers of getting drunk, we trained all college students in bystander intervention! It would equip people to make their communities (and by extension, themselves) better and safer, and also send the message to potential rapists that this is not an environment where people tolerate that.

        • Origami Isopod

          The Open Source Backup Project is/was pretty good. Their website’s down but I’m guessing they’re still in action at fandom conventions.

    • Steve, I totally love you for this analogy. Its brilliant.

      • I’m Nobody — what’s it to you?

        Yes. More love.

        It’s exactly right. I think of it as “don’t be the slowest gazelle” — but that doesn’t do shit about the crocodiles in the river.

        Moreover, focusing on not being the slowest gazelle thwarts the necessity of looking out for others, and seems to reify a wider social sense of helplessness in stopping rape. We’re all just individuals here, trying to flee. No one wants anyone they love to be the slowest gazelle — but the actual problem is the crocs. Or bears, thanks for that.

        Or, if you prefer your basic Feminism 101 in more theoretical terms, there are no individual solutions to political problems.

    • Rob in CT

      This is excellent.

      It also makes me think of the Simpsons (Lisa, I would like to buy your rock!), which is also excellent.

    • Enough Already

      Timothy Treadwell did nothing wrong- say no to nut-shaming!

  • Decrease Mather

    Not sure if this has been mentioned above, but Emily Yoffe is the Jerry Springer of advice columnists. Every week it is “my boyfriend wants to have a threesome with a prostitute, what should I do?”

    • Sparticus

      Ask her who the third person will be.

      • Origami Isopod

        +1

    • Origami Isopod

      It was discussed waaaayyyy upthread.

      Yoffe’s terrible, but I don’t know that she’s worse than Cary Tennis.

    • Dear Prudie, I have a threesome of beers once a week…

  • JL

    Something that is worth noting for the people in this thread who don’t understand why their comments, which they perceive as well-intentioned and mild, are being met with anger by a lot of women commenters (and some other commenters too:

    18.3% of women have been raped or had someone attempt to rape them at some point in their lives. 44.6% have experienced some sort of sexual violence (also worth noting: so have more than 20% of men). A discussion that is relatively abstract for you may be deeply personal for someone else in this thread.

    When I run some trainings, I do an exercise where everyone stands up, then people stay standing if they (are aware of) know(ing) someone who has been sexually assaulted, then stay standing if they (are aware of) know(ing) someone who has been raped. The reason is so that everyone, especially the people who aren’t still standing, can see that this is the life experience and trauma history of the people around them, not debate club.

    • Yup. Don’t speak of rope in the house of a hanged man. Or at any rate, if you are going to do so, don’t pontificate about its qualities.

    • Yes. This. 1000 x.

      Thanks.

    • nillions’ irish fred

      Even if the number of women who’ve been raped were some incredibly tiny minority the comments ITT would still be spectacularly stupid and hateful, no matter how much the awful, empathy-crippled people saying them want to believe they’re being “well intentioned and mild”

      House Republicans believe they’re being well intentioned and mild, people’s self-serving impressions of their own intentions don’t mean much when they’re actually being awful fucks.

    • MacK

      There are some questions around the 18.3% number’s reliability, but I don’t disagree that it is too high.

      An issue that has been raised is inter alia the sexism of confining the advice to women, especially young women. There is considerable evidence to suggest that the likelihood of young men experiencing violence resulting severe injury or death on a night out is very high, especially when binge drinking. Yet, the advice about safety is targeted nearly exclusively at young women. I am not a teetotaller, but I see a certain sexism at targeting the advice about the drinking at the girls – or asking the boys to escort the girls to keep them safe.

      Actually, 30 odd years ago my dad had a friend whose daughter I was asked to ‘escort’ to a nightclub in a medium sized city. She essentially engineered a situation where I found myself trying to deal with a large violent drunk attacking me with a broken bottle, while ‘escorting’ her out of the club (she had decided to leave) and home to her place. Later when I told some cousins the story, they rolled their eyes – apparently this was her “party trick,” which was why the local boys all avoided being anywhere near her or even at an event with her – it happened a lot! She apparently got some sort of kick out of instigating really violent brawls and would look for a serious thug anywhere she went that she could create a situation with; her parents thought she needed protection. Several guys had ended up in the emergency room. She’s a lawyer now….

      • MacK

        Let me clarify the above, for the men reading this. Suppose I was prevailed upon, after I had been warned about the young lady concerned’s party trick, to escort her on a second occasion – and this time she pulled her usual stunt – and I was glassed (bottle or beer-glass in face) and blinded, would I be to blame for being assaulted – or would she and/or the guy who glassed me be to blame.

        This is the tension – I found out her particular pathology and she, and the guys she used to implement it are to blame entirely for the injuries that resulted (and they did, just not to me), but it was a wise choice to avoid (and I did 2 or 3 times) being prevailed upon to escort her again. Still, those were pretty nasty guys she was involving in her games.

        • I’m very tired and I have a headache, so maybe the following question is entirely due to me, but what the hell does this have to do with the topic at hand? She sounds like an asshole, but I fail to see the connection between that and the topic.

          • MacK

            I think I explained. That a victim made a bad choice that exposed them to a victimiser may be an issue to consider when advising others how not to end up victims too (by now the victim is already probably aware of it) but it does not justify the victimiser’s behaviour, or make the victim to blame. Escorting a young woman in a town full of drunks so as to keep an old family friend’s daughter safe is not in principle a bad thing – the fact that she uses such situations to engage in attention getting pathology makes it dangerous. It does not make the escort to blame, she and the designated thug-of-the-night is to blame.

            It still means that it was good advice to not escort her again (or had I know the first time.)

            • Unless you are stating – and I don’t believe that you are – that all women play that type of game, the analogy fails. It would be a mistake to accompany this one woman because of the consequences, but in general it would not be a mistake to accompany women.

              If people were saying “women shouldn’t drink with Joe Smith, because he’s a rapist” no one would argue with it. The complaint is that they’re saying “women shouldn’t drink” because they might be raped.

              • MacK

                No I’m not stating all women play this game – this is indeed the only woman I ever knew to do this. In fact, on the night I just though she was being incredibly stupid in the behaviour that created the situation. It was only a few nights later that various cousins, their girlfriends and boyfriends filler me in – and over subsequent years I heard of repeat episodes.

                Now there may for all I know be more women into this sort of behaviour. Nonetheless (and I reject your generalisation argument), the issue remains, escorting her again would have been a bad idea, but it would not have made the outcome my fault. She was the agent provoking the situations … not me, and if not me, some other guy would have been the victim.

                My point is that you can advise people a priori not to behave unwisely (there is little point ex post facto), but if the adverse consequence required the interaction of someone with independent agency (the rapist, the nut who like to instigate brawls), they are to blame for their acts of independent agency, not the victim.

                There are two reasons not to blame the victim. First, blaming the victim implies some responsibility for the victimiser’s actions, thus detracting from the victimiser’s own responsibility for their own conduct. Second – why the hell would anyone want to make the victim feel worse – they almost certainly already have some ideas of how they could have avoided the event.

                To flip this around – the Missouri story about the 13 and 14 year old encourages this sort of rape at least in the short-run – because a whole bunch of creeps will read it and see it confirming their view that if she is drunk, they will get away with it. In the medium and long term, if it changes public attitudes and makes convictions more likely, it will discourage the creeps. It is a nasty tradeoff.

    • GoDeep

      Hey, JL, thanks for your insights on this thread. You’ve made some really informative points throughout it and have helped me see another POV that, frankly after several similar discussions like this one, I had failed to fully appreciate before.

      Its easy to forget that every person, every victim, processes things differently and while I may not internalize a victim blaming message when I hear ppl like Yoffe, other ppl very well might. I’m still inclined to think our focus on rape culture shifts blame from rapists, but I have to re-evaluate what this all means for victims. Thanks for giving me a lot to think abt. That’s why I follow this blog.

      • Nicely said, GoDeep, and graciously acknowledged.

        I’ll chime in too that I learned a ton on this thread as well and really appreciated people contributing under provocation. And JL, you esp rock. Thanks again.

        • sibusisodan

          Warmly agree with all this. Thank you, people.

  • MacK

    I read the Yoffe article and – while the original headline was dumb – the article itself was not. To explain the original headline said (it has been taken down) “The Best Rape Prevention: Tell College Women to Stop Getting So Wasted.” To which my reaction was – you have to be **** joking! Frankly the best rape prevention would be to stop certain men from thinking that it is OK to rape a or from woman who is drunk, and/or from planning to get a woman so drunk and incapable that they can get away with it.

    However, when the point she was trying to make in the article (which was not consistent with the headline) is that there are male predators who deliberately plan on taking advantage of women and girls when they are drunk. True. It also makes the point that they get away with it because they can argue that who knows if there was consent, everyone was drunk – and yes that argument works. Then she made the point that women (and girls) need to be aware that these guys are out there looking for someone to be sufficiently drunk, or even trying to get them that drunk – and frankly, be careful. By the way, I wish she had made the point that getting very drunk also for young men increases the risk that they will be the victim of violence too.

    In short we have a problem. Obviously the rapist should be blamed and obviously young women should be able to drink without fear of being raped (and young men without fear of violence.) But that is not the world we live in [yet.] We also have another problem, men (and indeed near boys) who think it is OK to get women (and 13 year olds) drunk in order to have sex with them. Until we solve the latter, everyone needs to address the former.

    Inter alia, I have never understood why anyone would want to have sex with someone who is “wasted” … I cannot think of a woman (or man) being remotely attractive in such a condition – but then rapists are not sexually normal I suppose.

    • Origami Isopod

      Since I was going to link it here anyway, I’d suggest reading this blogpost about Yoffe’s column by a man who has written a great deal about rape culture and in fact authored two posts that have been linked upthread, “Meet the Predators” and “Mythcommunication.”

      • MacK

        Well, hmmmm.

        Given that as a student I found myself denouncing and getting into arguments over the sort of comments that sounded predatory, or that I dragged a guy off an unconscious but wasted girl in the next apartment who was, well… (the next day she and her roommates said I was mean to her friends) yeah, I think I know who at least some of the predators are. And yes, I like to castrate them with rusty scissors – or at lest sentence them to long jail terms. But I cannot do that … so, should I refrain from telling women they are out there and some see a drunken woman as target?

        I don’t deny that there is a rap-culture or that there is a communication issue – but get real, these shitheads like to rape and find women who are drunk to be good targets for their proclivities. Are you going to suggest that someone makes themselves vulnerable to prove it! Don’t confuse an ideological position, or an objective to make the world a better place with reality.

        • Origami Isopod

          So basically you came in here to victim blame and to announce that a woman was awful to you once, which is just as bad as the oppression of women as a gender by the rape culture.

          Noted.

          • MacK

            Nope did not. You came here to find victim blamers because it is your favorite cliché

          • MacK

            Or to put it another way – you take the view that any discussion of measures that a woman can take to be safer in a “rape culture” is victim blaming – a position so execrably stupid that your only solution is to parrot victim blaming at everyone.

  • nillions’ irish fred

    Like look this is really simple

    We’re reluctant to tell women to stop drinking because drinking is a part of human socialization and interaction. “solutions” to problems where the solution is “Hey just don’t ever interact with other human beings or live a life, then there’s no problem!” aren’t solutions.

    This thread is littered with shitty parents who think it’s some kind of brilliant idea to teach their daughters “Hey never do anything enjoyable with your friends, or if you do then don’t under any circumstances enjoy it and instead spend the entire time in terror that you could be raped!”

    All you morons have done is tell your kids “Just don’t be human beings who act like human beings act, and you won’t have to worry about getting raped!”

    The fact is, being a human being and living a life means the possibility that bad things may happen. The sot of parents who have any actual business calling themselves parents don’t deal with their fear of bad things happening to their kids by pre-blaming their kids for those things. They tell their kids “Hey life means the possibility that bad things may happen to you, but if they do we’re here for you and we’ll do our best to help you deal with these things that were awful and not, actually, your fault.”

    But what do I know I’m not a parent, I’m just someone who’s known loads of people who had shitty relationships with their parents because of their parents doing shit like this, and parents who had shitty relationships with their kids because they couldn’t figure out not to do shit like this.

    • Anonymous

      Drinking causes people to do stuff (or react ways) that they might not have otherwise done. That goes for rapists and victims. People are less inhibited, and less able to defend themselves, when drunk.

      If you’re vulnerable, you’re more vulnerable if drunk. If you’re a violent type, you’re likely to be more so when you’re drunk. If you’re risk averse, don’t get drunk. If you’re violent, don’t get drunk. If you do get drunk, you’re responsible for your actions, but the evidence, and your ability to present it, might be muddled.

      I love to drink, but drinking is a risk factor. It’s a risk factor for violence, for victimization, for strokes, for heart attacks, for stupid behavior, etc.

      I drink, but with all of those things in mind. If I were a parent, I would let my kids know that if they drink, there are risks. That’s not to say that I wouldn’t “be there” for a kid who took the risk and experienced a bad outcome. It’s not “assumption of the risk” in the legal sense, that if you take the chance, you get what you deserve. It’s being sensible, avoiding harm, and knowing that culpability is harder to prove when the parties are impaired.

  • tt

    People do blame mugging victims for being mugged.

    • Malaclypse

      Do they write Slate columns about how not to get mugged, and it is all your fault if you do? Because surely you can link to an example of your thesis.

      • nillions’ irish fred

        What he actually means is

        “People do justify their blaming of rape victims by making up ridiculous hypothetical mugging scenarios in which they would totally blame that mugging victim in the same way that they actually are choosing to blame the victims of actual rapes”

        Because that is 100% a thing that happens, IDK about slate articles but I could sure as hell link you some reddit threads that will make you puke all over yourself and then never stop.

      • tt

        Yes actually:

        http://www.slate.com/blogs/crime/2013/04/09/journal_of_interpersonal_violence_study_suggests_attackers_choose_victims.html

        (To be clear, I don’t think this weakens Lemieux’s broader point–but I do think victim blaming is a fairly broad phenomenon).

        • Malaclypse

          The authors secretly filmed 12 people walking—eight women and four men, some of whom had been attacked before. Then, they showed the footage to a group of inmates, some of whom exhibited interpersonal traits commonly associated with psychopathy—manipulativeness, a lack of empathy, superficial friendliness—and asked them whether or not each person would make a good victim.

          These “victim ratings” were then compared against each person’s actual history of victimization. Sure enough, the people whom the psychopaths picked as “likely victims” were usually the ones who had been victimized in the past.

          Okay, so Slate did run one really really badly designed study. Now, do you want to maintain that this is just like the 10,000th times they’ve told women not to drink?

      • MacK

        Actually, I have read several articles about not talking on an iPhone while walking through variously Washington DC and London, because it increases the risk of being mugged.

        • Yeah, those kinds of articles aer a sign of societal decay, actually–they are written by journalists and published by newspapers who/which have an editorial stance that society is entering a kali yug in which it is each person for themselves and there is neither societal cohesion nor police presence. Its an argument for a failed state with exteme income inequality. They aren’t innocent or spontaneous or accidental, even if the people who write them think they are.

  • MDrew

    Emily Yoffe is probably a dude, really.

  • MacK

    I’m probably going to get flamed every which way – but….

    Most guys knew guys in school, in college, on their team, that they would not want their sister, cousin, female friend to go anywhere near. Indeed, let’s look at the story of the Maryland rape case:

    The two boys were football teammates, and while Charlie liked Barnett well enough, he was also wary. Enough that, upon discovering his sister was texting with the senior, he tried to put an end to it.

    “I told her to stay clear of that kid,” Charlie remembers. “But honestly, what teenage kid wants to (listen to) her older brother?”

    Well yes. I will admit, I knew guys in college and in high school that, if I had a sister, I would have hit the ceiling if she went out with – there were guys in college that I and various male friends warned classmates away from (not with success with one who was violent.) But we did it because of the way they talked with the boys – in the bar, the locker room. Not enough to convict, but enough to be concerned. Sometimes we told them to shut the f up, or yelled at them, but mostly we avoided then and indicated disapproval to female friends, which worked just about zero times. Were we tolerating a rape culture – we had no more than jokes and quips as evidence. But I challenge any guy to say they did not know someone like that. What did you do? What could you do?

    I’m also the guy who dated the 2 women my female friends warned me off – I should have listened.

    • MacK

      Maryville (auto spell-check)

  • Anonymous

    This is a case where your comment on Emily Yoffe’s column is more about the commenter than the original column.

    Emily Yoffe’s column provided commonsense advice to young women going off to college: Binge drinking leaves you vulnerable to sexual assault.

    On a different note, two young college students one male and one female both binge drink, become extremely drunk so that they can not make any rational decisions. They have sex. Has the male student sexually assaulted the female student?

    • A man gets black out drunk and runs over a pedestrian. He gets home safely and has no memory of the event the next day.

      Was he responsible for the pedestrian’s injuries or death?

      In other philosophical questions – Is there an argument for blaming rape victims that is so incredibly stupid that no one will make it?

    • Well, in the case of the binge-drunk male student, Nature Has a Way of Shutting That Down, they say.

      On the other hand, rape (by a man) doesn’t have to involve an erect (or any) penis, and drunken, erectily-dysfunctional males have been known to be assaultive in various ways, including sexually; so, yeah, maybe he has, maybe he hasn’t. Case by case, always.

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