• Wed, Oct 16 - 3:00 pm ET

‘Dear Prudence’ Thinks If Women Stop Drinking, Sexual Assault Will Cease To Exist

shutterstock_149971097 (2)__1381948142_142.196.156.251Don’t ever ask Dear Prudence for advice again. She’s a terrible person.

Another horrible rape case is in the news reminding us all that rape culture is rampant and we really need to do better educating our children about consent, boundaries, and sexual violence. Well, if you’re a decent person you’re reminded of that. If you are Emily Yoffe, also known as Dear Prudence, you take the opportunity to write a victim-blaming editorial titled, The Best Rape Prevention: Tell College Women To Stop Getting So Wasted. 

Well, that’s the title that pops up when you scroll down on Slate. There’s also, College Women: Stop Getting Drunk, with the subtitle, It’s closely associated with sexual assault. And yet we’re reluctant to tell women to stop doing it. Yes, it’s strange that we’re “reluctant to tell women to stop doing it.” You know what’s even more strange? The study on which Yoffe bases her whole “women should stop drinking to avoid being raped” hypothesis includes this statistic:

On average, at least 50% of college students’ sexual
assaults are associated with alcohol use (Abbey et al., 1996a,1998; Copenhaver and Grauerholz, 1991; Harrington and Leitenberg, 1994; Presley et al., 1997). Koss (1988) reported that 74% of the perpetrators and 55% of the victims of rape in her nationally representative sample of college students had been drinking alcohol. 

74 percent of the perpetrators had been drinking alcohol. Wouldn’t it make more sense for the title of her editorial to be, The Best Rape Prevention: Tell Would-Be Rapists To Stop Getting Wasted. Yes, it would – but let’s not put logic where logic doesn’t live.

I’m really disturbed that thousands of people turn to this woman for advice weekly and her brain works this way. She hand-picks a bunch of victim-blamey quotes to pepper her viewpoint with:

“I’m not saying a woman is responsible for being sexually victimized,” says Christopher Krebs, one of the authors of that study and others on campus sexual assault. “But when your judgment is compromised, your risk is elevated of having sexual violence perpetrated against you.”

Translation: I’m not saying a woman is responsible, oh wait, yes I am.

But don’t worry, it’s not just the general public she’s giving this “preventative” advice to. She gives the same advice to her daughter:

I’ve told my daughter that it’s her responsibility to take steps to protect herself. . .The biological reality is that women do not metabolize alcohol the same way as men, and that means drink for drink women will get drunker faster. I tell her I know alcohol will be widely available (even though it’s illegal for most college students) but that she’ll have a good chance of knowing what’s going on around her if she limits herself to no more than two drinks, sipped slowly—no shots!—and stays away from notorious punch bowls.

But the advice to her hypothetical son would be a little different:

If I had a son, I would tell him that it’s in his self-interest not to be the drunken frat boy who finds himself accused of raping a drunken classmate.

 

Really? You wouldn’t tell your hypothetical son that women aren’t objects to be victimized and preyed upon? That a woman who is passed-out drunk is not in a position to consent to sex? That RAPE IS AWFUL AND NEVER, EVER EVEN THINK OF TRYING TO HAVE SEX WITH SOMEONE WHO DOES NOT OR CAN NOT CONSENT?

I’d like to apologize on your behalf to all the survivors of rape who happened upon your victim-blaming editorial. What’s next, advising women not to leave the house after dark or wear short skirts? You should be ashamed of yourself.

(photo: Aquir/ Shutterstock)

You can reach this post's author, Maria Guido, on twitter.
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  • Rachel Sea

    Fuck her. Seriously. Just fuck her. I’m going to go figure out exactly where her column is published, and complain to all the editors, and I’m going to ask everyone I know to do the same

    What a bunch of anti-science BULLSHIT. I bet she even tells her daughter that girls suck at math.

    • http://fairlyoddmedia.com/ Frances Locke

      This isn’t the first time she has written shit like this either. I stopped reading her column a long time ago because she straight out said that a co-worker of someone who wrote to her was probably lying about being raped, meanwhile the letter sounded like pretty good evidence that she was raped. I think Emily Yoffe has some issues with this topic.

  • CMJ
    • Lisa Judson

      There is this part of me that wants to comment but….the other part is watching the comments going

      http://reactiongifs.me/wp-content/uploads/2013/07/Bill-Hader-Popcorn-reaction-Gif-On-The-Daily-Show.gif

      ’cause you know whats coming.

    • CMJ

      People act like women are told every god-damn day how to “protect” ourselves from rape. WE KNOW. WE GET IT. I don’t understand the problem with telling boys NOT to rape and respect women. Hey, you can even throw in, just because you’re drunk, son, doesn’t give any more leeway to sexually assault someone.

      Sorry, don’t even know why I am replying to you :) RAGE.

    • Lisa Judson

      Rage it out, girl! I get it. My daughter is turning 1 tomorrow and I read this and eye rolled so hard I about fell out of my chair. I just. cant. with this post/article.

    • CMJ

      it’s weird when people act like women don’t know these things.

      You know, I am allowed to get drunk and not get raped.

    • Lisa Judson

      Whaaaaaat? Then I hope you’re getting drunk in your house, in your bedroom, in your bed, under the covers, with a snow suit on. OR ELSE. ;)

  • talaricg

    OK- so I read this article on Slate, and i was so pissed off… and then got even angrier when I saw that the majority of the folks commenting AGREED WITH HER. thank you so much for posting this.

    I’m not gonna lie, i was the girl who got way too drunk (probably) way too frequently in college… and ya know what? i resent anyone who tells me that “college girls” should stop doing that. my friends and i made amazing memories from many of those drunken nights and bonded and have stories to last a lifetime. Girls shouldn’t be told they can’t do that just so that MEN DONT RAPE US. It’s not my responsibility to stay sober so that some drunken frat guy doesn’t take advantage, just like it’s not my responsibility to cover myself from neck to knees so they don’t get “impure thoughts”. this is victim blaming in the worst possible way- because it is trying to NOT be victim blaming.

    • Lee

      So you shouldn’t be expected to lock your door to prevent burglary if you live in a city? Your argument is sad and shallow.

    • Blueathena623

      Bad analogy. You lose.

    • ElleJai

      I get drunk, and when I’m at home I don’t lock my house or my car.

      When I lived somewhere with constant break ins, locking up didn’t help.

      Just being sober in a rape-filled insulated version of the real world(ie college) is no guar antee of safety.

  • Mel

    I’m kinda torn on this whole thing. I’m as much against victim blaming as the rest of you, but as the mother of a little girl I just can’t get past the idea that not getting shitfaced might save her from becoming a victim. So I will tell her that she needsmto be careful because, while it wouldn’t be her fault, there are measures you can take to make abuse by a stranger less likely. Maybe I’m just trying to comfort myself, but I guess it’s worth a try. But I will also raise my boy to respect women and make this world a little safer for all your daughters!

    • kugolik

      Of course you should tell her she should be careful, that’s not wrong. What’s wrong is if you have a son and you never mention to him that if a girl says no, it means no, and if a girl is drunk or passed out, he shouldn’t touch her. I think everyone is just mad that this article didn’t really touch on that at all – only on how women should protect themselves.

    • alice

      But i assume you’d already be talking to your daughters (and sons) about the risks of intoxication, including impaired motor skills, impaired judgement, etc. The conversation has nothing to do with rape, but about drinking responsibly.

      When you toss in the rape angle, and make this a conversation specifically targeted to women, it DOES perpetuate a rape culture. Boys will be Drunk Boys. Girls, stop drinking.

    • Mel

      Again, as the mother of both a boy and a girl I know there will be some differences and what I tell them on their way out the door to a party. I am starting to raise a feminist boy right now, at 5 months old. I don’t need to have the one conversation with him where I need to tell him not to rape. That will be an ongoing discussion and hopefully something as absurd as canibalism to him. He will never be a rapist. But I cannot raise my daughter not to be a victim of sexual assault. So getting drunk out of their minds holds different threats for them. And unfortunately that must still be acknowledged when letting your kids out into the world.

  • ChopChick

    Okay, I’m gonna say something super unpopular with the caveat that while I read the original piece I had quite a few inner rage moments too. But I THINK her point was to basically say say to young women, that they should understand that there are terrible people out there and they have to remain vigilant and that one easy way to do this (since so many rapes happen when women/girls are drinking) is to not get totally inebriated. Not saying “you deserve it” or “you are responsible for what happens to you” but just telling people that there is a way to lessen the risks to themselves.

    Granted these are not adequate analogies, but on the Metro in DC people are constantly getting their phones swiped from their hands, so metro police started reminding people not to stand near doors engrossed in their phones but to pay attention to their surroundings. College kids are often told that when walking through cities, they should be aware of their surroundings and maybe not where headphones because thats how you get robbed.

    On the other hand, and similar to what Emily Yoffe wrote, women are routinely told that they should be extremely vigilant and not wear headphones when running by themselves at night, particularly on trails in cities. I think she was just trying to make an analogous recommendation to young girls drinking.

    There ARE predators, and often they ARE hard to apprehend and prosecute, and yes, eradicating all predators is DEFINITELY the best option, but in a world where that is not the reality, I understand where she is coming from. You have to watch your own back when no one else will. And if you’re doing something that statistically is putting you in danger, maybe you should remain a little more vigilant.

    • CMJ

      My biggest question with her entire premise is – “why just women?” Why aren’t there articles out there warning MEN not to drink because they might be more inclined to take advantage of women?

    • ChopChick

      Well to go back to my analogy–that’s just not what her piece is about–it’s about taking actions to protect yourself against victimization.

      I certainly have never seen anyone tell a man not to wear headphones while running at night to avoid rape (though that advice has been used as a way to not get robbed). I often heard people tell men not to get so drunk at bars because they would be more prone to getting robbed on their drunken walk home from a bar, or on the metro, etc. etc.

    • CMJ

      But women know all of this – it’s been beaten into our heads….yet, rape culture exists. Women still get raped. At what point to we stop telling women how to protect themselves and start telling men TO STOP.

    • chickadee

      It’s very similar, I thought, to the black man who has to figuratively whistle Vivaldi so that white people won’t be frightened of him — not fair, but the best way to keep himself from being villainized or victimized.

    • AP

      Agreed. This is what I was always taught: that you cannot put your safety in the hands of others, because you cannot always trust others to be good, law abiding people.

      As I always say on this topic: we teach people not to steal, stab, or shoot, and honestly, those lessons don’t always stick. We shouldn’t assume that just because we teach people not to rape that the lesson will stick, too.

    • CMJ

      But honestly, how often does a stab victim get blamed for getting stabbed?

    • Sigh

      That really depends when and where the person was stabbed. Was the person walking in a bad part of town? Checking books out at a library? Walking alone in a park at night? Eating breakfast at home? Some actions make becoming a victim more likely then others.

    • CMJ

      I don’t know – No matter what happens, I really just don’t have the tendency to victim blame. I should be able to walk alone at night and not get raped, or stabbed, or robbed.

      I think it’s stupid to imply that people don’t know these things.

    • NYBondLady

      So do you really think it’s possible to remove all bad people in this world?

    • CMJ

      Nope. I just would rather blame the criminal than the victim.

    • http://fairlyoddmedia.com/ Frances Locke

      No, but blaming the victim makes a perpetrator’s job just that much easier.

    • momjones

      Wait…are you suggesting that someone who lives in a “bad part of town” and gets stabbed is not as much of a victim as someone who lives in a subdivision of half a million dollar homes? A victim of a crime of any type is a victim regardless of the circumstances.

    • Sigh

      I said it may cause a person to be more likely to become a victim. Never said it was any less a victim.

    • jr023

      if you walk out of the bar smashed and carrying you wallet in your hand it greatly increases you chance to get robbed a person who rapes is despicable and needs to get punished severely but anyone who uses substances that gets them so drunk or high that puts themselves in danger not only from rape but also accident,poisoning and death.alcohol and drugs kill an awful lot of both young and old

    • CMJ

      But only women need to stop drinking excessively, according to the title of Ms. Yoffe’s article (and the article itself).

      My issue with the article is not that we shouldn’t warn our children about the dangers of alcohol, my issues is that apparently only women are required to stop drinking and control themselves.

    • Lee

      Again … “If I had a son, I would tell him that it’s in his self-interest not to be the drunken frat boy who finds himself accused of raping a drunken classmate..” – it’s right there in the article, easy to see if you don’t skim.

    • CMJ

      I read the article – didn’t skim. I just don’t equate that singular quote to the article being about the repercussions of drinking for all people – not just women.

      I think the article would have been much more successful if it was framed that way.

    • keelhaulrose

      We blame gunshot victims all the time. If they weren’t in a gang, if they didn’t leave their guns out in their house… we, as a society are horrible about victim blaming. I recently had a friend who responded to the news of a child and mother being shot in a park at 10:30 at night in a bad neighborhood in Chicago with the question “Why are you and your baby in a park in that area that late at night?” Who cares about her motive, she didn’t shoot her kid! It shouldn’t be open season on kids playing basketball just because the sun went down.
      I’m not saying it’s right, but it’s not confined to rape.

    • CMJ

      I don’t think it’s confined to rape at all, I just think it happens MUCH more often with rape victims.

      I shun all victim blaming equally.

    • alice

      But she wrote an entire article whose premise is basically: Ladies, drinking can make you DRUNK!

      Everybody knows that being drunk can impair your judgment. Does anyone (women specifically) need to be reminded of this?

      How about: “Ladies, remember the buddy system if you’re going to be out drinking”

    • ted3553

      I agree. I’m not sure that there’s a distinct correlation between saying, you’re less likely to get raped if you stay out of higher risk situations and blaming someone for getting raped. It’s always the rapists fault for the rape. That doesn’t mean you didn’t put yourself in a higher risk situation. I have teenaged step daughters and definitely talk to them about trying to avoid potentially higher risk situations. At no point have I ever said and if you get raped at a party where you’ve been drinking, it will be your fault. They need to understand how to help protect themselves and lower their risks of dangerous situations. When my son is older, I will also talk to him about how he as a boy can lower his risk of putting himself in dangerous situations like drinking at a party. He will also be told that rape doesn’t have grey areas but all of my children need to understand how to protect themselves and lower the risk of danger

  • Guest

    Ok, so apparently I am one of the few that agree with the article. Yes, I am a woman and believe me I have opinions on rape that are not considered politically correct. Emily’s article is not saying that women should never drink, the point is that many of the rapes that have happened i.e. Steubenville or the most recent one in Missouri, all have alcohol involved. While I agree that no matter how intoxicated a person is or what her profession is if you say no or cannot give consent then no one has the right to touch you. However, people need to have serious discussions with their children. When you drink to the point that you lose cognitive function, motor skills, or blackout you can no longer protect yourself. She is not saying that women should never drink, they shouldn’t drink to the point of a blackout. Another point when you drink that much other things can happen, you can get lost, walk into traffic, drown, die of exposure, fall into a frozen lake, etc. Excessive alcohol consumption, whether you are of age or not, can and does lead to bad things happening. At some point, people have to take responsibility for their actions, if they had not done A, B, or C then D, E, and/or F would not have occurred. There has to be a realization that while they are not to blame for someone raping them, there are certain steps or behaviors that need to be adjusted to be proactive about their safety.

    • CMJ

      The article should have been about how all college students shouldn’t drink – not just women. The gender specificity of this article is enraging.

    • NYBondLady

      That would be the case if men were raped as much as women are. But that’s not true.

    • CMJ

      So, because men rape women more than women rape men all women should just be the ones cowering in the corner whilst men drink and rape and women stay sober to protect themselves?

    • NYBondLady

      You’re right, they should just totally get hammered and see what happens.
      You can’t remove all rapist from the human race- the best you can do is prepare your daughters as much as possible. If they are drunk they are essentially “dis-armed.”
      Would you argue that a store owner remove security? Why put the burden on HIM to deter crime?

    • CMJ

      Frankly, I would expect that I can get totally hammered and not get raped.

    • NYBondLady

      Again, you’re missing the point. No one is expecting to get raped. But when you are impaired because of alcohol, then you cannot face the unexpected.

    • CMJ

      No, I know what your point is – I just disagree with it.

    • meteor_echo

      Oh wow. So, you’re against birth control, legal access to abortions, and any kind of financial state-issued assistance infuriates you. Now we find out that you’re also a rape apologist. I’m scared for someone who gets to date/sleep with this charming specimen here. Your kind of crazy might seep into other people’s brains, little troll girl.

    • CMJ

      “Worst person of Mommyish”

    • meteor_echo

      Pretty much.

    • NYBondLady

      Oh, wow. So, you’d rather talk to boys nicely about rape than give your daughters the gift of self-defense. It works both ways, yes, but rape has been around for all of human history. You can’t always eradicate human behaviors, but you can do your damned best to keep yourself safe from others.

    • meteor_echo

      I’m not having daughters – or sons at that matter – because I wouldn’t want to bring an innocent kid into the world where your ilk is rampant and where rapists are being coddled.

      And a little question for you – have you ever been raped or sexually assaulted? Don’t try to sleaze out of it, it’s a yes/no question.

    • NYBondLady

      then why are you on this site? Is it not for parents?
      And a little question for you- what is your obsession with empathy? Why can’t anyone have opinions on something without being grilled about their experiences?
      If my answer is YES- then do you see my point of view?
      if NO- you totally disregard what I have to say, OR, maybe it’s because I have been lucky or been prepared in situations.
      Here’s my solution: Women should carry guns. If they confront a rapist, shoot him. There- no “coddling.” Instant justice. Less rapists in the world.

    • meteor_echo

      Because guess what – I can be wherever I want. This is not specifically mommy territory, us voluntarily barren heathens can comment wherever we would like to leave our input.
      And can you actually answer – have you ever been raped or not? You seem to be really fucking uncomfortable about being asked this question, but you’re oh so trigger-happy to blame rape victims?
      As for my obsession with empathy? Dear, you have none. I have to compensate for you.

    • NYBondLady

      You seem to care more about making a point of women not being victims than ACTUALLY REDUCING RAPE, which is the point that the Dear prudence author was making.

    • meteor_echo

      You still haven’t answered my question, though. I love your non-sequiturs.

    • NYBondLady

      I’m sorry about your sob story that you’ve posted all over here, but it doesn’t give you the right to know everyone else’s business or demand that they answer you.

    • meteor_echo

      Oh man, high five to you for your glorious rape apologism. How does it feel to be the Big Stinky Twat in the comments, who is willing to go out of her way to shut up an actual rape victim in favor of the rapists? I hope that stick gets pulled out of your ass without lube one day. Or hammered further in – either would be fine by me.

    • NYBondLady

      The sad thing is that you’d rather be right than prevent rapes that occur with the help of alcohol. Sadness.

    • meteor_echo

      Yeah, I’d rather be right about victims not being at fault for their rapes than hammer guilt into the rape survivors’ heads. TEH SADS ALL AROUND.

      http://media.giphy.com/media/x9FXKVzEVusvK/giphy.gif

    • CMJ

      wow. wow. wow. That was the most victim blaming thing I’ve seen in a while.

      “Rapes that occur with the help of alcohol.” You forgot to add “consumed by the victims” in there.

      You really are the worst.

    • kugolik

      Actually, I bet we could remove a lot of them if more parents had conversations with their sons about consent.

    • NYBondLady

      That’s VERY debatable. If it is true then why aren’t we employing those tactics with stealing, murder, speeding, whatever…? Just the other day here was a story about how anti-bullying programs INCREASE bullying.

    • kugolik

      It being debatable doesn’t mean it should be disregarded completely and not given a try. Also I’m pretty sure we do tell kids not to steal, murder or speed. Rape is different because our culture encourages men to believe they have power over women and to think that a girl really means yes when she says no, or that it’s “not really rape” if she’s technically still conscious, etc etc. Articles like this feed into that thought process because they reinforce the idea that all of the responsibility lies with the woman, the potential victim.

    • ChillMama

      You may disagree with this, but personally I find there are a lot more messages out there about not killing, why murder is bad etc., than there are helpful guidelines on how not to get murdered.

    • ChillMama

      Perhaps you will disagree, but I see/hear far more messages about not killing and why murder is bad than I do guidelines on “how not to get yourself murdered.”

    • Andrea

      Actually we can. We could restrict men’s movements with curfews and gps tracking devices and heavy supervision. Just in case they might be a rapist.

  • elle

    I can’t even read dear prudence anymore because this is how she ALWAYS is. I really am curious if she has suffered from alcohol problems in her life because she thinks anybody who drinks is an alcoholic. and she tells anybody who writes in to her that they were raped after drinking that they weren’t really raped cuz they were drinking. She is such a rape apologist I can’t even handle it.

    • BigBlue

      You know, you’re right. At first I was surprised to see that Emily Yoffe had written this piece because I’m a regular reader of Dear Prudence and I usually feel like she gives solid advice. But as I sat and thought about it, I realized that she does exactly what you described. I can’t believe I haven’t noticed it before.

  • Emil

    This brings up a dilemma for me about how to talk to my daughters about this sort of thing. I would NEVER want to imply that a sexual assault is their fault. I also don’t want them to put themselves in a vulnerable position. My kids are little so I have a while to figure this out but this is the type of thing I will ruminate about in the middle of the night.

    • EX

      I have the same thoughts and concerns. It would be nice if one of these discussions would lead to some thoughtful ideas about how to talk to our daughters about these things without victim blaming and contributing to rape culture.

    • Hibbie

      My parents talked to me about the importance of being aware of my surroundings and to follow my instincts about people. We spoke about alcohol, drugs, and their suggested guidelines if I ever felt out of my depth (call them, anytime, regardless of the situation). They never discussed it in terms of “if you do x, y might/will happen.” Their angle was a combination of realism about the world and instilling reasonable lessons about navigating within it. I may not be explaining it well, but all of these discussions came from a place of empowering me to make the best of whatever situation. It was more about “what do you do if something like x happens” not “you are responsible from preventing x from happening.” They punctuated a few of these discussions with personal anecdotes about how they dealt with some alarming situations as a way to provide me with some practical/realistic tips for personal safety.

  • Sigh

    If both are drunk is it still rape?
    If both cant remember what happened is that rape? If so, who raped who?

    I don’t think it is victim blaming to point out that some actions make a person more likely to become a victim.

    • thisshortenough

      If a girl is passed out or can’t speak and the guy is just tipsy then it’s rape

    • NYBondLady

      Yes, it is, and by all accounts he is a RAPIST. Guess who he’s NOT raping? Probably the girl who held it together.

    • TngldBlue

      That is just not true. The only thing a woman needs to do to be a potential victim is to be born. You can follow all the rules and still be raped. Not every, in fact not even most, rapes happen to drunk girls in dark rooms of frat houses.

  • kugolik

    THANK YOU. Of course getting wasted is going to put your more at risk of getting raped…and getting alcohol poisoning, and getting killed in a car accident, or any number of accidents, etc etc. I sort of got at first where she was coming from and what the concern was, but the fact that her only caveat was “of course we should catch rapists” or “bring them to judgment” …?? Why are those the only two options? Women protect themselves and men be caught after they rape someone? There was NO acknowledgement whatsoever in her piece of rape culture or of the seemingly obvious yet still so unpopular solution of *putting some responsibility on men.* In college, I got a rape whistle. The boys? No mention whatsoever of what’s OK and what’s not. Maybe the school thought it was obvious, but it apparently is not.

  • Amanda

    You have got to be kidding me. Is there no middle ground? THIS, right here, is the problem with any political/moral/ discussions in America. It is impossible to have a civil conversation about anything or you have stupid republicans getting up in your grill about family values, or you have feminists calling saying you’re a “terrible person” for even suggesting that we need to have a discussion about alcohol and rape. I find Emily Yoffe’s advice and columns to be very moderate and even toned in their approach, and I think she raises a fair point. I have been given advice about not going out in the dark in sketchy places, because I could be raped. Obviously, sometimes necessity dictates that I have to do these things, and if I had been raped in those circumstances I wouldn’t have blamed myself and neither would the majority of America. Why can’t we approach alcohol the same way? It’s wise to avoid getting totally inebriated, but if it happens and you’re raped, its’ not your fault. Teaching women to protect themselves (and I read the article, I know that’s why Ms. Yoffe is talking about) is NOT the same as slut shaming.

    • ChopChick

      Yup.

    • CMJ

      Women are getting taught to protect ourselves – ALL THE TIME. Rape still happens.

      This article is rape culture at it’s finest…putting the onus on women to control themselves and protect themselves. I, for one, wouldn’t mind this article if it had addressed the dangers of binge drinking in general.

    • TngldBlue

      There is a vast difference between saying teenagers should not drink because they make poor decisions when they do and saying girls should not drink because they might by raped by men. See the difference?

    • https://www.facebook.com/bluegrasskitty bgk

      You do know most rapes don’t happen in dark, shady, sketchy places, right? So you avoiding those places isn’t really helping you avoid the rapist who comes cloaked in the clothes of a friend or acquaintance or boyfriend/husband who thinks they have a right to have sex with you.

    • kugolik

      I believe there is a middle ground, but she did not reach it with this piece, because she failed to acknowledge that the reason people call this victim-blaming is because there is no mention of responsibility on the part of the rapist, or potential rapist. If every woman has to feel like a potential rape victim, every man needs to be taught how to recognize consent to prevent them from becoming rapists. And she just glossed over that by saying that, yes, we should prosecute them after the fact.

    • Amanda

      Here’s an example of a fair and helpful retort to Emily Yoffe’s article: http://www.slate.com/blogs/xx_factor/2013/10/16/it_s_the_rapists_not_the_drinking_to_prevent_sexual_assault_on_college_campuses.html

      I get it. I get that everything in the original article was not totally correct or PC. But when is trying to address a problem with good intentions, it does nothing for anyone if you retort by screaming “Terrible human being right here! They wrote the wrong thing and made me angry so now I’m going to throw a tantrum!” The thing is, I AGREE that in order to deal with rape you need to address potential rapists. You need to talk about how it’s wrong. But it’s not even close to being evil to teach girls they should keep themselves safe by avoid binge drinking. And name calling and assaults on a reasonable writer’s character is not doing any favors for this cause.

    • http://twitter.com/mariaguido Maria Guido

      You’re right. I rage-wrote it. i can admit that. But the fact that she is normally pretty reasonable infuriates me even more. “The Best Rape Prevention: Tell College Women To Stop Getting So Wasted.” That is disgusting. If she’s comfortable putting her name next to that headline I think she’s a horrible person.

    • Amanda

      I absolutely believe she should have included more about how men shouldn’t drink because it means they can’t make good decisions and they could become rapists. And I can understand why people feel like she glossed over the fact that rapists are ultimately totally to blame (although I personally feel she covered that just fine in her article).

      But if you WANT to be able to have serious, helpful discussions about this topic, you have got to stop raging at reasonable people who could probably be persuaded to understand your point of view if you weren’t too busy telling them that they are horrible people.

    • Lena

      “If she’s comfortable putting her name next to that headline I think she’s a horrible person”

      Funny, when people complain about a headline on Mommyish, the standard defense is “we don’t choose the headlines.”

    • R Zhao

      Slate ALWAYS does this with their headlines. And you just proved why. It stirs up emotions. It helps the article get more traffic. I doubt Yoffe had any say in the title. Maybe that’s not excuse, but I still think it’s worth pointing out.

    • m

      And haven’t Mommyish writers also admitted that they don’t write their own titles/headlines?

    • Melissa T

      Slate writers don’t write their own headlines, or have any control over them.

    • jpen

      Maria, I love your rage-writing. Dont stop doin’ whatcha doin’, cause sometimes shit needs to get said in a ragey manner.

    • msLiz506

      “Obviously, sometimes necessity dictates that I have to do these things, and if I had been raped in those circumstances I wouldn’t have blamed myself and neither would the majority of America.”
      I think you overestimate people. I bet a TON of the responses to your assault would be “Why was she out alone at night in such a sketchy area?” Enter, victim blaming.

  • alice

    It’s like she took three widely known facts and added them up to one totally ridiculous statement:

    Drinking is Widespread on Campuses !
    +
    Drinking Impairs Your Judgment !
    +
    Impaired Judgment Sometimes Leads to Bad Choices, like drunk driving, jumping off a building into a pool, having a dozen jager bombs, shooting your friend in the face with a BB gun for the lols, making out with people you normally wouldn’t, twerking on cop cars, streaking, eating egg sandwiches from 7-11, starting fist fights with strangers, puking into your coat pockets, smoking Newports because you ran out of American Spirits, overdosing, getting your stomach pumped, accidentally killing someone….
    =
    WOMEN, YOU MUST STOP GETTING DRUNK!!!!

    Huh?

  • https://www.facebook.com/bluegrasskitty bgk

    Her article kinda reminds me of those stupid emails that make the rounds every once in a while…you know “SEND THIS TO ALL THE WOMEN YOU LOVE IN YOUR LIFE! LEARN HOW TO PREVENT RAPE!” Um…how about no. No amount of walking with confidence, having short hair, not wearing ponytails or “provocative” clothing, etc is ever going to stop someone who is bound and determined to rape. Even if you argue that as a sober person at a party, you ought to be able to be more aware/alert of predators, THAT STILL ISN’T STOPPING RAPE. It’s just stopping it from happening to YOU PERSONALLY. And even then, probably not. Some asshole who decides to rape a girl doesn’t give two shits if SHE’S drunk or not. Know why? Because he knows that later he can claim that they were BOTH drunk AND PEOPLE WILL AUTOMATICALLY BELIEVE IT. Hello, rape culture. :P The only thing that is going to stop people from raping other people is if we all talk about it, openly, about how wrong it is, about what consent REALLY is, about how fifty no’s and a yes ISN’T A YES, etc. It needs to be part of every parent’s sex talk with their kids and every school system’s sex ed (if they’re still allowed to do that in their particular district). Because kids honestly DON’T know. You have little girls who think they HAVE to give their boyfriends blowjobs in MIDDLE SCHOOL (my husband’s work friend had to deal with that last week and Jesus, how terrifying is that? His little girl got dumped because she wouldn’t do it & was being bullied by other boys AND girls at her school for being “frigid”). You have boys who think unless a girl clearly says “NO!” that consent is automatic, etc. The mentality has to stop. Wrapping yourself in the banner of “GOOD GIRL” by not wearing short skirts or drinking or whatever isn’t going to save you or anybody else. It’s just going to give you a false sense of safety and make it harder for rape victims to come forward by making it easier to blame them for their attacker’s actions. :(

  • Ana

    Her advice to her kids is a perfect example of victim-blaming. Telling her daughter that it’s “her responsibility” to protect herself, and her son not to get so drunk that he rapes someone?! I don’t how else to interpret “If I had a son, I would tell him that it’s in his self-interest not to
    be the drunken frat boy who finds himself accused of raping a drunken
    classmate.”

    • alice

      I think the correct interpretation is:

      “son, don’t bang a drunk girl, because she might regret it in the morning and accuse you of rape, just like this case here, where a young man was brought to trial by this skanky liar, and then acquitted of all charges”

    • G.S.

      I heard shades of, “Don’t get caught,” in there.

    • TngldBlue

      Totally

    • meteor_echo

      YUUUUUP.

    • Simone

      That’s ALL I heard. I’m so glad it wasn’t just me.

  • Rachel

    Way to summarize her article into a salacious (and untrue) headline. I read the article (the whole thing) and the point of the the article wasn’t to victim blame or make women solely responsible for preventing rape. And no where does she claim that “if women stop drinking sexual assault will cease to exist”. But that was a cute try at fox-news style hyperbole on your part.

    Really, her plea was aimed at stopping BINGE drinking on college campuses, because overall it’s DANGEROUS. For everyone (even those scumbags with penises that may or may not ever rape anyone, but how dare men exist either way). I thought the article was very well researched, showing the problems existing for college age people regarding the general safety involved with consuming alcohol, and specifically the dangers of binge drinking.

    I also think it was brave of her to actually delve into the REAL, TRUE stats that link drinking excessive amounts of alcohol with instances of rape. The fact is, there IS a link. That’s not victim blaming, that’s fact stating. There is no victim listed in my above fact, it’s just statistics. And rape is a horrible thing, shouldn’t there be a focus on REDUCING and/or ELIMINATING it? I know it might not seem fair, but if the stats show that excessive drinking is linked with instances of rape, doesn’t it logically follow that reducing one may reduce the other?

    And when it comes to something as HORRIBLE as RAPE, shouldn’t society’s goal be to reduce it? I think it should.

    These facts above in no way imply victim blaming. Her article states multiple times that people that commit rape SHOULD be PUNISHED, whether or not the victim had been drinking. But that doesn’t help prevent future rape. Rape is illegal and yet people still do it, so punishing rapists doesn’t solve the problem. Prevention does, and unfortunately for those that like to binge drink, one prevention method is to limit your drinking in unfamiliar situations.

    Prevention has nothing to do with past victims. Prevention PREVENTS future victims.

    Trying to PREVENT a future crime is NOT blaming the victim of past crimes. It’s not.

    • alice

      “I also think it was brave of her to actually delve into the REAL, TRUE
      stats that link drinking excessive amounts of alcohol with instances of
      rape. The fact is, there IS a link. That’s not victim blaming, that’s
      fact stating.”

      No. That’s cherry picking.

      What do you think the stats are linking excessive amounts of alcohol to other incidents on campus, like, assault, driving accidents, overdose, etc? If drinking is linked to a host of impaired judgement scenarios, which it is, then you can’t cherry pick “sexual assault” from the bunch and (bravely?) declare you’ve “found a link.”

      The only link she found was that drinking increases impaired judgement scenarios. TA DA!!!!

    • TngldBlue

      So the onus should be on the woman to change her behavior and no longer do something she enjoys? Why is that the road taken rather than teaching boys NOT TO RAPE? Notice the advice she tells her son isn’t to not drink too much or to not rape, it’s to not get accused. All of that is victim blaming at its core.

    • alice

      And the only court case she cited as an analogy to her hypothetical son’s predicament was a case where the court determined rape did NOT happen. So…yeah.

      Girls Don’t Get Drunk, Because You Could Get Raped*

      *And by “Raped” I Really Mean You’ll Just Regret It In the Morning and Make False Accusations Due To Your Guilt and Shame.

    • jpen

      YES!!! I’m glad someone brought that up. “try not to find your self accused” What the actual fuck?! Really, thats what you say to your son?So backwards. p.s I love your comments :)

    • CMJ

      but if 74% of perpetrators are drinking and only 55% of victims are drinking, why is the title about the victims taking precautions?

    • ChillMama

      Bah. You said it more succinctly than I did!

    • CMJ

      But you also pointed out that horrible passage of how women controlling their drinking will somehow magically trickle down to mens. FEMINISM!

    • Lee

      The title is, but in the piece she very clear says: “If I had a son, I would tell him that it’s in his self-interest not to be the drunken frat boy who finds himself accused of raping a drunken classmate..” The piece was obviously in direct relation to concerns she has about her own daughter, and so that was the focus.

    • msLiz506

      Articles about rape prevention are ALWAYS focused on the “daughters.” That’s the point of a lot of the backlash.

    • ChillMama

      Sorry, but this passage really got to me:

      “If female college students start moderating their drinking as a way of looking out for their own self-interest—and looking out for your own self-interest should be a primary feminist principle—I hope their restraint trickles down to the men.”

      So even though the stats apparently say that 74% of the perpatrators had been drinking, versus 55% of the victims, it is only the victims’ responsibility to stop drinking so much? Read another way, the stats could just as easily be interpreted as saying that drinking encourages men to commit rape, so shouldn’t men be responsible for toning down their drinking??

      And no, I don’t think all men are potential rapists. However, woman have had this message repeated to them over and over. It is valid. But why do men never get a similar message?

    • CMJ

      oh god, I must have skipped over that passage. I might have just had a rage stroke. Dead now.

    • Tinyfaeri

      I started a response or two, and got too angry, so I’ve decided that for this, I’m just going to upvote stuff you say.

    • Simone

      Ahoy matey.

    • Lee

      “I hope” – those are the operative words. Not “it will happen”, but “I hope.”

      I think Yoffe makes it plain that she thinks binge drinking needs to stop for a variety of reasons regardless of your gender, but she chose to focus on its possible effect on women students in this particular article, which it appears so many people were so determined to take offense to that they didn’t actually read.

    • ChillMama

      Wait, I read the article, but did you read my comment? My point was that if 74% of the perpetrators of rape have consumed alcohol (versus 55% of the victims), why are we not addressing that apparent link? Assuming that a great proportion of that 74% are male, lecturing women not to drink in the “hope” that men might follow suit, seems a bit misplaced. So the fact that, as you point it out, it won’t necessarily happen, we can just “hope” it may makes this seem like we may not be addressing the root problems.

      I think some of us are frustrated that so many people seem to only be focused on half of the equation.

    • G.S.

      “I hope their restraint tickles down to the men.”

      BWAHAHAHAH HA HA HA . . HEH . . Huh . . . Uh . . .

      *sobs uncontrollably*

    • Andrea

      But the stats AREN’T TRUE. They are misleading because women +alcohol doesn’t = rape. There is an additional variable called ‘men’. The correct statistic would be ‘X% of rapes occur when men are allowed to have unsupervised access to women who drink’. Why is the ‘presence of men’ variable ALWAYS ignored? Because of rape culture.

    • JLH1986

      As the victim of a sexual assault I can tell you what goes through my mind when I read things like this. “If you don’t do x, y, z, this wouldn’t have happened.” The suggestion that it’s on WOMEN to prevent their own rapes v. it’s on men to not rape is absurd. We don’t tell people not to drive after dark because that’s when drunks are out and could cause an accident do we? No, we blame the drunk driver for causing an accident. The issue for me is I continually hear/see articles comments/posts saying “women shouldn’t get drunk and put themselves in this position”. Men shouldn’t get drunk and assault women. No one writes that article. No one says we should be sitting our sons down and saying don’t drink in excess, don’t take advantage of drunk girls, don’t put things in their drinks, unless you hear the word “yes” don’t have sex with them. We tell them not to drink and drive and to wear protection if they are going to have drunk one night stands. Meanwhile girls are told “don’t drink too much (in Yoffe’s case she says “don’t have more than two drinks”), go as a group, leave as a group, make sure your friends are nearby, don’t take a drink from strangers, don’t leave your drink unattended. THAT is blaming the victim. It suggests that unless a woman was stone sober and walking in broad daylight while covered she wasn’t really a victim because she put herself in a position where she could be hurt.

  • Sri

    I know every item in my purse that can be used as a weapon. I always park under street lights. I carry my keys in my fist like I’m frigging Wolverine. I never listen to my head phones when I’m alone. I always use the “buddy system” when I’m at a party or out with my friends. I try to “read” people when I’m surrounded by strangers so that I can avoid the overtly aggressive men or those that don’t respect boundaries. Trying to stay safe all the time is so goddamn exhausting. I don’t blame anyone for wanting a drink to try to forget all of the bullshit we have to go through to be “safe enough.”

    It didn’t even work against my would-be attacker, either. He didn’t understand that trapping a girl in a room and telling her he wouldn’t let her out until she put out was pretty much rape, even though he didn’t hold her down. It wasn’t a joke, either. I flat out told him I was going to leave, and he sat himself against the door. He was a friend. I trusted him. I didn’t think I needed my key claws while we were playing cards. I asked him if he was going to force himself on me if I said no, and it looked like I slapped him in the face. I thought he was going to cry. Luckily, he left, didn’t assault me, and then never talked to me again. I honestly don’t think anyone had ever told him about enthusiastic consent. That’s why teaching girls how not to get raped doesn’t work. Not because it’s bad to stay safe, but because that’s all we focus on and it becomes a checklist of all the things a girl should have done, and then we get mad at women for not trusting men.

  • Ann

    It`s abundantly clear that the mommyish editors have never even read Dear Prudence. Emily Yoffe isn`t a victim blaming conservative. Quite the contrary. Dear Prudence gets a lot of questions about sexual assault and to my knowledge she has sided with the victim EVERY TIME.
    A lot of these letters involve the victim getting totally, massively, completely-out-of-it drunk in unsafe surroundings and without responsible companions. That is simply not a safe thing to do. It can lead to all kinds of badness, varying from getting run over by traffic to having your belongings stolen to, yes, getting sexually assaulted. There is no implied moral judgement in saying that getting yourself in such a state is not a smart decision, period.
    I can`t find it now but a couple of years ago the column a letter from a male college student who had what he thought was consensual drunk sex with a classmate. He was very distressed at the possibility of ending up on the sex offender registry. So yes, we should be teaching kids of both sexes that drinking yourself into oblivion can have terrible consequences. No double standard there.

    • meteor_echo

      I read her column. Sometimes she handles the questions about sexual assault well. Sometimes though… utter fail.

    • msLiz506

      “So yes, we should be teaching kids of both sexes that drinking yourself into oblivion can have terrible consequences.” We’re not teaching both sexes. We’re teaching women. Exhibit A: Prudie’s article.

  • Renee J

    She messed up when she used the word rape and made it about women. If she had written an article about the dangers of getting passed out drunk because there are people who will take advantage of that, I don’t think people would complain. Men and women need to be careful about the dangers of too much alcohol.

  • Ann B.

    Oh good, no one else has posted this one yet:

    http://annfriedman.com/post/64213173982/college-men-stop-getting-drunk

    • Ann B.

      Titled: “College Men: Stop Getting Drunk”
      Premise: Dudes who drink seem to be making terrible decisions, including sexual assault. So chill out on pounding down the shots to see who’s got the bigger peen.

    • msLiz506

      I wish this attitude were more widespread. Good find!

    • msLiz506

      This is great. I have never, in my entire internet life, seen anything like this. I have, however, see hundreds of articles like Prudie’s.

  • AlexMMR

    I’m pretty sure people victim blame as a way to convince themselves that they are safe. Since I would never get drunk at a party, since I would never walk alone to my car, since I would never XYZ – I won’t get raped.

    It’s a false security, but most people can’t handle the concept that they are not in control of whether or not they become a victim of violent crime. That it really is somewhat random and that they are in just as much danger as anyone else. By blaming the victim and vowing never to do what those victims do, you get to maintain the delusion that you have some control over your safety and you don’t have to be scared.

    Still a totally wrong thing to do, but I’m pretty sure that’s the psychology that makes it happen. As long as it was the victims fault, I can behave in such a way that I never become a victim.

    • jpen

      That is so interesting! And I do not say that condescendingly, I say that honestly and wholeheartedly. I have never thought about that, and I truly appreciate you bringing it up. It is just so damn true.

  • Andrea

    If I replicated this experiment by locking 100 women in a room each (alone) with a bottle of vodka, when I open the door 12 hours later I’m pretty sure none would be raped. Why doesn’t society quote the statistic accurately? ’55% of rapes occur when men have unsupervised access to women who drink’ (would need to be adjusted for female rapists) That would naturally lead to the advice that men need their access restricted/supervised. After all, if it’s ok to tell women to restrict their actions because some men are rapists, we should be comfortable telling men to restrict their actions because some men are rapists. Right?

    • Momma425

      marry me!
      Seriously though, this is right on!

    • Lee

      She clearly says in the article “If I had a son, I would tell him that it’s in his self-interest not to be the drunken frat boy who finds himself accused of raping a drunken classmate..” she just doesn’t make that the focus of the article because she has a daughter. Can’t anyone read anymore?

    • Sarah Morgan

      Why couldn’t she just say that she would tell him not to rape? She’s only telling him not to “find himself accused” of it–there’s quite a difference between not doing something, and not getting caught doing something. She’s also focusing on it being in his best interest not to do it, rather than it just being best not to do it, period. Is it not good enough that it’s in the best interest of the woman, and society as a whole? Apparently not–she is implying that his own best interest trump those.

    • Lee

      You’re reading way too much into her phrasing.

    • CMJ

      So we’re either “not reading” or “reading into it too much?”

    • momjones

      Make up your mind. First you say that none of us can read. Then you tell us that we are reading way too much into it. If the article is about the problems of binge drinking, then the advice to both men and women should be consistent.

    • msLiz506

      Don’t even play like this article was evenhanded for both genders. Women got the whole article; men got one sentence.

    • AP

      BS. I’ve been at parties with girls who get drunk and make pernicious sexual advances towards other women. But because it’s girl-on-girl, people usually just think it’s “funny” and call the victim a homophobe and a party pooper for objecting.

    • Andrea

      I mention an adjustment for the minority of female rapists.

  • Lee

    One columnists suggests that college women might not want to get too intoxicated so they keep their faculties and can hopefully protect themselves in scenarios that have been shown as common ones for rape, and everyone goes ballistic and claims she is suggesting that the potential rapists should not also be educated and the actual rapists should not be prosecuted. And by writing what she wrote, she is not claiming that you, person in the comments section, personally haven’t already heard this argument a hundred million times. This is what passes for dialogue in the age of the Internet. All these words and not one little tiny bit of reading comprehension. No wonder nothing ever gets done.

    • CMJ

      Actually, most people are just irritated that this is so gender-specific. Especially considering her own statistic said that 74% of the perpetrators were drunk versus 55% of the victims. Most of us are just curious why woman have to curb their drinking to avoid being raped while men aren’t being told that drinking can also increase their inclination to sexually assault someone.

    • Lee

      She did.

      “If I had a son, I would tell him that it’s in his self-interest not to be the drunken frat boy who finds himself accused of raping a drunken classmate..”

      That wasn’t the focus of the piece, though, since she was relating her concern for her daughter as the catalyst.

      And also … ” Educating students about rape, teaching them that by definition a very drunk woman can’t consent to sex, is crucial.” That very pointedly targets the rapist

      More than half the victims being drunk means that more than half the victims need not to be drunk in order to defend themselves against a horrible act and also provide reliable reporting in the prosecution. I would suggest that excessive intoxication creates a situation where the victim has no clear memory of the crime – that was one of the problems in Steubenville – and that can impede prosecution and, sometimes, dissuade the victim from reporting something she didn’t witness to the satisfaction of the defense lawyers she will go up against.

      I was burglarized recently. The burglar was in my house, where I was alone, for probably 20 minutes. That’s just creepy. Turns out I forgot to lock my door. I was so humiliated that I had to tell the cops that. But thinking t that I didn’t take the proper precautions to prevent a burglary and that I deserved to be burglarized are two entirely different statements. Me getting so angry that I look upon analytical statements about a crime as personal judgment doesn’t solve anything.

    • thisshortenough

      Telling her son not to be the drunken frat boy who finds himself accused of raping a drunken classmate does not equal telling him that he shouldn’t drink. Just not to be that type of drinker.

      I’ve been sexually assaulted. I was drunk at the time. However I have never regarded it as my fault because I was not the only person at that nightclub drinking. It was the fault of the guy who decided that his dicks needs were more important than my own.

    • Lee

      The statement is made following all the statements she makes about women needing to drink more in moderation in certain situation. If you don’t skim, it’s obviously a logical follow-through that her phrasing is like that in order to be amusing or whatever, but she is making the same point without using the same words – that boys, too, should not binge drink and should keep in control of their faculties. Seriously, reading comprehension, people. Does it exist anymore?

    • kugolik

      Seriously, empathy, people. Does it exist anymore?

    • meteor_echo

      Nope. Smug victim-blaming ate it for dinner.

    • CMJ

      Looks like rape culture has arrived in the form of asking us all if we know how to read.

  • Emily

    Dude did you read the whole article? That’s not what Prudence said. She said, essentially, “do something to minimize your risk.”

    It’s like seat belts, really. You’re not going to eliminate auto accidents by wearing one, but maybe you’ll reduce your own risk, so why not wear one? Would anyone say, “Wearing seat belts does not stop all car accidents, so I won’t bother”?

    • Mikster

      More likely that if MEN stop drinking, sexual assault will cease to exist. Duh. @@

  • http://fairlyoddmedia.com/ Frances Locke

    I stopped reading her column years ago because of just this type of victim-blaming.

  • Blueathena623

    This made me so pissed off. I’m SOOOO tired of people acting like they are the very first person to ever think of preventative tips. I’m 31, I’ve been hearing them for 20 years. Want to be really provocative? Write articles on teaching guys not to rape.

  • http://wtfihaveakid.blogspot.ca/ jendra_berri

    I have (mostly) lived like this: not getting hugely drunk, not allowing anyone to pressure me into drinking more, living cautiously.
    But not always. Because I’m human. I have luckily, when drunk, not been in the presence of someone who would use my drunkenness as an opportunity for rape. But I understand those types are out there and they don’t wear signs.
    *Sigh* It’s hard. What line do you walk?
    Roughly 6% of men are rapists. You don’t know who they are. They walk among us. They will likely rape you if they can. You can’t make them rape you with anything you do, as the choice is theirs. You also can’t make them not rape you if that’s what’s happening.
    You can mitigate risk. You can party in a way that lowers risk. But nothing you do eliminates it. And you can’t live in a way that is risk-free. It’s not sustainable or enjoyable. And since rapists are responsible for the rapes they commit, the victim is never responsible. They did not MAKE the rape happen. The sad problem is too many people equate risky behaviour with *deserving* bad outcomes.

    For the record, no one should be encouraged to binge drink. It’s not good for anyone. It’s bad for your liver and you can die.

    • meteor_echo

      I think more than 6%. 1 in every 3 women is raped in her lifetime, and, even considering that one rapist victimizes three to six women in his lifetime (on the average), your statistics is, sadly, the more optimistic outcome. The actual amount might be somewhere between 6% and 12%. This fucking blows.

    • http://wtfihaveakid.blogspot.ca/ jendra_berri

      http://jezebel.com/5404064/rapists-admit-repeated-crimes–as-long-as-you-dont-call-it-rape

      I based that off of a specific study I’ve read about a few times. It could be more than 6%, easily. 6% is the number who will admit to raping so long as you don’t call it rape.

    • meteor_echo

      I think I read this study too. The reality behind these numbers is so fucked up, isn’t it :<

    • AP

      I suspect a huge problem in this is the nature of college. A lot of the people you’re “close friends” with in college- especially freshman year- are people you really have no substantial relationship with. I shudder at the number of times my group of friends would be like, “Nah, they’re good people, they’re friends Dan’s and Dan’s a good guy, so they must be good guys too.” And yet, if you were pressed to talk about the person, you’d be like, “Oh, Rob’s a math major, he lives in Smith, he likes weed and he’s really into metal music”

      People tend to keep company with like-minded folks, so you’re right more often than you’re wrong, and you can easily ignore the fallacy in your logic long enough that by the time you’re wrong, you realize too late that you were REALLY wrong.

  • Evelyn

    “If I had a son, I would tell him that it’s in his self-interest not to be the drunken frat boy who finds himself accused of raping a drunken classmate”

    That sounds to me like she considers silly drunken lads getting falsely accused of rape because being drunk makes them a target to be more of problem than nasty drunken lads raping. Yes, sometimes women lie, but also men sometimes rape but while I think most men are decent human beings who would never do so I still believe far, far more women who say they were raped were actually raped than are telling porkies. As a mother of sons and a daughter I find it more important to raise my sons to know rape is wrong than to teach them to be careful of accusations. I don’t believe my sons would rape when adults (what parent would) but that is partly because I see it as my duty as a parent to educate my sons on consent and respect and make it clear to them how rape can affect a victim. To assume that a child will always grow into a decent adult if you are more interested in teaching them not to get caught than not to do omething nasty is a little blinkered. Raising a kid by appealing to “self-interest” rather than a sense of morals won’t always produce a monster but it doesn’t try to prevent one.

  • kcanuk

    I don’t blame women for getting raped, but if I had a daughter damn straight I would advise her to go out in groups, always have a sober friend for ‘babysitting’ and driving duties (the number of times I was that friend!!!) and be very careful about putting herself in risky situations when drinking.
    That being said, I have a stepson, a toddler son, and another incubating that I’m pretty darn sure is a boy as well. So I will be teaching them it is not OK to victimize drunk women, that a woman must be able to consent, and that they need to be very careful about decisions about sex when they or their partner have been drinking.
    I see NOTHING wrong about counselling young ladies that they need to be careful when drinking. Yes, they should be able to cavort freely nekkid and drunk down the back alley-but we, as a society, are not there yet. Protect yourself first is my rule.

    • meteor_echo

      The problem is – the sober friend may be the one who might turn out to be a rapist in this situation. Happened to me.
      Teach your boys to not victimize any other people – men, women, trans people, queer people. Not anyone. Ever. Teach them that when somebody is drunk, they can’t consent. That pressuring someone into sex doesn’t mean the other person consented. That guilting someone into sex doesn’t mean consent, or that not stopping when the other person says NO is rape.

    • NYBondLady

      The problem in your case is- you can’t possibly know who is a rapist and who isn’t. And no amount of talking to kids by parents will remove all rapist from the earth. So, why make yourself impaired to the point of not being able to defend yourself?

    • meteor_echo

      “So, why make yourself impaired to the point of not being able to
      defend yourself?”

      Hahah, so you’re blaming me for not having expected a friend of mine to be a rapist? Seriously? Is this the only kind of petty, sneaky judgmental shit you’re capable of, or would you also go further? Why not applaud the people who decide to rape a drunk girl or guy, for ~teaching them a lesson~?
      You’re repulsive, the way rotten horse intestines are. The way you think makes me want to throw up all over you. Fuck off and don’t forget to take your evil rape apologist ways with you.

    • NYBondLady

      All I have to say is THANK GOD you don’t have kids. Darwin is laughing in his grave somewhere.

    • meteor_echo

      Yeah, thank your imaginary invisible friend in the sky for my decision to not subject any kid to the torture like you. May your already unlucky offspring put your ass into the shittiest nursing home when you’re old, and may they have better karma in the next life so that they’d have a nicer mother.

  • meteor_echo

    Aww, how cute. So, according to her, if women protect themselves, they won’t get raped? Well, my experience says otherwise. When I was 19, I went to the birthday party of a very close friend (I knew the guy for years). I got drunk there, and when I felt like having a nap, I went to a separate room and closed the lock on the door from the inside. Guess what happened? This particular friend just grabbed a screwdriver, took the lock off the door, came in and raped me while I was too weak to move or talk.

    How’s that for fucking self-defense, Emily? Was I supposed to think that a guy who I knew for three years and who I thought cared about me would actually rape me? Or is any woman supposed to not trust her friends enough to go to their birthday party and expect to not be raped? Fuck you with a dead porcupine, Emily.

    And at last, a protip for possible downvoters/victim blamers – GO CHOKE ON A HOT COAL, ASSHOLES. SCREW YOURSELF WITH THE HIGH HORSE YOU RODE IN ON.
    Dixi, people.

    • http://twitter.com/mariaguido Maria Guido

      I’m really, really sorry to hear this and this is precisely why her article made me so sick. Do you have any idea how big her audience is? How many rape survivors do you think had to read that piece of garbage – it’s infuriating.

    • meteor_echo

      Thank you. It’s been a long time ago, and, while I haven’t gotten over it, I guess I came to terms with it.
      I do have an idea about her audience – a metric fuckton of people, some of whom are going to blame themselves for their rape after reading her column, because if an accomplished columnist keeps saying that not drinking ~prevents rape~, then it must be truly so. UGH.

  • Simone

    Part of victim-blaming as a cultural constant is the Just World hypothesis. This suggests that we can’t cope with the idea that bad things happen to good people for no real reason. We have to believe that somehow the victim deserved it or allowed it to happen because deep down, we need to be able to believe in a world that is rational, sensible, logical and just. Therefore if we convince ourselves or others that the victim is in some way responsible, the world seems like an ordered and predictable place again, and we all feel safe like we did before we read about the woman just like us who was horribly assaulted and left to die in a gutter.

    What causes rape? Is it: A) the clothes I’m wearing; B) the fact that I’m drunk; C) my known history of enjoying consensual sex with whomever I choose; or D) a rapist?

    Why, as others have observed, don’t we ever read articles directed to a male readership like, ‘What To Do If You Are Afraid You Might Sexually Assault Someone’? Why is it always, ALWAYS, women’s responsibility to regulate men’s behaviour? When the hell can this privileged masculinity sack up and accept that they are the ones who are responsible for their own choices?

    Possibly when enough writers like Eve and Maria, and readers like us, keep getting righteously enraged about articles like Emily’s.

    Burn on, bright torches in the darkness.

    • Kat

      Every. Single. Thing. You. Said.

    • http://Mommyish.com/ Eve Vawter

      I love you simone

    • Simone

      Group hug.

    • AE Vorro

      Well said.

  • Arlene Adams

    She’s not entirely wrong. Drinking does contribute to sexual assault. Denying that would be ridiculous. But so would assuming that predators require a drunk girl to do their bidding. How many stories of girls getting picked up on the side of the road and then held in a basement are there? How many girls walking home from work late at night that pass the wrong guy? I think if there’s anything to get out of what she said its that the world is dangerous in its own right, and adding to the danger by being intoxicated doesn’t help.

    • Lindsey

      And as this article points out, more rapists were drinking than victims, so to help stop this, shouldn’t we concentrate on the larger portion of the population?

  • Kat

    I’m really (genuinely) interested that her advice to her hypothetical son was worded such that it was about avoiding the accusation of rape. Now, don’t get me wrong, I’m sure she wants her hypothetical son to also not actually rape anyone but for me it shines a light on the problem – it’s hard to contemplate even your imagined son doing something so heinous. But (and I say this as the mother of a not-at-all hypothetical son) until we are honest about the fact that as often as not it’s ‘good boys’, loved and respected by friends and family, who rape women we are failing the victims, ourselves and our sons.

  • Kimberly

    All arguments and shaming and accusing aside, me personally? I’d tell my sons and daughters to be careful when consuming beverages because it’s just good to keep your wits about you. The simple fact of the matter is we tell people to look under their cars or in their back seats at night, or to carry keys in your hands to use as a weapon. I don’t see how any of that is different than teaching your child that HAVING YOUR WITS ABOUT YOU is really the best prevention out there. It doesn’t mean it’s our fault, it’s just a preventative measure. It NEVER makes sense to be completely wasted to the point of falling down and blacking out. It’s dangerous in many different ways. Yes, this article was not exactly written in a “non-shamey” (sry for word creation) way, but the underlying message really is that ultimately we are the BEST protection for ourselves. We need to take responsibility for our actions (men, and women) and that includes being conscious and aware of what’s going on. When you are falling down drunk you are at risk for ALL SORTS of accidents and attacks (rape not excluded, but not the only crime perpetrated against the inebriated). The shaming has got to stop, it really has. This article was not written in a helpful way, but the (i hope) intended message was that we are our best protectors.

    • Kimberly

      And for the record I don’t think self defense classes should just be targeted to women. Many men are victimized too so I lump everyone into the “carry your keys and look in the back seat” category.

    • AP

      My husband gets bothered by strangers more than I do. There have actually been times when I’ve been somewhere sketchy with him and wished I was by myself so I wouldn’t have to worry about being approached by shady figures.

  • CrazyFor Kate

    Prudence has always been absurdly anti-alcohol, but this was way beyond what she’s written before. I’m disappointed, she’s normally quite sensible.

    There’s a difference between teaching your kid to be careful and teaching her that she’s the one to blame. You can tell her to watch her drink, to trust her instincts, to have a buddy – but even if she forgets all of these things, it is never her fault. Her body belongs to her and even if she is passed out wasted in the middle of a frat house, it is the responsibility of the others to leave her alone (well, make sure she’s comfortable, but otherwise leave her alone). This goes for boys too, obviously. I can’t believe the cognitive dissonance involved in this. Since when can you make someone rape you?

  • Jessica
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