Last week, Emily Yoffe, who writes regularly at Slate set of a firestorm when she wrote a post that offered what normal, non-politically correct people, recognize as extremely good advice: Tweens and young women, if you don’t want to get raped, don’t get drunk. Yoffe wasn’t giving rapists, even drunk rapists, a pass. She was just saying that, as a practical matter, a young woman who is to incapacitated to make rational decisions or to lift a hand in her own defense, is a natural victim:
A 2009 study of campus sexual assault found that by the time they are seniors, almost 20 percent of college women will become victims, overwhelmingly of a fellow classmate. Very few will ever report it to authorities. The same study states that more than 80 percent of campus sexual assaults involve alcohol. Frequently both the man and the woman have been drinking.
Let’s be totally clear: Perpetrators are the ones responsible for committing their crimes, and they should be brought to justice. But we are failing to let women know that when they render themselves defenseless, terrible things can be done to them. Young women are getting a distorted message that their right to match men drink for drink is a feminist issue. The real feminist message should be that when you lose the ability to be responsible for yourself, you drastically increase the chances that you will attract the kinds of people who, shall we say, don’t have your best interest at heart. That’s not blaming the victim; that’s trying to prevent more victims.
Honestly, I don’t think Yoffe could have been more clear.
I happen to agree with Yoffe 100%. I agree to the extent that, whether sober or drunk, certain young men see a drunken woman, especially an unconscious drunken woman, as a perfect target for rape.
I also agree to the extent that drunken young women say “yes” when, had they been sober, they would have said “no.” Men aren’t the only ones who wear beer goggles. When the girls or young women wake up the next morning filled with regrets, they tend to whitewash their complicity in drunken sex by claiming “rape.” Those fake cries of rape destroy the men against whom they’re aimed, but in today’s culture, these young women are so brainwashed that they actually convince themselves that their drunken “yes” equaled a rape — and then they go around suffering permanent emotional damage from the mantle of victim-hood that they draped upon themselves.
I know that, on the liberal side of the blogosphere, people went ballistic over Yoffe’s article. I didn’t have to read those posts to know what they were saying. I linked to Yoffe’s post on my Facebook page and got more comments than I’ve gotten on any other thing I’ve ever linked. With the exception of comments from three conservative friends, all of my other liberal friends said variations on exactly the same thing: While Yoffe is correct factually, they cannot approve of her saying what she said because it’s unfair to girls to say that they have a responsibility to protect themselves.
Please think about this for a moment. These liberals agree that girls who drink to excess are vulnerable to rape and other attacks. They simply think that this truism — one with huge practical implications for women’s safety — must go unsaid because its offensive to feminist ideology to state in any way, shape, or form, that young women have a responsibility to protect themselves.
In the comments section, I got all sorts of arguments against warning girls that drunkenness can be their undoing and all of these arguments were premised upon enormous logical fallacies:
There’s no excuse for men to rape. I agreed, but pointed out that there’s a virtue to making it harder for them to do so.
Suggesting that women can take proactive steps to prevent rape will make them feel guilty if they are raped. Yes, maybe, I said, but it will also mean fewer women get raped.
Just because people are drunk doesn’t mean they rape. Huh? Well, no, most drunk young men thankfully don’t rape drunk or unconscious women, but some do. Given that reality, why shouldn’t the women avoid the risks of running across the “bad” drunk guys? And certainly one of the most effective ways to avoid these guys is for you to keep your wits about you.
Men need to be told not to rape, rather than telling women not to drink. But, but . . . can’t we do both? And incidentally, we already tell men not to rape, a proscription that carries with it a heavy legal penalty. Despite that, some still do, whether they are drunk or sober.
Saying that drunken women are essentially willing victims is a free pass for men. Men are always morally responsible for their actions. If a thief robs a house, he’s still morally and legally in the wrong. But it doesn’t mean homeowners are relieved of the obligation to lock their doors.
It’s not fair to tell women not to drink if we also don’t tell other people not to do things that will protect them from crimes. Okay, now they’re really getting desperate. How often are we told to lock our houses, carry our purses so snatchers can’t grab them, check our surroundings before going to the ATM, lock our car doors, etc.? But even if we weren’t told these things, there’s a difference between crimes of property and crimes of person. While having our house broken into feels like a violation (been there, felt that), it’s not the same as having our person violated. That means that the need for warnings about careless behavior with our bodies should demand more attention than for careless behavior with our property.
Since I’ve been working on Mr. Conservative, I’ve spent way too much time writing about rape, sexual assault, and pedophilia. In 90% of those stories, alcohol is a factor. It’s definitely a factor in terms of the malfeasor’s conduct, but it’s equally a factor in terms of the victim’s conduct. This is especially true in the cases of the high school girls who find pictures of themselves on social networks naked or being sexually assaulted. Two things invariably happen: (1) The girls admit, or witnesses confirm, that the teenage victims had drunk themselves insensible; and (2) the other students at the school place more blame on the drunken victim than on the drunken perpetrator(s).
This last isn’t fair. Indeed, it’s absolutely vile. The fact remains, though, that outside of the rarefied world of elite feminism, it’s a reality: On the street, kids know enough about the world to believe that girls shouldn’t drunk themselves to vulnerability and, if they do, they shouldn’t destroy some guy’s life by complaining if he takes advantage of that situation.
The best thing that the feminists can do for girls dealing with the real world, rather than the elite’s dream of a real world, is to issue constant, graphic warnings telling teenage girls not to get drunk. If their body is a house, getting drunk is the equivalent of handing the keys to the guy trolling the neighborhood looking for a house to rob.