In another sign that rape on some level is permissible in our culture, Slate’s Emily Yoffe, who writes under the guise of Dear Prudence advice columnist has gone on to post a bruising piece where she contemplates the role of young women, such as Daisy Coleman, who unwittingly go on to orchestrate their own rape.
In advising on how to bring down the incidence of rape, Emily Yoffe goes on in her admittedly thoughtful piece, ‘College Women: Stop getting drunk,’ to tell that parents, schools, and sexual assault prevention experts can help to bring down the number of rape victims by telling young women to stop drinking alcohol.
Writes Emily Yoffe: ‘A common denominator in these cases is alcohol, often copious amounts, enough to render the young woman incapacitated,’
‘We are failing to let women know that when they render themselves defenseless, terrible things can be done to them.’
Yet despite the writer’s best intentions, many went on to take Emily Yoffe to task for implicitly condoning and apologizing rape behavior, with some contemplating that analyzing the actions of the victim, rather than the attacker, sends a message that rape is excusable.
In taking Emily Yoffe to task, The Atlantic Wire’s Alexander Abad-Santos went on to point out that there is only one common factor in the rape of college women: rapists.
‘Yoffe’s point doesn’t come from a bad place — she wants to see less women raped. That’s a good intention, which the overwhelming majority of Americans share,’
‘[But] it’s like telling people not to drive late at night because they might die at the hands of a drunk driver — these people aren’t breaking the law, yet they’re the ones being targeted and asked to compromise their lives. What about teaching men not to rape?’
In attempting to reckon with rape, Thomas MacAulay Millar from Yes Means Yes, Visions of Female Sexual Power and a World Without Rape, takes on the view that perhaps its best to focus on treating the symptom, instead of looking for ways to treat the disease — the repeat rapists and the social constructs that allow them to get away with it.
Tells Millar of Yoffe’s essay: ‘She gives up on catching and punishing them, in favor of telling women that they can’t do something that men take for granted the right to do,’
Also agreeing with Millar’s take was huffpo‘s Emmay Gray, who went on to contemplate:
‘Have we lost so much faith in our male population that instead of publishing columns telling young men to stop raping tipsy women — or encouraging the expansion of programs on college campuses that work to educate students about such matters and prevent sexual assault — some of us believe it is most effective to tell women not to drink at all?’
‘We need to place the burden of blame for these assaults squarely where it belongs — on the shoulder of those individuals who choose to commit them.’
Joining in for the crash ride against Yoffe was also Jezebel’s Erin Gloria Ryan who went on to contemplate that Emily Yoffe ‘doesn’t seem to understand that while alcohol plays a role in many sexual assaults, there’s only one element that plays a role in all sexual assaults: a rapist.’
With an axe to grind, Lori Adelman of Feministing went on to argue that Emily Yoffe has, multiple times, used her Dear Prudence column as a platform to scold women who were sexually assaulted after drinking.
Tells Adelman: Certainly, binge drinking should not been seen as a way for young women to assert independence and liberation, but Ms Yoffe’s argument has been called out for being counteractive to the liberated ideal that a woman should be free to do as she pleases, without suffering ill-effects.’
Joining in the train wreck ride against Emily Yoffe also included Salon’s Katie McDonough who in an article tenderly titled ‘Sorry, Emily Yoffe: Blaming assault on women’s drinking is wrong, dangerous and tired,’ went on to coyly demonstrate that Emily Yoffe’s postulations are off the mark and instrumental in apologizing for rapist behavior in the first place.
‘This false idea, that women’s behavior is the real reason they are victimized — and that we live in a society that does a poor job of policing such behavior — is regularly used to blame sexual violence on the “problem” of young women today,’
Goes on to tell McDonough: ‘Yoffe has plenty of good data to support her argument that binge drinking on college campuses isn’t healthy. The over-consumption of alcohol can literally kill people. What it can’t do, however, is make a woman responsible for a crime committed against her.
But what’s not being said or taught, and what Yoffe only mentions in the final paragraph of a piece spent blaming women and girls for drinking themselves into victimhood, is what men and boys can do to stop rape. First and foremost, they can not rape.’
Newsweek’s Katie Baker, also went on to join the fray, labeling Emily Yoffe’s argument as ‘offensive and damaging to victims,’ as well as going to emphasize that ‘our culture is swimming with examples of women — in movies, television and real life — who are “punished” for their “bad choices” with sexual violence.
‘“Bad choices” include wearing a short skirt, staying out too late, getting too drunk, trusting too much. The list of reasons that Americans believe women deserve rape is long.’
Of course one wonders how men could possibly be ‘punished’ if they too insisted in dressing scantily, drinking way too much or staying out too late? Could we even for a moment argue that a man would be well deserving of any possible recrimination at the hands of a female and that implicitly the male failed to observe some basic rules?
Naturally the mere contemplation of such an assertion probably would make the rational mind fizzle in the lack of rational logic, but yet this is what Emily Yoffe wants us to consider as rationalized logic when it comes to women being raped. It is their fault. They asked for it on some level, never mind the perpetrator seeking and manifesting such behavior with their own self will.
Went on to contemplate Jennifer Marsh, vice president of victim services at the Rape, Abuse, and Incest National Network, America’s largest anti-sexual violence organization:
‘Ms Yoffe’s column ‘sends the message that if you don’t drink, you won’t be raped, which is obviously not the case,’ Ms Marsh told Newsweek. ‘Unfortunately, there’s no surefire way to prevent sexual assault. [Rape] can take place anywhere, at any time. It’s not just in a fraternity bedroom after a party.’ And it can happen to women who are sober, too. ‘
Which is of course another way of saying Emily Yoffe, let’s put all drinks aside and understand it is never the fault of the victim for being a victim, it is always the fault of the aggressor for facilitating aggressive actions, they after all have the free will to accept responsibility for their own actions and perhaps it is time society was more assertive in making sure that such individuals were indeed held accountable for their actions.