Alcohol/rape study reignites the 'short skirt' theory

News & Politics

Actual Headline: Should women be more responsible?

Actual Subject: Rape.

A study which reveals many sexually assaulted women may have had too much to drink rather than been drugged has sparked a debate over how much the victims themselves are to blame.
Ah, because if you over-indulged, then you get whatever's coming to you -- bloodshot eyes, a hangover, sexual assault, y'know. Once you pass out, babe, your body's community property. Everyone knows that. So who's really to blame if someone takes your unconsciousness as tacit consent?

Damn, this shit is infuriating.

I can understand the arguments made that no one -- of either sex -- is well served by regularly drinking so much that they lose consciousness. Something bad is bound to happen when one makes a habit of trusting to the goodness of humanity. That’s not to suggest that a victim is to blame in any case; the worse part of human nature is not doing something foolish, but exploiting unintentional exposure for our own gain. However, using this study as a basis to call for greater responsibility on the part of women is particularly disingenuous. Note that its basis was whether women who had been sexually assaulted were drugged, as they thought. That doesn't sound like women who regularly drink so much they lose consciousness, but instead women who -- for whatever reason -- drank too much one night and were thusly so surprised by their physical response they figured it must have been something more than the alcohol. Maybe they always have three glasses of wine, but that night they hadn't had dinner, and so it hit them harder. Maybe they're inexperienced drinkers, who thought three martinis wouldn't affect them so much differently than three glasses of wine. Whatever. So what is the point of telling them to be more responsible? Their condition was obviously an unintentional aberration in the first place. But let's not allow that, nor the notion that the responsibility of any victimization lies with the victimizer, to stop us from redirecting blame upon them.

Tory MP Ann Widdecombe helpfully explains, "You can't always ask 'what can be done?' Is government responsible for people's actions? What needs to be done is people need to grow up and take more responsibility for themselves." But not men doing the raping, of course. "I have been saying for a very long time that drink is putting women in danger and I've also been saying for a very long time women have to take responsibility for themselves." Right. If only women were more responsible, there wouldn't be so much gosh-dern rape.

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