I must be a fool to stick my uninvited nose into an argument in which a lot of people have said a lot of stupid and mean things, but I hate stupidity and I hate people being mean. And I hate rape. So here goes.
If you had a college-age daughter and you didn’t want her to get raped, what kind of advice would you give her? Well, on Oct. 15, Emily Yoffe, who writes for Slate, had the temerity, the nerve, to write an article in which she said something that got her into a lot of trouble. She said, and I paraphrase, that since a lot of college-age women are raped and sexually assaulted not only when they’re drunk but because they’re drunk—because, duh, being drunk makes a girl helpless and stupid, which you need like a hole in the head when you’re around drunk stupid college-age boys—then probably these girls shouldn’t drink so much.
In her piece, Yoffe was taking a mom’s-eye view of the problem. You know: “I can’t change the world but I can know what to tell my daughter.” That was the point of her piece.
She knew quite well that the perpetrators were the ones responsible for the rape, and she wanted them prosecuted to the full extent of the law. But she wasn’t writing a piece about how rapists should be prosecuted.
And Yoffe knew well that colleges, public health agencies, police, parents, and many other forces in society have a huge responsibility for dealing with this problem. No one who’s ever read Yoffe could think otherwise. But she wasn’t writing a piece about who and what in society at large has a responsibility for damming up this flood of college rapes.
She was just saying, look, if you’re 19 and you don’t want to get raped, it’s going to be a lot easier to avoid it if you’re not shitfaced.
I don’t know—because I’m a fool, of course—but this sounds like good advice to me. As opposed to saying, “Hey, get as drunk as you like; it probably won’t affect your odds of being raped.” Which would be bad advice. Right?
Sure. So you’d think women would respond to Yoffe’s piece by saying, Good advice. Or maybe, Good advice, and now here are my ideas for reining in these college boys by, let’s say, making college boys more responsible for their misdeeds and making colleges more responsible for their college boys.
But no. Out come the mean girls, in one article after another, deliberately misunderstanding Yoffe’s piece and crapping all over it. (more…)