In an otherwise very good piece on Audrie Pott, Eve Vawter unfortunately goes there in the comment section.
Points 1 and 3 are good. 3 is especially cogent. Her inclusion of 2, however, unfortunately undercuts the others.
Her head is 99% in the right place, but I can’t pretend this 1% isn’t happening.
It’s not that I think Ms. Vawter is holding Audrie Pott responsible for her rape, or that she lacks sympathy for her or other girls who are victimized while intoxicated. Her article makes it clear that she knows the problem is with the people who commit rape and that victims need compassion and sympathy. So, with that in mind…
WE NEED TO FUCKING STOP TALKING ABOUT RAPE IN THE PASSIVE VOICE.
We need to stop telling young people that victimization is an inevitable consequence of heavy drinking. It’s not alcohol that makes rape happen. The presence of sexual predators is what makes rape happen. How about, instead we tell growing adolescents: if you can’t be around a drunk and unconscious person without violating her bodily orifices, then DON’T GO TO A PARTY where alcohol may be served. If you feel inclined to commit sexual violence, then don’t put yourself in the position where you might be tempted.
Every minute we spend talking about what girls can do to protect themselves from predators is another minute we don’t spend teaching impressionable minds about the importance of sexual boundaries and bodily autonomy. Every minute we spend telling girls don’t do this, don’t do that so you don’t get raped, we’re sending the message that if girls let their guard down, then boys just can’t help themselves, and that if a girl didn’t want to get raped, she shouldn’t have had so much to drink. We are sending the message to potential rapists that if the victim was drunk at the time, they will get away with attacking her. This is where victim-blaming comes from.
I would like to propose a moratorium on so-called “safety tips” to shield young women from sexual violence. If we successfully convince all girls not to drink around boys, then people who want to commit rape will find other ways to incapacitate and isolate their victims. We’ve been discussing these “safety tips” for decades, and holy shit, rape still happens and victims can’t get justice.
Fuck that noise. Rape isn’t something that just happens to girls who get wasted. Rape is a decision that one human being (or several) makes against another. It’s well past time we focused on that decision and stopped talking about violent crime as something the victim allowed to happen to her.