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Because "well, they were both drunk, so..." comes up so often in discussions about rape...

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Now, see, guys, that's how you make a convincing argument. Shouting "victim blamer" at me is not going to change my mind.  :smash:

 

I guess I would just say that at least I can still control my own driving, if I'm not drunk, and might have a better chance of avoiding said deranged semi driver. You're right that I wouldn't bear responsibility for getting mowed into, regardless, but I would have a greater chance of it not happening if I was not also impaired. Right? Or is that just obvious and not necessary (and/or too offensive) to say?

 

Well, in my poorly-executed metaphor, the analogous thing...the "dangerous action'...to getting drunk, is getting in your car.

Edited by OKBud
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Of course. I didn't say that he didn't have greater responsibility for the crime. He obviously did. That doesn't mean, however, that she had zero responsibility for doing what she knew would lead to impaired judgment.

The only person who exercised impaired judgment was the rapist. Being falling down drunk does not give anyone permission to do anything to you. She did not drive drunk or assault anyone.

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Except in this case both drivers were drunk.  Does that make a difference in the car wreck scenario?

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The only person who exercised impaired judgment was the rapist. Being falling down drunk does not give anyone permission to do anything to you. She did not drive drunk or assault anyone.

 

It doesn't, but that's the problem with being drunk.  You make craptastic choices.  So honestly the best thing to do is don't go to a party with strangers and get drunk.  It's just a stupid idea.

 

I tell my kids that.  I say I know, it's boring and sucky to go to a party where everyone is drunk and you aren't, but trust me..just don't freaking do it.  I like to drink so I'm not anti drinking, but I never drank at any college party and I got the hell out of there when people started being really stupid.

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He will move on very easily. There is little stigma in our culture for what he did, but a crap ton of victim bashing. The sex offenders list here has not been an impediment to employment and six months of jail time is nothing in a boys will be boys culture. She will suffer the scorn due to the leftover medieval concept that men can't and shouldn't control themselves, so women are to be the "barn door keepers" who incur wrath if they "fail".

 

It then perpetuates the stupid myth amongst women that if I am a good enough gate keeper, ie dress dumpy,never show an inch of arm or leg or neck or whatever, never go to parties,never have a drink, never hang out wih "those people", never.....I will never be raped none of which is even remotely true. Then if the unthinkable happens the community inevitably turns on the gate keeper. If only....then...so therefore her fault. Poor boy. Let's not ruin his life. She should have controlled him.

 

Rape culture. It petmeates America. He will suffer little to nothing on the grand scheme of things. Her road will be much tougher.

 

Which is why I think things like "Let's have publicized castratings. No anesthesia!" Therefore, I refrain from law school and seeking the bench so my community remains civilized!

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No, I don't blame her for the rape. I blame her for getting so drunk that she passed out unconscious. I don't think that is the same thing.

 

Look, I'm willing to listen to all of your perspectives. There's no need to crucify me.  ;) I've been wrong before. 

 

Ravin, I am especially interested in your thoughts. What is the difference between victim blaming, and recognizing that the victim did in fact have some responsibility--in this imperfect world--to retain control of her judgment and functioning in order to keep herself safe? Is there a difference?

 

She got black out drunk. The price to pay for that is a hangover. Period. Maybe a bruised knee or two from stumbling. Anything beyond that is NOT her responsibility. It's his. 

 

That said, yes, I will do what I can to protect myself and my children. But even when you follow all the "rules", this stuff still happens. To spend time focusing on the "mistakes" she made just muddies the issue and helps this to continue. The spotlight needs to be on HIM, not her. 

 

Fyi, one of the times  it happened to me (yes, happened twice)  I was in a public place (restaurant bar), where the bartender knew me fairly well, I had at least 4 friends there with me, and I intended to have a single beer, maybe two (takes more than that to get me drunk. I had learned not to get drunk in private homes/parties/where I didn't know people after waking up in the bushes during a game of flashlight tag to find a 30 year old man (I had JUST turned 18) have sex with me. So I was smart. I followed the rules. I got rufied, my friends thought I really liked the guy, and there is an hour of my life that I have no memory of and no one knows where we went or what we did. Later, I vaguely remember waking up in bed with him, stumbling to a bathroom out of my mind, then falling asleep in another bed, where another man was sleeping. The first guy found me and brought me back to his room. He tried to do things that I did not want to do, and I managed to wake myself up enough to stop him. he drove me home the next day and I had no idea where were were. I had bruising on my neck and was bleeding from various orifces. And that was having a drink in a well known public place where several of my friends were. None of whom believed he drugged me because he "wasn't that kind of guy". And I never went to the cops to get tested because the entire thing was so confusing I didn't even think of drugs until later. I figured I just drank too much. Only later did I realize that I remembered nothing after that first drink. 

 

The ones that need to follow the rules are the rapists. Focus on them, and on teaching men what consent means. Leave the victims the hell alone. 

Edited by ktgrok
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Krtok, I did not like your post in the like way, but liked it that last part because it is so darn important!!!!

Edited by FaithManor
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Krtok, I did not like your post in the like way, but liked it that lat part because it is so darn important!!!!

 

I understand. It's not something I talk about usually, but it is important. And maybe if people weren't so quick to talk about how the girl could have prevented it, I WOULD have gone to the police. Maybe. But I didn't. Either time. 

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There's no such thing as a "perfect" victim. Someone who made 100% the "right" choices to keep herself safe. A person can take all sorts of precautions, but still have one kink, one blind spot in their line of defences that a rapist will take full advantage of.

 

Rapists cause rape. Full stop.

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I agree that as a mom of daughters, I'm going to beg them not to drink at parties.

 

Speaking of drinking, why isn't the frat leader on trial for allowing / encouraging underage drinknig?  Maybe if people would take that seriously, it would be preventative.

 

In this case, it seems to me that the physical circumstances surrounding the event made it crystal clear that this was rape.  The location, the way he ran away and left her int the condition she was in, hoping nobody would find out it was him.  Obviously that's not consensual anything, and if he wasn't too drunk to run away, then he wasn't too drunk to know his actions were wrong.

 

That said - I'm willing to admit that the alcohol played a part on both sides.  I have seen women who are NOT promiscuous act shockingly with strange men when they were drunk.  Looked like they wanted to do things they would never think of doing while sober.  Misled the guys they were with.  I have never seen it get to the point of rape, but I've seen it get to the point of groping before the female acted angry and the man acted surprised.  I have no way of knowing what happened in this case.  Obviously the guy running away leaves him no benefit of the doubt in my mind.  But in some other cases, maybe it isn't so clear.

 

Overall, the woman's statement was wonderful.  I did find one thing concerning.  She says (paraphrasing), who does a Q&A during sex?  (Regarding his [probably false] testimony that he asked permission and she said yes 3x.)  Now isn't a verbal Q&A the recommendation to establish consent?  Which is it?

 

If I were the king of the world, both drinking and sexual conduct on campus (except between married people) would be banned, and the bans would be enforced.  It wouldn't make evil people good, but it would keep a lot of good people safer.

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Krtok, I did not like your post in the like way, but liked it that lat part because it is so darn important!!!!

 

Like FaithManor, I'm not liking your posts because I like what happened to you, but because I admire your willingness to share things that need to be heard.

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Well, in my poorly-executed metaphor, the analogous thing...the "dangerous action'...to getting drunk, is getting in your car.

 

Okay, thanks, okbud. I will think about this differently now.

 

The only person who exercised impaired judgment was the rapist. Being falling down drunk does not give anyone permission to do anything to you. She did not drive drunk or assault anyone.

 

I can't agree that she didn't show impaired judgment after becoming drunk (based on the statement she released). However, I can see that it is a separate issue and do understand why it causes offense to focus on it.

 

She got black out drunk. The price to pay for that is a hangover. Period. Maybe a bruised knee or two from stumbling. Anything beyond that is NOT her responsibility. It's his. 

 

That said, yes, I will do what I can to protect myself and my children. But even when you follow all the "rules", this stuff still happens. To spend time focusing on the "mistakes" she made just muddies the issue and helps this to continue. The spotlight needs to be on HIM, not her. 

 

Thank you for being so open in sharing your experiences and thoughts, Katie. 

Edited by MercyA
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I am very disappointed that he is still a student at Stanford. Disappointed and livid at many other injustices in this case too, but to me, Stanford is giving a message that it's okay to rape the women and men who attend this university.

He is not still a student at Stanford.

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I disagree that the guy will be able to just move on in life. Not in the internet age.

 

-his name is associated with this crime (hers is not). Any google or Facebook search on him in the future will pull up this mess. The search will pull up her letter which will live forever and make it impossible to "forget" or overlook what he did.

-no Olympics, hopefully no competitive swimming at all

-no Stanford degree. No school of similar caliber will admit him now. What school would?

-no reputable employer will touch him.

-who would date him? marry him?

-he can never work for or be part of any organization involving kids (he'll fail any background check). Should he manage to marry and have kids he'll never be the AYSO soccer ref or swim coach.

 

It would be best if his jail term were longer, but even with a short sentence I don't think he's going to move on to an easy life. I have no pity for him. This is what his actions have earned. 

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Of course. I didn't say that he didn't have greater responsibility for the crime. He obviously did. That doesn't mean, however, that she had zero responsibility for doing what she knew would lead to impaired judgment.

 

He has full responsibility for the crime.  She has none. 

 

She does have full responsibility for choosing to drink, but that has nothing to do with his decision to commit a crime.

 

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He is not still a student at Stanford.

Thank you; I read the article, but did not see that he was actually thrown out. I will amend my post.

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He has full responsibility for the crime.  She has none. 

 

She does have full responsibility for choosing to drink, but that has nothing to do with his decision to commit a crime.

 

Yes, I can see that. 

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It's of course disgusting, but to be fair, it's not the only time that crimes committed while drunk are treated differently than when sober.  I guess the idea being the person's judgement was impaired and it was not premeditated.  To which I say bull crap because you had control over getting pi$$ drunk (unless someone tainted your beverage or something). 

 

Yeah, I don't get that at all. If you were drunk when you raped someone, you are STILL A RAPIST! No matter how much alcohol was in my body I would NEVER be a rapist. Alcohol doesn't make people rape.

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Yes, I can see that. 

 

Okay, now wrap this back around a bit.

 

When there is a discussion about the sentence the rapist receives, working "well, you shouldn't go to frat parties/drink" brings the focus back on the decisions made by the victim and implicitly assigns culpability to her.  If a woman is raped in her home and the perp enters through an unlocked window, discussing the decision to not lock the window as if it somehow played a role in the rape would be inappropriate, yes?

 

Further, bringing up the party/drinking as a "well, that is what happens when you do that" is accepting rape culture as unavoidable.

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I disagree that the guy will be able to just move on in life. Not in the internet age.

 

-his name is associated with this crime (hers is not). Any google or Facebook search on him in the future will pull up this mess. The search will pull up her letter which will live forever and make it impossible to "forget" or overlook what he did.

-no Olympics, hopefully no competitive swimming at all

-no Stanford degree. No school of similar caliber will admit him now. What school would?

-no reputable employer will touch him.

-who would date him? marry him?

-he can never work for or be part of any organization involving kids (he'll fail any background check). Should he manage to marry and have kids he'll never be the AYSO soccer ref or swim coach.

 

It would be best if his jail term were longer, but even with a short sentence I don't think he's going to move on to an easy life. I have no pity for him. This is what his actions have earned. 

 

I hope this is true. I would wish this on anyone who rapes. Victims can't forget, they deal with trauma for years, perhaps forever. It affects their marriage, their parenting, causes pregnancy and birth to be traumatic. Why shouldn't the rapist, the person who caused the rape, also not suffer for the rest of his (or her) life? Suffer even more because they are the one whose fault it is? Maybe I have an overactive sense of vengeance, but yes, I hope this ruins his life.

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Oh there be crazies out there that will happily employ him and marry him! James Sitler (Moscow, Idaho)- convicted of multiple sex crimes against children - managed to get a job and a wife all in the last seven years, and went on to have a child of his own and molest him too. It was not difficult to accomplish. You would be shocked at how quickly other men, particularly of the older generation, accept "It was trumped up. She changed her mind." He may not be able to teach school, but that six month sentence in the eyes of many will indicate that it must not have been "too bad", and he will find gainful employment. Some dumb young thing will fall for his,"I used to be an amazing swimmer!" come on, and then believe his lies. The number of serial killers who get married on death row is kind of shocking, so this guy will find someone without difficulty. Too much gullible out there sad to say.

 

As for colleges, I found out after I enrolled at my alma mater that the psychology and criminal justice department had a program for parolees to get degrees. Several violent rapists were given full access to our campus. The faculty felt it was a community service and told us women,"It is your job to be vigilant".

 

There will be plenty of programs like that out there. It may not be Stanford, but this is soooooo not a barrier to getting a degree much less a job. Now if he'd been given 15 years? In this day and age, that might make a difference in how he is viewed.

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What kind of person sees a helpless stranger and thinks 'wow what a good chance for some fun!'? This kind of guy, is the answer. He had the misfortune to have a very articulate victim who is channeling her trauma into anger. Tough luck.

 

I do not personally feel any need to persuade anyone pointing fingers at this assault victim. So when I say 'victim blaming yet again' I am just sending a resigned sigh to people who don't think that way.

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No, I don't blame her for the rape. I blame her for getting so drunk that she passed out unconscious. I don't think that is the same thing.

 

Look, I'm willing to listen to all of your perspectives. There's no need to crucify me. ;) I've been wrong before.

 

Ravin, I am especially interested in your thoughts. What is the difference between victim blaming, and recognizing that the victim did in fact have some responsibility--in this imperfect world--to retain control of her judgment and functioning in order to keep herself safe? Is there a difference?

I see no difference. The law generally holds people responsible for what they DO while voluntarily intoxicated, just as they are responsible for what they do while sober. One is NOT responsible for what others do to them while intoxicated, any more than they are responsible for what is done to them while sober. Edited by Ravin
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I have just spent a fruitless 15 minutes looking for a scene from the old movie "High Society".  It should be played over and over as a public interest message.

 

In it a man explains very gracefully that he didn't have sex with a willing but somewhat inebriated woman despite her great attractiveness to him and her evident interest in him because she was drunk and, IIRC, "There are rules about such things."  

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I have just spent a fruitless 15 minutes looking for a scene from the old movie "High Society". It should be played over and over as a public interest message.

 

In it a man explains very gracefully that he didn't have sex with a willing but somewhat inebriated woman despite her great attractiveness to him and her evident interest in him because she was drunk and, IIRC, "There are rules about such things."

Freaketh me out!!! Who'd of thought! (Somehow the above concept has been lost on so many.) Edited by FaithManor
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Okay, now wrap this back around a bit.

 

When there is a discussion about the sentence the rapist receives, working "well, you shouldn't go to frat parties/drink" brings the focus back on the decisions made by the victim and implicitly assigns culpability to her.  

 

Okay, I can understand that. (And just for the record, I am not anti-drinking. I don't think drunkenness is wise.)

 

If a woman is raped in her home and the perp enters through an unlocked window, discussing the decision to not lock the window as if it somehow played a role in the rape would be inappropriate, yes?

 

I think it would be inappropriate to focus on it in front of the victim or berate her for it. It shouldn't affect the sentencing of the rapist. It doesn't lessen the rapist's responsibility.

 

I don't agree that a discussion of locked vs. unlocked windows should be totally off the table, though. Locked windows do, in fact, help keep us safe.

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I tell my children, both genders, not to get crazy drunk, just like I tell them to buckle up the seatbelt and look both ways before crossing the street. For safety reasons, no matter if my child is a girl or a boy.

 

But if he or she is thrown from a car or hit by a car because a driver deliberately and maliciously aims his car for my child, I don't blame my child's actions. I blame the evil person who would hurt another human being.

 

The two are separate issues and should be separate discussions.

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Oh there be crazies out there that will happily employ him and marry him! James Sitler (Moscow, Idaho)- convicted of multiple sex crimes against children - managed to get a job and a wife all in the last seven years, and went on to have a child of his own and molest him too. It was not difficult to accomplish. You would be shocked at how quickly other men, particularly of the older generation, accept "It was trumped up. She changed her mind." He may not be able to teach school, but that six month sentence in the eyes of many will indicate that it must not have been "too bad", and he will find gainful employment. Some dumb young thing will fall for his,"I used to be an amazing swimmer!" come on, and then believe his lies. The number of serial killers who get married on death row is kind of shocking, so this guy will find someone without difficulty. Too much gullible out there sad to say.

 

As for colleges, I found out after I enrolled at my alma mater that the psychology and criminal justice department had a program for parolees to get degrees. Several violent rapists were given full access to our campus. The faculty felt it was a community service and told us women,"It is your job to be vigilant".

 

There will be plenty of programs like that out there. It may not be Stanford, but this is soooooo not a barrier to getting a degree much less a job. Now if he'd been given 15 years? In this day and age, that might make a difference in how he is viewed.

 

Anything can be written off if you say it was foolish, you regret it so much, you've changed, etc.   I am thinking of George Bush's DUI - he said he was young and stupid - if I remember right he was in his 30s when he pled guilty to it.   It came out during a debate and was a real non-issue.   Or more relevant Mike Tyson raped some young woman, got six years, served 3, ended up with a successful career in entertainment. Or a bunch of other stories, I'm sure.  I'm not saying that every crime should be a life sentence of shame-- but --- it is pretty easy to get back up for a lot of people, especially if the judge goes easy on you.

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I think it would be inappropriate to focus on it in front of the victim or berate her for it. It shouldn't affect the sentencing of the rapist. It doesn't lessen the rapist's responsibility.

 

I don't agree that a discussion of locked vs. unlocked windows should be totally off the table, though. Locked windows do, in fact, help keep us safe.

 

Your first comments on this story were about what the victim did wrong.  If it doesn't lessen the rapist's responsibility, then why bring it up.

 

Although considering you missed the point of the window analogy I am not sure there is any merit on engaging you further.

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I agree that as a mom of daughters, I'm going to beg them not to drink at parties.

 

Speaking of drinking, why isn't the frat leader on trial for allowing / encouraging underage drinknig?  Maybe if people would take that seriously, it would be preventative.

 

In this case, it seems to me that the physical circumstances surrounding the event made it crystal clear that this was rape.  The location, the way he ran away and left her int the condition she was in, hoping nobody would find out it was him.  Obviously that's not consensual anything, and if he wasn't too drunk to run away, then he wasn't too drunk to know his actions were wrong.

 

That said - I'm willing to admit that the alcohol played a part on both sides.  I have seen women who are NOT promiscuous act shockingly with strange men when they were drunk.  Looked like they wanted to do things they would never think of doing while sober.  Misled the guys they were with.  I have never seen it get to the point of rape, but I've seen it get to the point of groping before the female acted angry and the man acted surprised.  I have no way of knowing what happened in this case.  Obviously the guy running away leaves him no benefit of the doubt in my mind.  But in some other cases, maybe it isn't so clear.

 

Overall, the woman's statement was wonderful.  I did find one thing concerning.  She says (paraphrasing), who does a Q&A during sex?  (Regarding his [probably false] testimony that he asked permission and she said yes 3x.)  Now isn't a verbal Q&A the recommendation to establish consent?  Which is it?

 

If I were the king of the world, both drinking and sexual conduct on campus (except between married people) would be banned, and the bans would be enforced.  It wouldn't make evil people good, but it would keep a lot of good people safer.

 

Yeah no means no and that should be it.  And someone passed out can't consent.  BUT take two drunk people and it's not hard to imagine that bad shi* happens. 

 

Of course there are extremely awful stories of people adding drugs to drinks, etc.  This is 100% premeditated. 

 

I have two boys and beg them not to drink.  I swear IQs go WAY down when people get in groups (drunk or not, but drunk is a 1000 times worse). 

 

 

Edited by SparklyUnicorn
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I do not personally feel any need to persuade anyone pointing fingers at this assault victim. So when I say 'victim blaming yet again' I am just sending a resigned sigh to people who don't think that way.

 

I understand that it is not necessarily your responsibility to persuade me or anyone else of the rightness of your position. That said, you (general you) also shouldn't expect to sigh resignedly in someone's direction and not have them respond.  :)

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Except in this case both drivers were drunk. Does that make a difference in the car wreck scenario?

This is more like someone is drunk and minding her own business, not driving, and the other person gets behind the wheel and runs her over.

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If this woman's letter struck a chord, you may also be interested in the CNN documentary The Hunting Ground, about sexual assault on campus and dereliction of duty by campus administrators in both preventing and responding to the rapes of students. It is available on Netflix streaming.

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The woman did address her alcohol consumption with this quote...

 

Having too much to drink was an amateur mistake that I admit to, but it is not criminal. Everyone in this room has had a night where they have regretted drinking too much, or knows someone close to them who has had a night where they have regretted drinking too much. Regretting drinking is not the same as regretting sexual assault. We were both drunk, the difference is I did not take off your pants and underwear, touch you inappropriately, and run away. That’s the difference.

 

Mercy, just my perspective, as someone who has also struggled to understand where the line is between responsibility and blame, after reading many of these threads very thoughtfully.     

 

The key seems to be the timing.  On the front end, I can and will be talking to my daughter about when she does drink, where and who she does it with, why it can be dangerous, how it can cloud your judgment. If something bad ever happened to her, to bring up any of those things *at that time* or afterward would be horrible and blaming.  I think it is the same when these conversations come up.  To have a thread about how to talk to our girls about being safe while drinking is awesome.  To bring it up when we are discussing something like this that has happened, has the effect of lessening the responsibility of the rapist, even if that is not our intention. 

 

I say this as one who always does have the thoughts about responsibility. I am a mother of a daughter and no sons.  So, yes, I first think about what is *within her control* that my daughter can do to keep herself safe. If I bring up those things in the midst of a discussion about an actual incident, it does not have the same effect. And I would never - NEVER - want to be seen as saying something that lessens the responsibility of the rapist, whether that was my intention or not. This board has helped me understand that.  

Edited by goldberry
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The key seems to be the timing.  On the front end, I can and will be talking to my daughter about when she does she does drink, where and who she does it with, why it can be dangerous, how it can cloud your judgment. If something bad ever happened to her, to bring up any of those things *at that time* or afterward would be horrible and blaming. 

 

 

 

The other effect of discussing the responsibilities of the woman is that when and if  something does happen to her, if she has been brought up understanding that she should "know better" she is very unlikely to report it. Or tell anyone. Or get counseling. Because after all, she should have known better. Trust me on this one. 

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Your first comments on this story were about what the victim did wrong.  If it doesn't lessen the rapist's responsibility, then why bring it up.

 

Although considering you missed the point of the window analogy I am not sure there is any merit on engaging you further.

 

ChocolateReign, did you really miss what I said in the rest of the thread? I'm doing my best to think through these issues with intellectual and moral honesty. I've considered if I may have been wrong, and have already admitted that I think I was in some of what I said.

 

I'm happy to consider your perspective, but that doesn't mean I'm going to agree absolutely with your every statement. I didn't miss your point, but if you'd rather not continue the conversation, that's okay.

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I see no difference. The law generally holds people responsible for what they DO while voluntarily intoxicated, just as they are responsible for what they do while sober. One is NOT responsible for what others do to them while intoxicated, any more than they are responsible for what is done to them while sober.

 

Okay, thank you, Ravin. That makes sense to me.

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Mercy, just my perspective, as someone who has also struggled to understand where the line is between responsibility and blame, after reading many of these threads very thoughtfully.     

 

The key seems to be the timing.  On the front end, I can and will be talking to my daughter about when she does drink, where and who she does it with, why it can be dangerous, how it can cloud your judgment. If something bad ever happened to her, to bring up any of those things *at that time* or afterward would be horrible and blaming.  I think it is the same when these conversations come up.  To have a thread about how to talk to our girls about being safe while drinking is awesome.  To bring it up when we are discussing something like this that has happened, has the effect of lessening the responsibility of the rapist, even if that is not our intention. 

 

I say this as one who always does have the thoughts about responsibility. I am a mother of a daughter and no sons.  So, yes, I first think about what is *within her control* that my daughter can do to keep herself safe. If I bring up those things in the midst of a discussion about an actual incident, it does not have the same effect. And I would never - NEVER - want to be seen as saying something that lessens the responsibility of the rapist, whether that was my intention or not. This board has helped me understand that.  

 

Thank you so much, goldberry. That is very helpful.

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I think there are two different things that need to be addressed:

 

1.  Criminal responsibility.  Rapists are responsible for rape.  

 

2.  Personal Safety:  I think somehow people are afraid that if they tell their daughters some ways to protect themselves, they will either be sending the message that she is responsible if she is victimized or that they will be confining and limiting their daughters.  

 

I get it.  I was resentful (still am) at advice that suggests I should deny myself adventure, solace, joy.  I have traveled alone, camped alone, hiked alone.  I like walking at night.  I have done it in big town, small towns.  Sure, that might increase risk, but  to me, it's worth it. I can't eliminate all risk.  If I take every possible precaution, I am not going to enjoy my life.  

 

But I am not afraid to tell my sons, "You are traveling to a place where people are poor,"(or crime is high, or there is little police protections)  "Leave your jewelry at home.  Don't flash  your wad of cash.  Keep your valuables close to your body."  That doesn't mean they share responsibility legally if robbed.  Thief is fully responsible.  The victim is not to blame.  I was pick pocketed out of a good deal of money once (on a subway, traveling).  I did not take the precautions I should have.  That didn't make me legally responsible for the crime.  The thief was 100% legally responsible.  However, it wasn't a great deal of comfort to know that.  I wanted my money back! So yes, I did recognize my own mistakes (I knew better, I just got sloppy).  But that had no significance legally.

 

I don't think it is wrong to talk about the risks of heavy drinking at frat houses.  I don't think it is wrong to talk about keeping watch so nothing is slipped in that drink.  I think we can teach our kids about reducing the risks of being raped, robbed, assaulted, or scammed without implying that if those things happen, they are to blame.  I think we have to talk very honestly with our sons too about reducing the risk of accusations by making sure a woman who seems willing is actually clear headed, willing, and not feeling pressured or under the influence. 

 

 

However, It seems like bad timing to discuss personal safety precautions after a terrible crime is committed.  The instinct to want to lecture a victim on what she could have done to prevent it is appalling.  I don't understand why anyone thinks a woman making a statement (whether to the court, her rapist, the police, her parents, or anyone else) SHOULD acknowledge ways she could have been more cautious.  It's not her job to do that. Its not what she should be focused on in the aftermath of a horrible event. I don't understand why anyone reading this victim's statement thinks she owes us that, or why they think that if she doesn't share her regrets, she doesn't have them.  It's none of our business what kinds of things she is thinking about or feelings, apart from those she chooses to share.

Edited by Danestress
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Anything can be written off if you say it was foolish, you regret it so much, you've changed, etc. I am thinking of George Bush's DUI - he said he was young and stupid - if I remember right he was in his 30s when he pled guilty to it. It came out during a debate and was a real non-issue. Or more relevant Mike Tyson raped some young woman, got six years, served 3, ended up with a successful career in entertainment. Or a bunch of other stories, I'm sure. I'm not saying that every crime should be a life sentence of shame-- but --- it is pretty easy to get back up for a lot of people, especially if the judge goes easy on you.

Yup. SWB's book, "Art of the Public Grovel" comes to mind.

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The other effect of discussing the responsibilities of the woman is that when and if  something does happen to her, if she has been brought up understanding that she should "know better" she is very unlikely to report it. Or tell anyone. Or get counseling. Because after all, she should have known better. Trust me on this one. 

 

I can see how that would be.  We have to try as best we can as parents to keep our kids safe, but at the same time confirm that the person who commits a crime is the one who is responsible for the crime, period.

 

Personally, I have become much more careful what I comment out loud about rape cases.  It seems so convenient a time to bring up the discussion, to say, this or that is something you should be careful of.  I may know in my own adult head, "OF COURSE the rapist is responsible..."  but how does that play out to my young girl if when there is a rape case I use that particular time to point out the misjudgments of the woman?   I confess I never thought of the connection.  I do now.  Mostly from threads of those here who have been brave enough to share their stories.

Edited by goldberry
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Speaking of drinking, why isn't the frat leader on trial for allowing / encouraging underage drinknig?  Maybe if people would take that seriously, it would be preventative.

 

The rapist wasn't a member of the fraternity, the victim wasn't even a Stanford student, and the rape did not happen inside the frat house. I'm not a fan of the whole "collective responsibility" concept that Stanford uses to punish Greek organizations when a single member misbehaves, but this tragedy doesn't even fall under that.

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However, had she shown better judgment in the first place, she likely would have avoided the whole terrible ordeal.

Incredibly offensive. Are sober people never victims of sexual assault? This smacks of "She asked for it." No. No she did not.

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Just moving away from the issue of victim blaming...

 

I have deep problems with the idea that public shaming and sex offender registry status are good tools of punishment in general. Both have consequences and do stop people from getting jobs, finding housing, etc. etc. However, both are also deeply problematic - public shaming for all kinds of reasons but in this case because it implies that a court can cede its job to the internet mob or conversely that if a court does a poor job (or a good one but we disagree!) then the internet mob is a rightful way to achieve punishment - and the offender registry because it's so nebulous and arcane and lumps together crimes like consensual sex between 20 yos and their 17 yo partners, flashers, pedophiles, men who raped their wives and men who rufie random women all in one confusing morass - something the public increasingly knows and increasingly thinks the offender registry is meaningless, which might be just normalizing sex crimes. Knock knock, I'm your new neighbor and I'm required to inform you that I live here and committed a sex crime, but really, it was a no big deal sex crime. Ugh. I also wonder if taking these punishments into account allows us as the public - or juries or judges - to think a perpetrator has been punished without fulfilling their responsibility to incarcerate.

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I tell my children, both genders, not to get crazy drunk, just like I tell them to buckle up the seatbelt and look both ways before crossing the street. For safety reasons, no matter if my child is a girl or a boy.

 

But if he or she is thrown from a car or hit by a car because a driver deliberately and maliciously aims his car for my child, I don't blame my child's actions. I blame the evil person who would hurt another human being.

 

The two are separate issues and should be separate discussions.

Two seperate issues but why do they have to be seperate discussions. I think these stories are excellent cautionary tales.

 

I have my own story of almost being raped. I know how it feels. I was in my own home in my own bed and was asleep.....I had had some wine but was far from drunk. My Xh though STILL blames me. So I know how that feels. Still and yet we need to teach girls and boys to protect themselves from predators. That is not victim blaming

Edited by Scarlett
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It's of course disgusting, but to be fair, it's not the only time that crimes committed while drunk are treated differently than when sober. I guess the idea being the person's judgement was impaired and it was not premeditated. To which I say bull crap because you had control over getting pi$$ drunk (unless someone tainted your beverage or something).

Drink drive and kill someone and you won't find this holds true.

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It is interesting that in a similar discussion about sex assault and victim bashing-and there was a lot of victim bashing - I asked how the bashers felt about a reverse situation in which a young man gets drunk and is raped by another man. The horror! How awful, how unconscionable, how tragic! No victim blaming just heinous anger at the villain. The women in the group minus myself and my sister had been victim bashers and fairly unsympathetic when the victim was female. When the victim was male, everything changed.

 

I would say that part and parcel of females not supporting females is deeply rooted in learned misogyny. I know my own religious roots in this regard are not pretty!

 

Sometimes I think about that song, "Baby it's cold outside". It really has a very rapey, very "no means yes" message, yet is widely acceptable. Aain, she is the gate keeper, and he is supposed to break down the gate...a legitimate pursuit apparently.

 

Ugh..

 

Off topic, just thinking aloud about rape culture in America.

Edited by FaithManor
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Now, see, guys, that's how you make a convincing argument. Shouting "victim blamer" at me is not going to change my mind.  :smash:

 

I guess I would just say that at least I can still control my own driving, if I'm not drunk, and might have a better chance of avoiding said deranged semi driver. You're right that I wouldn't bear responsibility for getting mowed into, regardless, but I would have a greater chance of it not happening if I was not also impaired. Right? Or is that just obvious and not necessary (and/or too offensive) to say?

 

The way I would put this is to say we are all responsible for our own actions.  Someone who does something criminal is responsible for doing something criminal. 

 

Someone who does something foolish, or doesn't take care of his own safety or well-being, is responsible for that, whether or not it has bad effects.  That isn't always a totally clear thing - individuals make decisions about risk that are perfectly reasonable even when they are risky - maybe they choose to participate in a dangerous sport.  If they get hurt, we can simultaneously feel badly for them, think it was their risk to take, and say that they willingly embraced the risk. 

 

On the other hand sometimes we might think the risk was really over the top, or that it showed lack of foresight rather than a judgement, or that there was some kind of more serious issue, like a self-destructive tendency.

 

But the two sets of responsibility are IMO pretty  independent - the one neither increases nor decreases the responsibility of the other. 

 

As far as the drunk thing - I can't see this as an instance where "they were both drunk" is actually relevant.  She was probably foolish to be that drunk at that kind of event - that is a very high risk activity - but I suppose it is possible she realized it and decided it was worth it for her.  As for him, well, drunkenness in general does sometimes effect how we decide culpability for crimes.  I don't know that however we see that (as good or bad), rape would be different than other crimes.  Intent is a factor in guilt, and so impaired perception can play into that.

 

I think the kind of instances where drunkenness on both sides becomes more of an issue have to do with things like reliability of witnesses, or situations when there are questions about whether consent given was valid, where there was already an ongoing understanding between people and there seems to have been a failure of communication, and so on.  Someone who is passed out is pretty clearly to drunk to agree to anything, but that isn't the case with all drunk people.

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