Alcohol and Date Rape: A Loaded Topic

by Leah on October 24, 2013

date rape adAlcohol and Date Rape: The topic is so loaded, it’s hard to get people to talk about it without it devolving into the equivalent of sticking one’s hands in one’s ears and chanting “La la la la I can’t hear you!”

Better to admit that there are many ways of looking at the situation, as they have in today’s New York Times Room for Debate.

Following are some excerpts from “Young Women, Drinking and Rape”: (And please feel free to weigh in with your own opinions in the comments below):

Anne M. Coughlin, the Lewis F. Powell Jr. professor of Law at the University of Virginia: “Rather than seeking to achieve gender equality by advising women that they are entitled to drink as much as men, we might consider condemning this behavior in both genders.”

Mychal Denzel Smith, Knobler fellow at The Nation Institute: “If we stopped blaming binge drinking (or short skirts, or too-high heels, etc.) we could concentrate on having men not just understand that “no means no,” and that all forms of sexual contact require consent, but also learn to reject that force, domination and coercion are natural markers of masculinity and manhood. Until we reckon with those concepts, women will continue being expected to prevent their own rapes.”

Koren Zailckas,  author of “Smashed, Story of a Drunken Girlhood” : “It’s simply a fact. The vast majority of campus rapes happen when the rapist, the victim or both are drunk. 

And so alcohol education is essential for students of every gender.”

Alexandra Brodsky, editor at Feministing, a student at Yale Law School and a founding co-organizer of Know Your IX, a legal education campaign against campus sexual violence: “The most ladylike comportment, though, can’t immunize us against the real cause of violence: social dominance. Instead, it renders us too demure to fight for a better world.”

Louise M. Antony,  professor of philosophy at the University of Massachusetts, Amherst. She is the co-editor, with Charlotte Witt, of “A Mind of One’s Own: Feminist Essays on Reason and Objectivity”:  “But the special risk that drunkenness poses to women – that’s due to a social climate that tolerates sexual predation. When we tell young women to stay sober in order to avoid getting raped, we send the message that we do not intend to change that social climate, that we have chosen to regard misogyny as inevitable.”

Walter M. Kimbrough, president of Dillard University and the author of “Black Greek 101: The Culture, Customs and Challenges of Black Fraternities and Sororities”: “Much of the research on binge drinking indicates that African American students engage in this practice less than their white peers, and that acquaintance rape at college is less of a problem for black women.

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