I was 18, and went to hang out with the band after their show, this group of guys I was friends with. Brought along my bff and one of our guy friends who rode with us to the show. After party. We were all friends. They were house sitting at some mansion with top shelf liquor. People slowly left and in the end were just myself, my girlfriend, the guy friend who rode with us, and 3 guys from the band. I got DRUNK. I didn't drink much at this point, and especially not liquor, so I definitely drank too much. So did my girlfriend and our guy friend. I ended up crawling up the stairs to a more private bathroom and puking my brains out, then kind of passed out on the toilet. One of the band guys cleaned me up and tucked me into one of the guest beds. I thought that was so nice of him. I fell asleep. Next thing I know I wake up in the morning without bottoms on, and this guy is sleeping next to me. Apparently they sent my also too drunk friends home and promised to take care of me. My poor girlfriend still doesn't forgive herself for leaving me there, but we were amongst friends so who can blame her. She was too drunk to even get her key in the door, yet they waved her on home.
I flipped out. I mean, isn't that rape? I was puking my brains out and then passed out in a bed. That was an invitation? And yet somehow, they convinced me that it was all my fault. That because I had gotten too drunk, it wasn't actually rape. And I went with it. I really, for years, believed it was my fault. Even when I told my boyfriend about the incident, I said it with the qualifying statement "but I was wasted so it wasn't really rape." What? What kind of sense does that make? Because he didn't attack me in some alley and hold a gun to my head to force me to have sex with him that somehow that isn't rape?
It breaks my heart to see this attitude is still prevalent. Especially because come to find out, that same guy has pulled that same stunt with MULTIPLE girls. Just get them too drunk to push you off, too drunk to even open their eyes, and that qualifies as consent apparently. THAT is the attitude we need to change. THAT is why so many guys DO rape, and it is rape....they know there are no consequences if the girl is drunk, or drugged up, etc. That everyone will view HER as the bad one in the situation.
Yes, all of you are right and we as women do need to watch our contributing actions. But I was amongst "friends" in a place I felt safe. I was also 18, and didn't have much awareness about alcohol yet. Hadn't tested my limits, didn't really think about the fact that drinking whiskey is completely different than drinking a beer or two. So yea, I got drunk, but that doesn't make what he did right, or make it my fault.
The C of C has an obligation to make these facts and statistics available, as taking steps to prevent a crime, is not the same as holding someone accountable for a criminal act after a rape occurs. All colleges have an obligation to inform their students of any risk. USC recently sent out a similar warning that Five Points in Columbia was not safe after dark. That is bad PR for both the city and university, but, once again, colleges have to make students aware of the risk, so they might plan ahead for a weekend party, instead of waiting until they are too drunk to make decisions. When I went to the C of C I saw a female classmate stumbling around, drunk, crying at Marion Square, well after midnight, and I made her get on my handlebars and took her back to her dorm. My female friends also told me that a lot of her friends were raped and they didn't report it. So the college has to admit the campus has a problem. I would also encourage more education for both male and female, and everyone should avoid being so drunk that they can't remember anything. When I was in college, we did shots of tequila before a college party, and I woke up in the bushes at the old bookstore with a very attractive female who I was friends with; we both had on all our clothes, and I tried to carry her in my arms in the morning, but dropped her a few times, and waved down a public security on a golf cart who took her back to her dorm. I was worried about trusting the public security guy to take her back safely as she was still passed out. But later she asked me what happened and I told her everything, even dropping her. Had we not run into a locked gate at Calhoun Street, we both could have gotten run over, and I can only imagine what we were thinking when we left the party together behind the Stern Center, and got to the gate that was locked and decided to just go to sleep there in the bushes. Good thing no one saw us, or a group of frat boys didn't take her off somewhere. To this day, I can't even smell tequila without making me sick and never did shots again as there is no point in getting that drunk.
I went to CofC. Half the guys you knew in college would rape someone?? Wow, I don't even know how to respond to that. Where'd you go to college, San Quentin?
If reminding young women of steps they can take to reduce the odds of becoming a victim prevents one rape, then it's worth offending the sensibilities of a million femnists.
I recently chatted with a female Charleston police officer, who told me it's the girl's own fault if she gets raped or sexually assaulted. And this is coming from a WOMAN. No wonder students don't think the cops around here do enough for them when they get attacked.
This thread is completely stuck in the "drunk girl wanders down alley at 2am, gets raped" model of sexual assault. But that's not the common occurrence. It is perfectly reasonable to tell women and men to not walk alone in areas of poor visibility at night, especially after drinking.
Sexual assault is normally in the form of a social encounter that starts normally enough until one person (male or female) puts on the brakes and the other (almost always male) plows through, either by ignoring, isolating, or intoxicating the victim past the ability to refuse.
Shannamm said ""The rapists" aren't some criminally-minded perverts intent on harm and preoccupied with stalking victims." Since you're saying, effectively, that all men are rapists in waiting, as a challenge to my assertion that it is a small subset of men that exploit others' lack of attention and/or insecurities to cover their crime, I'd like you to back that up. I'm honestly ready to hear the evidence.
"because I find it repulsive and impossible to believe."
What college did you go to? I don't find those statistics hard to believe at all. I knew a lot of guys in college that would fit into the 30%. Add a bit of hormone infused keggers to the mix, and I bet the 30% actually goes to 50%.
I recently read a study conducted by the CDC which revealed that 1 out of 10 teens (both boys and girls) admitted to using coercion/force for sex. We need to teach ALL of our children about rape. If consent is not FREELY given, it is rape.
As a white, straight male, I have recognized that I have a lot of societal privileges that women do not have. I have more privileges than minorities and gay people, too. Sometimes with privilege can come this sense of entitlement and the mindset that you can take whatever you want. That is why it is especially important to teach our male children that just because they may have privileges that others don't have, it does not make them better than anyone. It does not entitle you to do whatever you want, including raping someone. I don't think it's so much implying that our sons are rapist as it is to make sure both boys and girls understand rape and understand that you are never entitled to someone's body. We teach our children to respect someone's property, we need to do the same to someone else's body.
It's sad because at a young age, we feed our children this mindset that men are better, more powerful, and more deserving than women, sometimes without even realizing it ("don't be such a pussy", "you throw like a girl", "man up"). We need to teach our boys to respect girls so that men will respect women.
I realize that I'm probably preaching to the choir here, but this really infuriates me. It infuriates me that there are people who feel entitled to sexually assault someone. As a man, it infuriates me when the media keeps quasi-blaming the victims because of the outfit they were wearing. It is incredibly offensive to me that in this day in age, women are seen as temptresses to tempt men and these men just can't control themselves. This is offensive because it has nothing to do with the outfit, it has to do with certain men feeling like they have the right to assault someone. We need to stop saying "she shouldn't have been wearing that" or "she should have been with a group". I agree that we should focus on what the perp SHOULDNT have done.
If someone, regardless of gender, walks home drunk and alone through a dangerous part of town late at night, they've voluntarily made a series of poor choices that make them more susceptible to being a victim of crime. That's not "victim blaming", it's an indisputable fact.
Also, I'd like to see where this author got her facts for this statement:
"And here's another scary statistic: in a series of anonymous surveys conducted on college campuses nationwide, over the course of several decades, around 30 percent of men have said that if they knew they would get away with it, they would rape someone."
because I find it repulsive and impossible to believe.
Somehow, according to the author(and many posters) it's more insulting to remind our daughters to be aware of their surroundings, especially when drinking, than it is to suggest 30% of our sons are rapists who need to be reminded to "masturbate, sleep, and repeat steps in the morning".
Amazing how many times this issue can be discussed without any real progress toward making the streets safe to walk without regard to gender. Women are still essentially second class citizens in many regards. There seems to be a sort of resignation to the fact that these things happen, and despite the best thinking of some of the keenest intellects in the area, a simple, yet effective solution is no where to be found.
I don't think anyone means to imply that young women should be carefree and unconcerned about their own safety when walking at night, especially alone or after drinking. They should be vigilant and in a state of mental clarity when walking home.
However, there is a deeper message implicit in the way rapes are reported in the news and by authorities. There's an unspoken suggestion there that young women, when they choose to wear heels or go drinking or walk home alone, are somehow voluntarily crossing a line that puts them in the rape danger zone. Yes, they are still portrayed as victims, but as victims who somehow knowlingly made choices that made them more vulnerable.
That's the true crime of "victim-blaming"--not telling girls that they should be more careful, which is a reasonable request, but by implying that their carelessness is a choice which makes them more susceptible to rape. The mindset of the perpetrator and the circumstances are what create the scenario for sexual assault, not any behavior by the victim.
In an earlier post, someone mentioned the types of sentences that go along with sex offenders. I did want to point out, though, that those are only the convicted rapists. There are so many more rapists that don't get convicted due to "lack of evidence", the survivor being afraid to report, etc. I've always been a little torn about the sex offender registry because I have used it when looking for places to live, but I feel like it also gives us a false sense of security. Since only about 40% of sexual assaults are reported to police, it's very scary to know that there are so many non-convicted offenders around, unbeknownst to us. We really need to take sexual assault crimes more seriously, educating potential perpetrators, and holding perpetrators accountable.
"The rapists" aren't some criminally-minded perverts intent on harm and preoccupied with stalking victims. "They" aren't hiding in the bushes or behind an online alias. Most perpetrators are otherwise trustworthy friends and classmates around whom women feel comfortable socializing and drinking. These are the men of our society, our sons and brothers (who will become uncles and fathers), who, just like our daughters, are simply unclear about the protocol of the situation. Operating on assumption and misinformation, young people begin exploring each other sexually with no forethought, no clearly defined guidelines, and a lack of vocabulary (and lack of confidence) to articulate personal boundaries.
Unlike most learning experiences, intimate one-on-one encounters, by definition, cannot be taught by observation; most parents are uncomfortable talking about more than the basics; and the schools are busy teaching abstinence only. Virtually all of a young person's sexual education (starting much younger than anyone is comfortable with acknowledging) comes from movies and music videos, or from friends, whose firsthand exaggerations and secondhand sensationalism also have been primarily informed by the overwhelmingly misogynistic depictions of sexuality in popular entertainment. THIS where rape prevention efforts need to begin: comprehensive sex education with a continuous open and honest dialogue about the alarming social costs of our preferred entertainment.
There will always be men that rape just as there will always be those that murder, rob or assault. Blaming the victims of any of these crimes makes no sense and is certainly not right. Knowing this, common sense dictates that the best defense against any crime including rape is common sense itself. In a perfect world a person should have the right to walk where they want, at any time they want, in any condition they want, dressed however they want. Unfortunately, we do not live in that type of world and being cognitive of our surroundings and the people that surround us is the best defense. That is hard to do if someone is impaired or lacks common sense and while that gives no one the right to commit a crime against that person sadly it is going to happen.
The other problem not addressed here is official accountability. The College will officially declare no rape on campus because the girl was found laying on the sidewalk, which makes it a City problem. And she was drinking. The City will officially declare no rape because she is on the grassy area, which is not their jurisdiction. And she was drunk. Neither officially report the incident as a rape because they don't want it on their tally sheets. Nobody wants to send their daughter to a school with multiple rapes occurring on campus. No tourist wants to book a room in a downtown area with a rape problem. Add to that, a Police Chief who will always blame the victim because she was underage and drunk. Not his problem. All of this means that the rape victim can't get any of the victim services available to her, or him, because officially the rape never happened. Campus security and City Police won't even drop the victim off at the hospital because that would require a rape report. Fact is, victim services have suspected a serial rapist around the campus for years. The authorities say they have no rapes in their jurisdiction. Crime stats show rape is down or non-existent. The rapist waits to rape again. Everybody wins. Except that tramp underage drunk who cried rape so her parents wouldn't be mad. This happens regularly downtown, but there's no proof since there was no crime. It's most important to protect the brand. It's so wrong. Perhaps we need to take matters into our own hands. We won't have to worry about prosecution because no crime will be reported.
Rape, or first degree sexual battery in SC law, carries a maximum sentence of 25 years in prison and has for over a decade. Someone convicted can be retained in custody after their sentence runs out if a therapeutic evaluation indicates they continue to be a threat to the community, sometimes for the remainder of their lives. Following release, offenders are listed on the sexual offenders list, one of the most commonly used state government websites which gets hundreds of hits a day and the data of which is shared with and available through many other websites. Persons on this list are restricted as to where they can live. Many landlords refuse to rent to them. It can be virtually impossible for them to find employment of any kind. In Mount Pleasant, whenever a sexual crime is reported, the police tend to check every offender living within several miles, which means a marked police cars pulls up to their home and knocks on their door. As you can imagine, this attracts a lot of negative attention. There are many other consequences. Given these facts, it's difficult to see how more punishment of those convicted would really increase deterrence. A person convicted of this crime, even if their sentance is less than the maximum (and it often is the maximum) essentially loses everything for the rest of their life. Given the people doing this are willing to risk such drastic consequences, taking normal precautions seems perfectly reasonable. Downtown Charleston isn't safe enough for anyone to be walking around while being debilitated by alcohol, man or woman, despite the heavy police presence maintained around the college and tourism district.
The streets are watched by lots of cops and cameras. The Perps rot in a cell and then live in a state of social and economic ostracism. People will do bad things if they believe they can get away from them. One can only assume anyone committing rape in SC assumes they can get away with it and is planning accordingly, looking for a target of opportunity. People have to be careful.
THANK YOU. I work for a domestic violence program and we try to send this message out daily. Unfortunately, it will take generations before this is a message that is received, I think. IT is not about the woman walking alone... the truth is, the woman shouldn't have to worry about a rapist tracking her when she is walking alone. She should be able to come and go as she pleases. It is always about "how safe was she?" or "how much did she drink?" or the best one, "oooh, she was wearing THAT?" Yeah. It's time to stop stereotyping the action of the raped women and let's start looking at why rapists think it's okay to rape. The longer we blame the victim, the longer the perpetrator gets away with it. STOP MAKING EXCUSES. Amazing article, thanks for sharing.
Rockalde, you made many excellent points. I suppose what really bothers is that even if you were mugged, regardless on whether you took precautions or not, society wouldn't blame you. You would not be scolded for being out too late and alone, wearing too nice of clothing (to entice the mugger), etc. We can't keep scolding the sexual assault survivors because truly, the only ones at fault are the perpetrators.
I actually heard the above mugging analogy from the woman who wrote the article below. She makes some excellent points and I invite anyone who is interested to read it.
From what the author says, it does seem apparent that CofC did not address these recent assaults in the correct way. However, by screaming that we are perpetuating rape culture by telling women they should be more cautious, especially after a night of drinking, is not the right idea either. Yes, we should focus more on stopping these incidents from happening at all at the source, but we should also educate these women in how to handle themselves in late night situations where they are at greater risk. By trying to place more attention at stopping it at the source, we are assuming that rapists are rational thinkers. I would like to think that most people know this is not the case, especially when alcohol is in the mix.
Being a man and living downtown, I have found myself being afraid many times over possibly being mugged when I walk by myself late at night. However, if ever I think I might face this problem I use caution and will ask one of my friends to walk with me or, in extreme situations, call a cab. Yeah, it would be fantastic if the muggers had an epiphany and realized the harm and danger they are perpetrating and decided to stop. The only problem is they're not thinking rationally.
While we do need to keep fighting and preventing rape from ever happening, we also need to stay cautious. I'm sure all the readers on here use caution everyday, from walking across the street, not swimming during a riptide, making sure food is cooked, or even buying insurance because you might get hurt or a hurricane might destroy your house on IOP. Educating ourselves and using caution should not be under attack.
JAV, I understand that everyone is entitled to their own opinion and people need to do anything in their power to make them feel safe. However, as someone who volunteers in this field, the rates of rape are so high, even among those who felt like they were doing everything in their power to protect themselves. There are plenty of women who take all of the precautions to "avoid" being raped and still get raped, then end up blaming themselves. Helping to shift the focus onto educating potential perpetrators is really the only thing that is going to lessen the rates of rape. From what I've witnessed and from the information that I've gathered, victim blaming or these attempts to educate women to be "safe" isn't really curbing the frequency of sexual assault.
Melinda, I have never raped anyone. Does that protect ME (a woman) from rape? Of course not. You can say "Don't rape" until you're blue in the face, but those so inclined will continue to find victims. Women need to protect themselves from being victims of sexual assault, just like the elderly need to protect themselves from being victims of swindling. Most swindlers get away with it, and most people blame the victims for being naive. Let's not be naive.
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