January 31, 2012 Leave a comment
Slate & WashingtonPost.com Weekly’s Emily Yoffe is on hand to slut shame you about your date rape:
Q. Friend Has Revised One-Night Stand Story:A friend recently called me and said she had a one-night stand after drinking too much. She was beating herself up over drinking too much and going home with a guy she met at a bar. I reassured her that everyone makes mistakes and didn’t think much more of the account. However, since then, she has told many people that she was a victim of date-rape—that the guy must have put something into her drink . She spoke to a rape crisis line, and they said even if she was drunk, she couldn’t have given consent so she was a victim of rape. She now wants to press charges—she has the guy’s business card. I have seen her very intoxicated on previous occasions, to the point she doesn’t remember anything the next day. I’m not sure on what my response should be at this point. Pretend she never told me the original story?
A. Dear Prudie: Trying to ruin someone else’s life is a poor way to address one’s alcohol and self-control problems. Since her first version of the story is that she was ashamed of her behavior, and since you have seen her knee-walking drunk on other occasions, it sounds as if she wants to punish the guy at the bar for her own poor choices. Yes, I agree that men should not have sex with drunk women they don’t know. But I think cases like the one you are describing here—in the absence of any evidence she was drugged—where someone voluntarily goes home with a stranger in order to have a sexual encounter, makes it that much harder for women who are assaulted to bring charges. Talk to your friend. Tell her that she needs to think very long and hard about filing a criminal complaint against this guy if there’s any way her behavior could be construed to be consensual. Say you understand her shame, but you’re concerned about her drinking, and if she addresses that, she won’t find herself in such painful situations.
If you ever needed a classic example of ways rape culture is insidious, here you go. This has stopped being about the victim, who was date raped (and is dealing with the shame socialized in that situation) and become about how her actions in trying to get justice, trying to deal, confiding in her friend, become about the rapist. Suddenly, it’s the rapist’s reputation you have to think about, it’s their life that matters, their peace of mind. Add to that, the victim’s behavior is somehow a justifiable part of her possibly have being raped? As if her drinking is an automatic signal putting out “YES PLEASE RAPE ME!”.
Here’s the bottom line. No matter the situation, there is no justification or excuse for rape. A rape is a rape. There is no better or worse rape. There is rape. And it must be stopped or prosecuted when it happens. More than that, how about we teach DON’T RAPE instead of what this kind of advice puts out.
Slut shaming, victim blaming.
I see what you did there Prudie.