Just when you thought it was safe to continue to blame crazy on Arizona state legislators whenever we make the Daily Show or national news, along comes an opinion piece in the Arizona Daily Wildcat and the national venue is feminist blog Jezebel.
In the opinion section of the student-run newspaper comes a piece by a male student on how women are responsible for their own rapes and some sage advice on exactly how they can do that, after all if the guy was drunk too, well ... (shoulder shrug).
To be fair, the piece is part of a package:
EDITOR’S NOTE: This column was presented in the Sept. 2, 2014 print edition of The Daily Wildcat as part of a “head-to-head” feature on the Opinion page. These were companion columns addressing an important campus issue and not intended to be read separately. To read the companion piece click here.
The other editorial by neuroscience and cognitive science sophomore Elizabeth Hannah supports what most folks consider to be the norm in rape and perpetrators. Alcohol, this obvious science-savvy student writes, doesn't absolve anyone of their actions—perpetrator or victim:
Let’s get one thing straight: Alcohol does not absolve a person of responsibility for their actions. A drunk driver bears full responsibility if they injure another person. Being convicted of committing murder while intoxicated still leads to life in prison.
With these precedents firmly set, it seems obvious that perpetrators of sexual assault should be held to the same standards. If a drunken man rapes his girlfriend, he must be punished accordingly. Why, then, does society excuse the behavior of young men who commit acts of sexual violence while under the influence of alcohol?
The other editorial by general studies senior Rob Monteleone, well, takes a different approach:
Only 6.6 percent of women who smoke will develop lung cancer. A woman who smokes is more than three times as likely to be sexually assaulted than she is to develop lung cancer. We turn our noses up at smokers and just made our campus tobacco-free. Yet, nothing is done about sexual assault, short of blaming the "attacker," a guy who was likely as drunk as his "victim." We do everything we can to mitigate the small risk of lung cancer, but nothing at all to mitigate the much greater risk of sexual assault.
We all make mistakes, and we all want to be understood, consoled and forgiven, but there's a double standard here, and it needs to be addressed.
If drunk women who have sex are able to claim "rape," why aren't drunk men alleviated of responsibility for the poor decisions they make?
And someone was paying attention—Jezebel, who rightfully and gleefully raked Monteleone over some nice hot feminist fire:
Women, rejoice! We've finally solved rape, thanks to the brilliant and groundbreaking words of Rob, a University of Arizona senior who has written an op-ed in his school newspaper entitled "Only Responsibility Can Stop Rape." In it, he urges women to consider preventing their own rapes by simply taking responsibility. (sound of a million Beyoncés singing "THANK YOU ROB FROM ARIZONA!" in perfect harmony. All the ladies line up to french Rob in gratitude.)
Yes, always nice to have both sides in a series of opinion pieces, but when it comes to rape, how exactly does Monteleone's handy list contribute to preventing rape? They read like a courthouse playbook victims have had to encounter when they have the guts to take their perpetrators to court, once again proving why it's so fucking hard for many women to come forward to begin with.
I mean, why bother, when our institution of higher learning produces students who really feel it's all so simple if women listened to what he had to say:
don't go to a guy's room at 2AM
go out in groups and don't get lost
tell your girl friends if you plan on hooking up before you leave to go out.
I guess if your girl friends see you making out with a guy when you didn't get your hookup pre-approved, they're supposed to karate chop him or something? Rapists love being cock blocked. I'm sure this couldn't end terribly.
Rob Monteleone, this isn't a piece that needed to be written, but even more so, the Opinion editor at the Wildcat should learn something from all this about discretion in what should be run in the first place.