Stop Telling Women Not to Drink; Tell Men Not to Rape

Emily Yoffe column slammed as victim blaming

By Kevin Spak,  Newser Staff

Posted Oct 17, 2013 10:10 AM CDT

(Newser) – Slate columnist Emily Yoffe is taking a lot of heat for yesterday's column imploring women not to get wasted, lest they "end up being raped," with other writers pointing out that it smacks of victim blaming. (You can read our summary of the original here.) Here's what people are saying:

  • "This is the very definition of rape culture. And it is so completely tired," writes Katie McDonough at Salon. "Let's start with this: Our culture is not, and never has been, 'reluctant' to tell women to stop doing things. In fact, people build entire careers around it."

  • "If alcohol plays a role in so many rapes, then ostensibly encouraging men to stop drinking excessively would prevent rapists," points out Erin Gloria Ryan at Jezebel. "If you locked me in a room with a handle of vodka ... at no point would a rapist materialize from the ether to sexually assault me. Drunk potential victims don't make rapists appear." Yet Yoffe's piece only focuses on the role of alcohol in creating victims.
  • Katarina Gligorijevic took this concept and ran with it, rewriting Yoffe's piece in a Rabble.ca post by changing the references to gender. Example: "We are failing to let men know that when they drink to excess, they can end up becoming these very perpetrators. … That's not villainizing men; that's trying to prevent them from becoming rapists."
  • "Rape is a societal problem, not a self-help issue," writes fellow Slate writer Amanda Hess. "Rape has been a popular tool for subjugating women long before they joined in the 'butt-chugging' craze." Yoffe tweeted that she wanted to warn women "that there are rapists who use alcohol, not violence." But that just reinforces "the idea that rape does not constitute a violent crime if alcohol is involved."
  • But Megan McArdle at Bloomberg comes to Yoffe's defense, writing that when people come to visit her, she warns them not to go down streets where people tend to get robbed. "That doesn't mean that I'm saying mugging is OK, much less that I'm somehow in league with mugging culture."

Protesters, who did not want to be identified, hold signs outside of the Jefferson County Justice Center and Jail in Steubenville, Ohio, on Wednesday, March 13, 2013.   (AP Photo/The Plain Dealer, Lisa DeJong)
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