You know, I have to write this post so often that I’m starting to think journos at the Sydney Morning Herald don’t Google themselves to find out what people say about them online. I’d just assumed by now that I was The Devil to them. (This is where I point to my About page, which states that the reason the SMH cops it from me is because I read it every day. I don’t read News Ltd newspapers.)
Today’s story from Mark Metherell: Binge culture puts young women at risk:
HEAVIER drinking is exposing young women to increased risk of sexual assault for which male perpetrators routinely escape blame, a government-sponsored study has found.
Wrong, wrong, wrong. Why not just write, “women are getting raped because they get drunk”, because that’s what that sentence says. Which we all know is bullshit: women are raped because a rapist decides to rape them. Why is that so hard to understand? And Australian women were getting raped long before the binge drinking culture developed, which indicates that the problem is not caused by women drinking alcohol and is caused by rapists deciding to rape.
So, the headline should be: Male rapists escape blame in binge culture.
And the first sentence should read (using Metherell’s own words): “Male perpetrators are routinely escaping blame for sexually assaulting intoxicated young women, a government-sponsored study has found.”
The problem with framing the story the way Metherell and the SMH have done is that it sends the dangerous message that women can avoid getting raped if they don’t drink alcohol. Again, bullshit. And it ignores the fact that 70 per cent of sexual assaults are committed by a family member, friend, or school/work colleague, and less than 1 per cent by a stranger (stats from the NSW Rape Crisis Centre). Which means that telling young women they shouldn’t get drunk because they might get raped on the way home is appalling.
It also blames the victim for the crime. Where else do we see news stories (and community attitudes) that say if you do something that’s perfectly legal, it’s your fault when someone else commits a crime? We don’t. Because it’s not your fault.
Every time women are told not to get drunk because they might get assaulted is a sentence that should have been used to say, “hey guys, if a woman is drunk, don’t rape her”. Women have been told for decades that they should do this and not do that so they can avoid getting raped, and it clearly hasn’t stopped women getting raped. When are we going to start telling men that they shouldn’t rape women?