If you drink, you deserve to be raped

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?

24 responses to “If you drink, you deserve to be raped

  1. It’s so fucking tiring, isn’t it? I’m glad there’s other people out there doing the lifting on media crap like this…some days I just don’t have the energy.

    • The whole point of this blog is that journalists all write the same way and they don’t even think about what their words mean. The MSM has a lot of power over the way we think about issues, and since they keep saying women are to blame for rape, then that’s the message we all take away.

  2. Pardon me if I have posted these links before but it is entirely appropriate in relation to the issues being discussed. Rape Crisis Scotland have a campaign entitled “This is not an invitation to rape me” (website here http://www.thisisnotaninvitationtorapeme.co.uk/).

    The Points of View sections are a bit sound-bitey
    e.g. Girl’s POV “We like to drink and have a good time, a hangover is the worst we expect to happen.”
    Opposite POV “If she gets so drunk she doesn’t know what she’s doing and ends up in bed with some guy, that’s got to be partially her fault.”

    But there was an extremely effective TV ad campaign ‘Not Ever’ that runs with the website – http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WGnGPAZcsqE. May be time to run something similar in Australia.

    • Post away! The Not Ever ad is great because it doesn’t pretend that only sleazy men in dark alleys rape women. It shows how the language used by normal, nice-looking blokes is the language of rape.

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  4. Even though these articles are so common – I still feel a crushing sadness whenever I read them. It’s not fair to do this. It’s not right. Women are not to blame for rape ever. This just needs to stop. Sigh.
    When rape survivors read shit like this they think ‘was I to blame? Was it because I’d been drinking? Did I deserve it?’ – Is that really what we want to put on rape survivors?

  5. It is exhausting that we have to go through this on a seemingly weekly basis. Dudes, the only person to blame when someone gets raped is the rapist. Drinking alcohol sadly seems to be the short skirt of the 00-10s.

    • Melissa, you took the typed words rightout of my keyboard. I always like to draw an analogy with that awful gun supporters bi line – If guns dont kill people , people kill people then alcohol doesn’t rape women, men rape women.

      Sadly it hasnt taken off!

  6. way back when I was 18 I got so pissed I wound up hurling in a gutter on a friday night. I was mugged by two blokes which is entirely their fault. They made the decision to rob me and I did not. However I accept that it wouldn’t have happened had I not been so hammered. I think that is what the study is driving at, being plastered places you at higher risk of being raped, mugged, bashed etc BECAUSE predators are more likely to prey on them. This shouldn’t be a message that women shouldn’t drink, rather that scumbags will target intoxicated persons.

    • Ah, but society doesn’t tell you it was your fault you were mugged. We spend all our energy telling women not to do things in case they get raped, when we should be focussing our energy on telling people over and over again not to rape.

      • Agreed but you surely have to concede that there will always be those who will and it is against those lowlifes that people must protect themselves. Now not getting pissed from time to time would be un-Australian, so I would suggest that you skip the yoga and the pilates and head to a real muay thai gym. My wife has trained for years and when some wierdo followed her through Hyde Park one night and put his hand on her shoulder, she was able to render him prostrate with a solid thigh kick. Self defence AND a kick arse workout.

        • Hey, with yoga I’d be able to bend myself out of harm’s way. At least, I would be able to if I was any good at it and I went regularly. The main attraction of yoga is that I live near a place that offers $5 classes during the day, so it appeals to my laziness (ie, I don’t have to walk far) and my lack of money.

        • Late reply but a woman who has had her drink spiked won’t be capable of much martial arts. Doesn’t even have to be an alcoholic drink either. One of my best friends had a lemon lime bitters spiked at a restaurant.

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  9. Pingback: Rape Crisis Scotland's 'Not Ever' ad | FrontPageSearch

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