In one awful high-profile case after another—the U.S. Naval Academy; Steubenville, Ohio; now the allegations in Maryville, Mo.—we read about a young woman, sometimes only a girl, who goes to a party and ends up being raped. As soon as the school year begins, so do reports of female students sexually assaulted by their male classmates. A common denominator in these cases is alcohol, often copious amounts, enough to render the young woman incapacitated. But a misplaced fear of blaming the victim has made it somehow unacceptable to warn inexperienced young women that when they get wasted, they are putting themselves in potential peril.
That sounds like common sense advice, but liberals are having none of it: to even discuss the subject is to demean women. The Daily Mail rounds up the reaction:
Newsweek’s Katie Baker, who labeled Ms Yoffe’s argument as ‘offensive and damaging to victims,‘ also emphasized that ‘our culture is swimming with examples of women — in movies, television and real life — who are “punished” for their “bad choices” with sexual violence.
Ms Yoffee cites how researchers Abbey and David Lisak have explored how these men use alcohol, instead of violence, to commit their crimes — offenders who can be ‘campus leaders, charming and well liked — something that comes in handy if they are accused of anything.’
‘But this argument ultimately tells victims it is their responsibility not to get raped.”
Jennifer Marsh, vice president of victim services at the Rape, Abuse, and Incest National Network, America’s largest anti-sexual violence organization, said it is ‘ineffective and harmful’ to offer advice that suggests there are specific steps one can take to avoid being sexually assaulted. [How so? She doesn’t explain – in the PC Dollar Bill world, simply to make the accusation is to prove it – Ed]
“Ms Yoffe’s column ‘sends the message [p.c.speak for “she doesn’t actually say that, but the penumbras do” – ED] that if you don’t drink, you won’t be raped, which is obviously not the case,'” Ms Marsh told Newsweek. ‘Unfortunately, there’s no surefire way to prevent sexual assault. [Rape] can take place anywhere, at any time. It’s not just in a fraternity bedroom after a party.’ And it can happen to women who are sober, too.
And so on. If you read Yoffe’s column, she is not conducting one of those ridiculous “don’t help a good boy go bad” ad campaigns of the 70s, which suggested that leaving your car keys in the ignition could tempt an otherwise decent young man to commit grand theft auto; good boys don’t steal cars or rape women, and Yoffee has plenty to say about the heinous nature of rapists. What she is saying is, there’s an epidemic of binge drinking among college girls and terrible things are happening to them when they’re drunk, so colleges should warn their students of the danger, a warning that, Yoffee says, is not being given now out of a fear of raising a sensitive subject. The PC brigade immediately proves her point by savaging her.
Of course a woman has the right to go to a party, drink herself senseless and wake up the next morning still virgo intacta. She also has the right to wander down a dark alley after midnight without giving up her right to life and property. But neither is necessarily wise, and Yoffee says we should caution against it.
This is very much like the incident when Larry Sommers, then president of Harvard, raised the point at a faculty meeting that girls weren’t majoring in math at the same rate boys were, and they weren’t doing as well when they did. Sommers suggested that the school look at the problem (which was entirely backed up by irrefutable statistics) and address it: how could the school encourage more females to take math courses, and how could the school help them to succeed in that subject? He was driven from the school for daring to raise the subject.
Political Correctness, by design, stifles thought. Those who suffer from it are afraid to face uncomfortable truths, so they mark entire areas as beyond the pale and will not venture there nor permit more intrepid people to explore it. This does keep them comfortable, I suppose – “fat and stupid” is another way of putting that – but it does nothing to address important issues.