Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Drunk Rape Victims Deserve Less Sympathy

As a follow-up to last week’s article in the Daily Mail regarding British rape victims having their crime victim’s compensation cut if they had been drinking prior to the assault, the Mail Online has begun a “debate” on the topic, with this gem as inspiration:

Women who get drunk are more likely to be raped than women who do not get drunk.

No, this does not excuse rape. Men who take advantage of women by raping them, drunk or sober, should be severely punished for this wicked, treacherous action, however stupid the victim may have been.

But it does mean that a rape victim who was drunk deserves less sympathy.
Without citing any source for his assertion that women who drink are more likely to be raped, Hitchens continues:

Of course she is culpable, just as she would be culpable if she crashed a car and injured someone while drunk, or stepped out into the traffic while drunk and was run over.

Getting drunk is not something that happens to you. It is something you do.
We are certainly not this first blog to notice the story. Melissa at Shakesville writes:

At this point, as you can see, Hitchens has totally lost the plot. Indeed, "getting drunk" is not something that happens to you—but getting raped is. Comparing getting behind the wheel of a car and getting held down and forcibly penetrated without consent is patently ludicrous, not to mention about as divorced from the actual experience of being raped as I can imagine. Essentially, Hitchens' argument is that women should be responsible for their choices, without ever acknowledging that rape isn't a choice.

And the only way his tortured argument to hold women responsible for their rape if they've been drinking is by arguing that being intoxicated puts a woman at greater risk of being raped, which isn't even true. But what if it were? Women aged 18-22 in the US who attend university are more likely to be raped than women who don't. Would Hitchens argue that female university students are therefore "partially culpable" in their own rapes?
Hitchens seems to miss the point that intoxicated women don’t rape themselves. A woman could be passed out drunk for several Friday nights in a row and never be sexually assaulted. Another woman might never drink and may still get raped. The difference: the presence of a rapist! It’s time that we stop blaming victims of violence for what they have experienced and instead work to hold those who commit violence against women accountable.


1nesmrtcookee said...

I think that drinking impairs your judgment and reaction times. I don't think that any woman deserves to get raped, or asks to get raped. I do believe that as a woman, you are more likely to find yourself in a compromising situation when under the influence than you would if you were not under the influence.

I am a woman, and I don't think that there is anything wrong with saying that a woman needs to take responsibility for her behavior; in this case, that means drinking. No rape victim/survivor can take responsibility for getting raped, because it is not her fault, and it is not something that she caused.

I think that what happens in some of these cases is that an inebriated woman does not realize the danger that she is in until it's too late, and that is truly a shame.

My question is this: If both people are drunk, can it still be rape?

Women's Resource Center said...

Absolutely it can still be rape.

The question here is consent. If the victim is drunk to the point that she cannot give consent, or if she simply chooses to deny consent, any "sex" taking place is rape, regardless of the rapist's state of inebriation. It the rapist who makes the decision to rape and who should be held responsible.