Abstinence (from alcohol) Works: The Key to Preventing Rape?

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    Oct 26, 2013 6:56 AM GMT
    I just wanted to display an article I wrote, see what kind of traction it gets here: http://wp.me/p3ruRC-16

    "Here's a maybe counter-intuitive way of preventing rape on campuses: encourage a safe hook-up culture that doesn't include alcohol.

    Here's why: as Emily Yoffe of Slate wrote, the "common denominator" for such chilling stories as the Steubenville, Ohio rape case, among thousands of others and now more recently the Maryville, Missouri (which got the attention once more of Anonymous), has been binge consumption of alcohol. The simple fact being presented here is that binge drinking elevates the risk of women to be victims of sexual violence.

    On the face of it, it might come off as victim-blaming. That one sex gets to drink and act sexually violently while the other sex must lock themselves up in sobriety and fear only implies that men are as incorrigibly aggressive and unthinking as women are incorrigibly helpless receptacles of male desire.

    Sarah Boesveld at the National Post wrote that

    The “moral panic” around rape, [sociologist Tiffany Jenkins] said, is linked to a deep distrust in ourselves and others that has grown since the feminist movement of the 1970s, when the argument was made that the personal is political and the larger problems of social inequality were to be solved in the home.

    “I think increased women’s equality and independence has been a key factor in improving relations between men and women,” she said. “At the same time, we started to see human beings in an extremely negative light — a really misanthropic prism.”

    Boesveld's article feels a bit obfuscatory for my liking. While it calls for nuanced discussion on rape it also assigns blame to feminism without clarifying how broad feminism is as an explanatory tool, or delve much into how it got this perception. Effectively it blames feminism for making people feel bad and apparently conveying the binary of women=victims and men=brutes. For the National Post readership, this could be preaching to the choir.

    Boesveld does however reference Yoffe's article on binge drinking, and I agree with her that it isn't victim-blaming to bring up alcohol.

    Here's the bare truth of it: stupid things happen when you're drunk. Guys who grow up stupid about sex and sexuality, who grew up always divided in friends by male/female, who grew up in hyper-masculine cultures of football and locker-room bragging, of never being educated into emotional intelligence or respecting women, those guys are at an elevated risk of committing sexual violence when they are drunk. Any women physically smaller and less able to defend themselves are at an elevated risk, sober or drunk, of being raped. The thing is people drink together, so women are often in opportunistic situations for rape to happen, like a house party, or a bar with all the strangers and confusion.

    But I think if we are to assign blame to someone as soon as the alcohol touches their lips, whether it's guys fighting or a girl being raped (which in this case means she would be "getting" raped), then we may as well enact prohibition. Watch, for example, this Fox News guest's verbatim reasoning that "I'm not saying she deserved to be rape BUT"



    (The Young Turks commentary is also good and presents a few different insights, none of them victim-blaming.)

    So this is my solution to campus rape: If we were more open about our sex and sexuality, educated into it along with respect for women and for communicating clear boundaries, to the extent we could couple that with abstaining from alcohol, would we drive down numbers of campus rape? If we cultivated a healthy hook-up culture that didn't put pressure on getting drunk and getting laid invariably using parties and bars as pretense, would we see a difference?

    A fantastic article at Salon by Anna March puts this all in perspective, titled "My Bad Sex Wasn't Rape". It begins with her story of losing her virginity:

    Thirty-some summers ago, when I was 15, I lost my virginity to a boy who didn’t care a bit about my emotional well-being. He was very popular, on his way to college in the fall, and sleeping with any girl who would spread her legs to have sex with him that summer.

    Two weeks after we had sex for the first time, he and I and his best friend got drunk — me for the first time in my life — and I ended up having sex in a park with both of them. It was somewhat miserable for me to have sex consecutively with two young men, ages 17 and 19, and to hear the second one ask, in the midst of intercourse, “Are you using birth control?” and quickly add, “Oh, who cares — if you get pregnant, it’s your fault,” and to have my bra and panties left behind on the grass when they drove me home. I was shaken both by the degrading nature of the incident and by the fact that I had allowed it. But allow it, I did. Was I raped? No. Did I ever for one second think that maybe I had been raped? No.

    In it she brings up a good point about the murkiness of the issue by saying not giving consent is not the same as regretting consent given. Echoing Sarah Boesveld, March writes that claiming sexual power and sexual agency will do more to change the sexual landscape, by not regarding women having sex merely to please men.

    March continues,

    Our culture needs to make space for young girls, as well as young boys, to safely explore their maturing bodies and initial erotic longings. It’s critical to allow for sex roles that are broader than the ones that we have been clinging to for generations. Women and girls need to be able to make mistakes. Emerging sexuality needs to be approached honestly and openly, and not as a pathology.

    The role of education is huge here. Sex education is a cruel joke in the United States, teaching abstinence only and largely reinforcing the binaries that view men and women as irretrievably tragic actors in the same old play. Being honest about the complexities in human nature is a start. Being honest about sex as largely negotiated between people, with clear and unclear boundaries proportional to our confidence and knowledge of what pleases ourselves, is a great way to educate our young people. As Anna March says,

    We expect society to do what we are not doing on an individual level: establish clear boundaries and guidelines, show men what is right and wrong, etc. I don’t believe that any amount of cultural messaging is going to ultimately be effective in combating what we all know to be true: that people give conflicting messages, that much of sex is a negotiation, that not everything either side does is done with complete enthusiasm... For most of us, we don’t come into our own about articulating our specific wants and desires until late in life, if ever [50 Shades of Grey, helloo?] Let us encourage a culture where everyone – regardless of gender, orientation, etc. – does so openly, honestly, respectfully. Let us all learn to say, “I don’t know how I’m going to like that, but let’s try it out.”

    We can do better across the board, in respecting women, understanding ourselves and in relation to sexuality, but to prevent rape there is something important here: Sex is negotiated and those negotiations become tainted when you bring alcohol into it.

    I don't think any community today knows more that sex is negotiated than the gay community. Promiscuity was necessary decades ago because many of the men were married and openly gay relationships were still taboo and marginal. Today there is the advent of hook-up technologies like Grindr and Manhunt, where sex is obscenely easy to come by, and done so using "stats", like "hey, I'm 22, 6'0", 175, fit, top, 7" cut, wanna meet for some NSA fun?" and the other guy says yes or no. Really that easy, it's o
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    Oct 26, 2013 9:24 AM GMT
    Your post is too long for people to read and won't generate discussion unless you reduce it, so I'm taking the most relevant part of it and addressing it:

    makavelli saidSo this is my solution to campus rape: If we were more open about our sex and sexuality, educated into it along with respect for women and for communicating clear boundaries, to the extent we could couple that with abstaining from alcohol, would we drive down numbers of campus rape?


    Let's separate this from heterosexual versus homosexual rape. With respect to homosexual rape, yes, I could see it making a difference, but incidences of homosexual rape are not even close to being in the same stratosphere as incidences of heterosexual rape.

    For women getting raped by men, no, this would not at all fix anything. Women started get lectured early in life about things they supposedly have to do to avoid getting raped. It is inundated in them by their parents, peers and media that they somehow have to take the action to avoid getting raped. There are plenty of women who avoid getting drunk, walking alone at night, etc, but it is to no avail because research demonstrates over and over again that a majority of rapes DO NOT happen at the hand of a stranger, but by someone the victim knows well. Too many men do not respect women and do not get lectured the same way women do at a younger age. Women have done all that they can do; they are not the problem. Men are still raping. A female friend of mine said it best in her response to this article several weeks ago:

    "The problem here is not so much what Yoffe is saying. It's that she says it within the context of a culture that overwhelmingly blames women for their own assaults and holds them responsible for their prevention. That's why people are having strong negative reactions before even reading the article. Comparisons to muggings and murders aren't really useful because we don't tend to malign the characters of mugging victims and defend and glorify their attackers.

    I wish it weren't so hard to promote the concept that it's men's responsibility to not rape, while acknowledging that there are statistically valid actions women can take to protect themselves from risk.

    OTOH, while I fully get that there is a strong statistical link between binge drinking and rape, you have to understand that women have been given advice since the beginning of time on how to prevent rape. Don't wear that. Don't go here alone. Don't wear your hair in a ponytail or park in a dark place or smile at that man. And guess what, men still rape."

    Men are still the problem. The solution to campus rape is for men to stop being rapey. That begins with their parents, who need to teach them from a young age to respect women and not just treat them like a conquest. Yoffe is well-intentioned but the reality is that she is not offering anything new to women. As a female friend of mine puts it: "Women aren't tired of hearing these suggestions because the suggestions have no merit; we're tired of hearing them because we start hearing them when we're five years old, and we never stop hearing them."

    I'll add that alcohol merely lowers one's inhibitions. If men are rapey when they are drunk, it only means that they are withholding from doing the same things when sober, which means that they are still assholes and still need to change. The key to rape is clear: parents have to step up their game with their sons and start having some difficult conversations.
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    Oct 26, 2013 12:22 PM GMT
    the real solution to campus rape is to let the real local POLICE get inolved IMMEDIATELY (eg the school MUST alert the local police of any sexual crime) instead of letting these bullshit university/college deans or departments deal with the issue
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    Oct 26, 2013 1:39 PM GMT
    makavelli saidI don't think any community today knows more that sex is negotiated than the gay community. Promiscuity was necessary decades ago because many of the men were married and openly gay relationships were still taboo and marginal. Today there is the advent of hook-up technologies like Grindr and Manhunt, where sex is obscenely easy to come by, and done so using "stats", like "hey, I'm 22, 6'0", 175, fit, top, 7" cut, wanna meet for some NSA fun?" and the other guy says yes or no. Really that easy, it's o


    Research paper? Okay, well, I skimmed that and my eyes got stuck on the last graph as I was seeking out the abstract with your conclusion.

    Do you think maybe it's a little ageist to label the generation before you as being promiscuous (whether true or not the word does have negative connotations) while the current generation (and now mine) utilizing hook up technology is no longer being promiscuous but easy? That's only a little bit fucking insane. /rant

    As to rape with regard to drinking, you need to be practical in your thinking. Prohibition is not coming back any time soon.

    I think partly to blame (or simply to understand) is the current level of consciousness. Four women in my life have been raped. None of them talk about it. They've shined no light to help dissipate the darkness.

    Even my mom, who was a very aware person, particularly relative to her generation, after the ol'man died, was drugged and possibly date raped. She didn't tell me until two years later, probably knowing I might have done some damage to the guy had I known at the time. Also, I found out through others--not even through herself--that I've a cousin who was raped, her partner also was raped, and among the worst of those, as if one could be worse than another, or anything worse than someone damaging my mom, a childhood friend of mine was raped by another childhood friend of mine; I'm the only person in the world--not even her husband--who she's ever told, swearing me to silence (I guess the internet counts as silence) and I've had to be in the same place at the same time with both the rapist and his victim. That kills me not to say anything. The rape and I believe her silence about it has damaged her probably beyond repair.

    You can't keep that shit inside.

    Growing up, she was one of the smartest among us, yet so damaged now that she's lucky just to make her way through the world. Her life is struggle. While he breezes through, successful as shit. Pisses me off to no end. But I can't say anything, her shame silences me and I have to honor her request because she can only handle what she can handle.

    Personally I want to scream it from the internet. I want every one of our friends to know what one of us did to another of us. This wasn't childhood play, not exploration; but as young adults, it was rape. Thirty years later, my raped friend is still a mess.
  • roadbikeRob

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    Oct 26, 2013 2:33 PM GMT
    somersault saidthe real solution to campus rape is to let the real local POLICE get inolved IMMEDIATELY (eg the school MUST alert the local police of any sexual crime) instead of letting these bullshit university/college deans or departments deal with the issue
    You forgot about these wannabe facist cops known as the campus police. They are the biggest waste and biggest joke. I agree with you 100% about the local police getting involved in campus crime problems. I also think that the county sheriff and state troopers should have full jurisdiction on all college and university campuses. But that is if colleges and universities would stop being so insular from the surrounding environment and grant full access and jurisdiction to the local police, county sheriff, and state troopers. Than you would have professional police protection on campus.
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    Oct 26, 2013 3:10 PM GMT
    ^^

    exactly
  • HottJoe

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    Oct 26, 2013 3:34 PM GMT
    Rubbish
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    Oct 26, 2013 3:55 PM GMT
    roadbikeRob said
    somersault saidthe real solution to campus rape is to let the real local POLICE get inolved IMMEDIATELY (eg the school MUST alert the local police of any sexual crime) instead of letting these bullshit university/college deans or departments deal with the issue
    You forgot about these wannabe facist cops known as the campus police. They are the biggest waste and biggest joke. I agree with you 100% about the local police getting involved in campus crime problems. I also think that the county sheriff and state troopers should have full jurisdiction on all college and university campuses. But that is if colleges and universities would stop being so insular from the surrounding environment and grant full access and jurisdiction to the local police, county sheriff, and state troopers. Than you would have professional police protection on campus.

    So you want to give MORE ammunition for false rape accusers?

    Seriously. If you're going to advocate turning a college campus into a quasi-police state, you'll see false rape accusations skyrocket. Girls who have drunken sex and then regret it the next morning can just go to the "police station" on campus and cry "RAPE!"
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    Oct 26, 2013 4:51 PM GMT
    ^^

    yes, let them settle it in court where it belongs (like every other rape case) instead of some insular, ivory tower Dean who wants to keep the campus crime stats down to protect their reputation.

    just look at the rape fiasco in the military.
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    Oct 26, 2013 5:01 PM GMT
    I don't drink at all, so I always am aware of what is going on around me. Even those who drink shouldn't get so drunk that they can't be aware of what is happening to them, there are shady characters out there who will take advantage of that.
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    Oct 26, 2013 5:11 PM GMT
    Mr_Kyle_Barker saidI don't drink at all, so I always am aware of what is going on around me. Even those who drink shouldn't get so drunk that they can't be aware of what is happening to them, there are shady characters out there who will take advantage of that.

    Exactly. This doesn't just apply to rape, but ANY OTHER violent crime!!
  • secondstartot...

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    Oct 26, 2013 5:16 PM GMT
    until we realize that the problem is not about - stopping or preventing getting raped - but rather stopping and reprogramming a rape society and stopping people doing the raping ....there will never be an end

    correlation does not equal causation ...the presence of alcohol has nothing to do with it - if it did rape in Muslim countries would be unheard of ...it is not unheard of quite the contrary

    when videos like this have to be made



    .....
    when did we completely lose respect for each other....am I just naive has it always been like this ?
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    Oct 26, 2013 6:05 PM GMT
    For argument sake, if you wanted to really reduce rape, you'd have to get rid of MEN. Drugs and alcohol are tools used by these guys to help them rape, but men are the cause of rape in 99% of these scenarios, gay or straight.

    Though well intentioned, it feels like we're somewhat blaming the victims for not being able to defend themselves more. The true fact is that in a civilized, modern society, you should be able to go out with group of friends and hangout with other people without fear of some random guy (or guys) taking off your clothes and forcibly putting his penis inside of you if you become incapacitated. Wishful thinking, I know.
  • HottJoe

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    Oct 26, 2013 6:06 PM GMT
    I feel like this mentality is just grooming people to miss the signs of an actual predator.
  • roadbikeRob

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    Oct 26, 2013 6:42 PM GMT
    Some of these female college students don't help their cause because of the way they dress. In a way, they ask for it. The ridiculous, skimpy clothes some of these young women wear helps attract unneeded attention. You cannot blame alcohol for everything going wrong on campus. These gals need to stop dressing like they are going to work a downtown street corner.
  • roadbikeRob

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    Oct 26, 2013 6:45 PM GMT
    Aristoshark said
    roadbikeRob saidSome of these female college students don't help their cause because of the way they dress. In a way, they ask for it. The ridiculous, skimpy clothes some of these young women wear helps attract unneeded attention. You cannot blame alcohol for everything going wrong on campus. These gals need to stop dressing like they are going to work a downtown street corner.

    I never thought you could actually get more offensive than you already are. Congratulations!
    Get back into your psychiatric ward, you bloody lunatic.icon_mad.gif
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    Oct 26, 2013 6:55 PM GMT
    Rape under ANY circumstance is wrong. And ethical men do not rape.

    But a woman is not to be blamed for rape but she does need to be aware that we don't live in a perfect world where men are knights in shining armour. Men are fucking horny many times and they can behave in the most despicable ways. So women need to be aware that if they allow themselves to get drunk or go up to a guys room in a fraternity party they ARE RUNNING A RISK and are behaving stupidly .

    The guy still must be punished . And alcohol is a massive motivator as it lets down inhibitions . So it does play a role but it can't be blamed.

    You need to address the "women as property" and male chauvinism as a start.
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    Oct 26, 2013 6:56 PM GMT
    And I don't believe ANY woman is actually asking for rape. That's ridiculous.
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    Oct 26, 2013 7:03 PM GMT
    roadbikeRob saidSome of these female college students don't help their cause because of the way they dress. In a way, they ask for it. The ridiculous, skimpy clothes some of these young women wear helps attract unneeded attention. You cannot blame alcohol for everything going wrong on campus. These gals need to stop dressing like they are going to work a downtown street corner.


    Just when One thinks it is IMPOSSIBLE for you to get anymore backwards and asinine -- you go ahead and shove your head even FARTHER up your ass.

    Just sit quietly and eat another can of cake frosting.
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    Oct 26, 2013 7:08 PM GMT
    blactor saidAnd I don't believe ANY woman is actually asking for rape. That's ridiculous.


    Rape is an act of violence and control.

    The sexual aspect is actually quite minor.

    If it were purely sexual than every Guy with a fetish for dumpy lumps in second-hand workout gear riding discount bikes thru Buffalo after dark would be ALL OVER roadbike rob.

    And it is a safe bet no one has touched THAT in YEARS...
  • roadbikeRob

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    Oct 26, 2013 7:10 PM GMT
    Cash said
    roadbikeRob saidSome of these female college students don't help their cause because of the way they dress. In a way, they ask for it. The ridiculous, skimpy clothes some of these young women wear helps attract unneeded attention. You cannot blame alcohol for everything going wrong on campus. These gals need to stop dressing like they are going to work a downtown street corner.


    Just when One thinks it is IMPOSSIBLE for you to get anymore backwards and asinine -- you go ahead and shove your head even FARTHER up your ass.

    Just sit quietly and eat another can of cake frosting.
    If you cannot contribute something of value, than keep your mouth shut.
  • roadbikeRob

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    Oct 26, 2013 7:20 PM GMT
    blactor saidAnd I don't believe ANY woman is actually asking for rape. That's ridiculous.
    They are asking for trouble when they dress like a prostitute. Some of these young women have no respect for themselves. I am not condoning rape or any other act of violence but at the same token, these women put themselves in a dangerous position by dressing in these ridiculous, skimpy outfits. That just invites more serious trouble for them. Going to a rowdy fraternity party loaded with drunken, wild men dressed like a whore well they know what they are getting into so they have to bear some of the responsibility for the outcome. This is one time where the victim has to accept responsibility for their choices even if it results in an act of violence against them.
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    Oct 26, 2013 7:25 PM GMT
    roadbikeRob said
    blactor saidAnd I don't believe ANY woman is actually asking for rape. That's ridiculous.
    They are asking for trouble when they dress like a prostitute. Some of these young women have no respect for themselves. I am not condoning rape or any other act of violence but at the same token, these women put themselves in a dangerous position by dressing in these ridiculous, skimpy outfits. That just invites more serious trouble for them. Going to a rowdy fraternity party loaded with drunken, wild men dressed like a whore well they know what they are getting into so they have to bear some of the responsibility for the outcome. This is one time where the victim has to accept responsibility for their choices even if it results in an act of violence against them.


    In Afghanistan the Taliban banned the wearing of bracelets by women under their burkas because they felt the clicking noise they made may incite men into a sexual frenzy.

    Where EXACTLY is the line drawn rob?

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    Oct 26, 2013 7:30 PM GMT
    roadbikeRob said
    Cash said
    roadbikeRob saidSome of these female college students don't help their cause because of the way they dress. In a way, they ask for it. The ridiculous, skimpy clothes some of these young women wear helps attract unneeded attention. You cannot blame alcohol for everything going wrong on campus. These gals need to stop dressing like they are going to work a downtown street corner.


    Just when One thinks it is IMPOSSIBLE for you to get anymore backwards and asinine -- you go ahead and shove your head even FARTHER up your ass.

    Just sit quietly and eat another can of cake frosting.
    If you cannot contribute something of value, than keep your mouth shut.


    Stop talking to yourself.

    Men may think you crazy and just asking for it...

    Well maybe not sighted Men with a sense of smell...

    But a headless zombie may think you are just Asking for it.

    And Helen Keller may have even considered you a catch.

    The pouchy zip-up hoodies and endless brownies may have been comforting on cold winter nights...
  • Posted by a hidden member.
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    Oct 26, 2013 7:32 PM GMT
    Cash said
    roadbikeRob said
    blactor saidAnd I don't believe ANY woman is actually asking for rape. That's ridiculous.
    They are asking for trouble when they dress like a prostitute. Some of these young women have no respect for themselves. I am not condoning rape or any other act of violence but at the same token, these women put themselves in a dangerous position by dressing in these ridiculous, skimpy outfits. That just invites more serious trouble for them. Going to a rowdy fraternity party loaded with drunken, wild men dressed like a whore well they know what they are getting into so they have to bear some of the responsibility for the outcome. This is one time where the victim has to accept responsibility for their choices even if it results in an act of violence against them.


    In Afghanistan the Taliban banned the wearing of bracelets by women under their burkas because they felt the clicking noise they made may incite men into a sexual frenzy.

    Where EXACTLY is the line drawn rob?



    OH - and PLEEZE address THIS one rob -- I dare ya...