Tuesday, February 23, 2010

"She Knew What Would Happen" Victim-Blaming at Princeton University

"She knew what would happen if she started drinking. We all know that the more people drink, the less likely they are to make wise decisions. It is common sense.

Therefore, the girl willingly got herself into a state in which she could not act rationally. This, in my opinion, is equivalent to agreeing to anything that might happen to her while in this state. In the case of our girl, this happened to be sex with a stranger

This is what Princeton freshman Iulia Neagu wrote in the Daily Princetonian.

Princeton...that’s the school for smart people, right? Then tell me why, in the second decade of the 21st century, there are students who actually advocate and partake in victim-blaming? She asked for it. She knew it was coming. She lead him on. REALLLYYYYYYY?

Intoxication does not equal consent. In fact, it means the exact opposite; it is widely, if not universally, accepted that ‘consent’ is understood to be ‘sober and informed.’ If you were passed out on the floor from drinking, and your friends stole your clothes or wrote profanities all over your body, or took offensive pictures of you, have you ‘agreed’ to that simply by drinking? With the ‘understanding’ and ‘expectation’ that you would make bad life decisions? Of course not, and to assert as much would never be widely accepted as legitimate.

What this young writer fails to recognize is that a victim of rape never has the power to make a decision and if (s)he does make a decision, it was not respected; that is why rape is a crime and why it has such profound psychological impacts: it is the performance of a sexual act with force or without consent.

Rape is not a result of "boys being boys." It is not a result of wearing a sexy outfit. Amanda Hess of The Washington City Paper wrote a response to the piece in the Daily Princetonian that is so eloquently written and so clear cut and to the point, paraphrasing would not do it justice. So, I leave you to ponder on the following clip from her response.

"When you say that women who drink with the boys, or have casual sex like the boys, or walk alone like the boys are not sufficiently protecting themselves against rape, what you are really saying is that women who don’t act enough like women deserve to be raped. And what you are really saying is that women deserve to be raped because they’re women."

Victim-blaming has no place in legitimate conversation, it has no place in academia, it has no place at Princeton, it has no place anywhere, ever.

photocredit: Spuz via Flickr

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