In the now widely-shared victim’s statement from the woman who was raped at Stanford University by amphibious rapist Brock Turner, she spoke of the further suffering she experienced when Turner did not seem to even take responsibility for his actions. It’s a frustration shared by millions, and one abetted by his own words. In his own statement to the judge, Turner shifted much of the blame away from himself, and onto the drinking and “party culture” of the school.
I know I can impact and change people’s attitudes towards the culture surrounded by binge drinking and sexual promiscuity that protrudes through what people think is at the core of being a college student. I want to demolish the assumption that drinking and partying are what make up a college lifestyle I made a mistake, I drank too much, and my decisions hurt someone. But I never ever meant to intentionally hurt [redacted]. My poor decision making and excessive drinking hurt someone that night and I wish I could just take it all back….
I want to be a voice of reason in a time where people’s attitudes and preconceived notions about partying and drinking have already been established. I want to let young people now, as I did not, that things can go from fun to ruined in just one night…
I’ve been shattered by the party culture and risk taking behavior that I briefly experienced in my four months at school….
Similarly, Turner’s father, in his statement pleading for leniency, which has also been widely derided, spoke of “the dangers of alcohol consumption and sexual promiscuity.”
It’s a common theme you hear every time a high profile sexual assault on campus galvanizes our attention. It’s not the rapist himself who did it, it’s a permissive culture of sex and hedonism. If only we could educate women to avoid drinking, maybe they wouldn’t have gotten raped, the argument, typically from the moralizing, misogynist right, goes. Here’s one example from among the thousands you may have seen online this week, which I include here mostly for my quality burn in response.
Hook up your nuts to an electrical socket https://t.co/xBbOhEoiaO
— Not a Good Luke (@lukeoneil47) June 9, 2016
It’s also an argument you hear from the concern trolling left from time to time. It’s enough to make you want to lecture about the perils of writing think-pieces and scolding tweets while drunk.
Strangely, you don’t see too many people concerned about this problem of party culture on campus any other time except for after an infamous rape occurs. Surely the people making it are sincerely concerned though, right?
Maybe not. This isn’t a unique tactic of obfuscating. A similar sort of misdirection takes place in the wake of every mass shooting. This isn’t a problem with guns, the NRA lobbyists with their fists up the asses up Republican marionettes say, it’s a mental health issue. We need to invest more in mental health. And yet, to no one’s surprise, despite the thousands of shootings a year, we never really end up getting around to that whole mental health overhaul thing. It’s almost like the people espousing it aren’t actually concerned about it, they’re just trying to change the subject.
There are valid points to be made about the perils of binge drinking and about the deficiencies in our mental health system, and it sure would be nice to hear from people with a plan to address either. It’s not the subject matter itself then, it’s just the timing of when it’s brought up that’s telling. If your first reaction to hearing about a rape on campus or a gun death is to reflexively expound on how drinking made people do it, or mental health is at fault, not the easy access to guns everywhere, you’re not only not part of the solution at large, you’re actively making things worse.