The post is entitled "Idiot Advice Columnist Calls Raped Girl 'Victim of Her Own Judgment'":
We guess they'll let anybody write advice columns these days. Take, for instance, Amy Dickinson, who recently chastised a rape victim in her syndicated Tribune Media column "Ask Amy," calling the young woman a "victim of her own judgment."
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While Dickinson goes on to admit that a crime was committed, her first impulse is to blame the victim. Which we find, frankly, despicable.
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Also reprehensible? Characterizing all frat guys as potential rapists. Fraternities are social organizations with group housing, and their members are just as morally diverse as any pool of human beings.
This is what Dickinson actually said:
Were you a victim? Yes.
First, you were a victim of your own awful judgment. Getting drunk at a frat house is a hazardous choice for anyone to make because of the risk (some might say a likelihood) that you will engage in unwise or unwanted sexual contact.
You don't say whether the guy was also drunk. If so, his judgment was also impaired.
No matter what -- no means no. If you say no beforehand, then the sex shouldn't happen. If you say no while its happening, then the sex should stop.
According to the Rape, Abuse and Incest National Network Web site (rainn.org):"Alcohol and drugs are not an excuse -- or an alibi. The key question is still: Did you consent or not? Regardless of whether you were drunk or sober, if the sex is nonconsensual, it is rape. However, because each state has different definitions of "nonconsensual," please contact your local center or local police if you have questions about this. (If you were so drunk or drugged that you passed out and were unable to consent, it was rape. Both people must be conscious and willing participants.)"
Go to your college's health department to be tested for STDs and pregnancy. See a counselor to determine how you want to approach this. You must involve the guy in question in order to determine what happened and because he absolutely must take responsibility and face the consequences for his actions, just as you are prepared to do. He may have done this before.
In her letter, the alleged victim initially states that she "made some mistakes." And, based on her story, she's right. Despite what Dickinson's critics say, it is risky for a girl to get drunk at a fraternity party and go off with a fellow she doesn't know very well. This decision reflects poor judgment.
Simply acknowledging this obvious point is not equivalent to "blaming" the victim for being raped. The girl in this account is partly a victim of her own bad judgment -- and she is also a victim of events totally beyond her control, for which she bears no responsibility. Both of these things are true, and neither of them implies that the she deserved to be raped.
One of major problems that I have with what Katie Roiphe deemed "rape crisis feminism" is that even the most sensible advice -- like cautioning young girls against becoming intoxicated and returning home with strange men -- is often misconstrued as victim-blaming. The unavoidable impression is that good judgment simply doesn't matter, and risky decisions can be wholly divorced from their negative outcomes.
Rape is never the victim's fault, but that doesn't mean that the victim's prior decisions are always value-neutral.
Update: Amy Dickinson qualifies her statement:
Unfortunately, I started my answer by expressing frustration at her judgment to get drunk at a frat house, calling it "awful." This is the part of my answer that has enraged readers, who have accused me of "blaming the victim."As a mother (and stepmother) to five daughters -- four in college -- I have counseled (and worry about) all of my many daughters because of how vulnerable they are if they choose to drink.
Drinking to intoxication poses very serious security issues for our daughters and sons, because being drunk impairs judgment and the ability to discern risk.
Because "Victim" wondered where the line was, I tried to draw it for her. My intent was to urge her (as I often urge readers) to take responsibility for the only thing she could control -- her own choices and actions -- but I regret how harshly I expressed this.
I certainly didn't intend to offend or blame her for what happened, and I hope she will do everything possible to stay safe in the future. I'm grateful that she chose to share her question with all of us, because talking about it will help others.