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Alleged Stanford Rapist Says He ‘Wasn’t Trying To Rape,’ Media Focuses On How Much His Victim Drank

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But this is what we do when we talk about rape. We focus on the victim’s decisions before and during. We scrutinize every move she’s made to find a way to blame her for her own assault. After a brief graph about the students not belonging to the Greek scene on campus, we get back to details about the party:

According to the police reports, both the woman and Turner were drinking at the party attended by more than 100 people… The woman had drunk six shots of hard alcohol — four before arriving at the party — and a sip of beer, according to the reports. She said she had blacked out from drinking before, though “not often,” and told police she found it “weird” that she just shut down.

Here’s another decision to include information about the victim’s previous drinking history. Why? Why is this information the public needs to know? Would it make a difference if she blacked out every night? Would that make the act of raping an unconscious woman okay?

The public thinks so. Which is why this kind of rape coverage is so dangerous. It takes the focus off the crime and puts it square on the victim. You would never read a story about a robbery that began,

“The Smiths had been advised to install a security system on their property for years. They avoided trimming the hedges so their home was very well hidden from view. After years of living at the desirable property, they still hadn’t installed a flood light on the front porch. The man caught climbing in the front window said it wasn’t his intention to rob a house, but it was so well hidden from view, there was no security system and it was perfectly shielded by the dark, so what did we all expect?”

How can we expect a drunk man to resist an unconscious body that can’t fight him off? This is the narrative we’re telling. It’s the one we tell time and time again. It’s why so many people shared the story of Turner being caught, of the university responding by axing him from the swim team, and charges swiftly being filed. Because we’re so used to people turning a blind eye to sexual violence against women, and it has so much to do with the way we talk about it.

(Image from Twitter, via @NBCPhiladelphia)

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