‘Dear Prudence’ Thinks If Women Stop Drinking, Sexual Assault Will Cease To Exist

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shutterstock_149971097 (2)__1381948142_142.196.156.251Don’t ever ask Dear Prudence for advice again. She’s a terrible person.

Another horrible rape case is in the news reminding us all that rape culture is rampant and we really need to do better educating our children about consent, boundaries, and sexual violence. Well, if you’re a decent person you’re reminded of that. If you are Emily Yoffe, also known as Dear Prudence, you take the opportunity to write a victim-blaming editorial titled, The Best Rape Prevention: Tell College Women To Stop Getting So Wasted. 

Well, that’s the title that pops up when you scroll down on Slate. There’s also, College Women: Stop Getting Drunk, with the subtitle, It’s closely associated with sexual assault. And yet we’re reluctant to tell women to stop doing it. Yes, it’s strange that we’re “reluctant to tell women to stop doing it.” You know what’s even more strange? The study on which Yoffe bases her whole “women should stop drinking to avoid being raped” hypothesis includes this statistic:

On average, at least 50% of college students’ sexual
assaults are associated with alcohol use (Abbey et al., 1996a,1998; Copenhaver and Grauerholz, 1991; Harrington and Leitenberg, 1994; Presley et al., 1997). Koss (1988) reported that 74% of the perpetrators and 55% of the victims of rape in her nationally representative sample of college students had been drinking alcohol. 

74 percent of the perpetrators had been drinking alcohol. Wouldn’t it make more sense for the title of her editorial to be, The Best Rape Prevention: Tell Would-Be Rapists To Stop Getting Wasted. Yes, it would – but let’s not put logic where logic doesn’t live.

I’m really disturbed that thousands of people turn to this woman for advice weekly and her brain works this way. She hand-picks a bunch of victim-blamey quotes to pepper her viewpoint with:

“I’m not saying a woman is responsible for being sexually victimized,” says Christopher Krebs, one of the authors of that study and others on campus sexual assault. “But when your judgment is compromised, your risk is elevated of having sexual violence perpetrated against you.”

Translation: I’m not saying a woman is responsible, oh wait, yes I am.

But don’t worry, it’s not just the general public she’s giving this “preventative” advice to. She gives the same advice to her daughter:

I’ve told my daughter that it’s her responsibility to take steps to protect herself. . .The biological reality is that women do not metabolize alcohol the same way as men, and that means drink for drink women will get drunker faster. I tell her I know alcohol will be widely available (even though it’s illegal for most college students) but that she’ll have a good chance of knowing what’s going on around her if she limits herself to no more than two drinks, sipped slowly—no shots!—and stays away from notorious punch bowls.

But the advice to her hypothetical son would be a little different:

If I had a son, I would tell him that it’s in his self-interest not to be the drunken frat boy who finds himself accused of raping a drunken classmate.


Really? You wouldn’t tell your hypothetical son that women aren’t objects to be victimized and preyed upon? That a woman who is passed-out drunk is not in a position to consent to sex? That RAPE IS AWFUL AND NEVER, EVER EVEN THINK OF TRYING TO HAVE SEX WITH SOMEONE WHO DOES NOT OR CAN NOT CONSENT?

I’d like to apologize on your behalf to all the survivors of rape who happened upon your victim-blaming editorial. What’s next, advising women not to leave the house after dark or wear short skirts? You should be ashamed of yourself.

(photo: Aquir/ Shutterstock)