Wall Street Journal Column Criticized for Demonizing Victims

Wall Street Journal Column Criticized for Demonizing Victims

Can women who get drunk be as guilty in letting a rape committed by drunk men?rape and drink

In an interesting and now controversial Wall Street Journal editorial, titled Drunkenness and Double Standards, editor James Taranto criticizes the prevailing attitude of holding only drunken men responsible for rape instead of taking the situation in context and extending the responsibility to both sexes.

Taranto, more specifically talking about reported rape incidents on campuses, writes in his column:

“What is called the problem of ‘sexual assault’ on campus is in large part a problem of reckless alcohol consumption, by men and women alike.”

He then moves on to underscore the need for intervention of bystanders, or those present around the situation, in preventing rape and hence saving both sexes the trouble.

However, at least some advocates of women rights are not happy with the way Taranto approached the rape situation. Thao Nguyen, Campaign Director of This Is Personal, called Taranto’s column “journalism at its worst” in an email message to supporters. Nguyen condemns Taranto’s opinion that “sexual assault survivors are just as guilty as their attackers,” adding it’s not the first time Taranto has written pieces to “demean women”.

In an online survey, Nguyen is calling on all women rights advocates to Tell Wall Street Journal Editor to Apologize for Sexist Column.

“Rape is rape, and any journalist who says otherwise is irresponsible,” reads the survey letter. “Wall Street Journal editor James Taranto must apologize for his sexist remarks.”

4 thoughts on “Wall Street Journal Column Criticized for Demonizing Victims

  1. (Based on our reporting, the same is true in the military, at least in the enlisted and company-grade officer ranks.) First off I would like to comment on this statement. This is the most definably not true, rape in the military is not just based on a bunch of drunk men and woman their are so many other rapes that occur outside of drinking. I also have to say that people who drink to much do end up doing things that they may later not remember or regret and then one must be responsible for the outcome. However this does not minimize the pain of unwanted sex. The point being is that if the person did not want it while sober but then after being drunk did means they were not in their right mind. The other issue here is that we need to keep in mind “MOTIVE” many times their is so much that goes on with trying to get the opposite sex to drink more or influence mixing other drugs with alcohol which will indeed put a person in a more vulnerable state. Now according to the Cleveland Rape Crisis Center here are some stats on college campus rape issues. 75 percent of the men and 55 percent of the women involved in acquaintance rapes were drinking or taking drugs just before the attack. 1
    Men are more likely than women to assume that a woman who drinks alcohol on a date is a willing sex partner. 40% of men who think this way also believe it is acceptable to force sex on an intoxicated woman. 5
    College rape victims receive external physical injuries in over 47% of all rapes. 5 Notice how it states that men are more likely than woman to assume that woman who drink on a date are more willing to have sex. This is what we call ” RAPE CULTURE”. Now we can see this type of mentality thought history when it comes to men in particular in regards to sex even with out alcohol or drugs. When rape happened woman always were the blame no matter what. We can see that in films alone such as The Magdelin Sisters. We can even see Mary Magdelin in the bible story as one who was a whore or prostitute yet there were so many ready to throw the rock at her and yet some of them were her very TRICKS. My point is that the writer is on target somewhat but their is so much more to consider. Woman who drink should do so responsibly however so should men.

    1. Worthy comment Michell. Aggression, portrays an unforgivable drama that propels adrenalin, and fears in any threat to an individual. Which to me is more damaging than the action. Hence, more powerful of intent should be administrated.

  2. I’m amazed that so many people can read Mr. Taranto’s column and completely misconstrue what he is saying.

    Mr. Taranto is NOT talking about a drunk man forcing himself onto a drunk woman who’s either saying no or is passed out (which would be rape, whether it’s a man doing it to a woman or a woman doing it to a man).

    He IS talking about two drunk people consenting to sex — and then later someone decides that a woman cannot consent to rape when she’s drunk — except that HE is drunk too and that technically HE cannot consent to sex, either. So, technically, they have committed rape or sexual assault against each other. That was obvious to me the first time I read it. How could so many of you not get it?

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