Yesterday, the women on The View discussed James Taranto‘s Wall Street Journal column in which he basically says that women need to take more responsibility for their own sexual assaults. You’d think a table of women might take issue with that kind of thinking, but Whoopi Goldberg apparently thinks it’s laudable. Because women, Whoopi totally agrees that you shouldn’t get “poop-faced.”
“My opinion is, if you don’t want this kind of attention, don’t get poop-faced. Do not get poop-faced. Do not become so drunk you don’t know what is happening. When you say ‘x, y, z happened,’ you have no way of proving it. So both parties, if you don’t want the agitation, do not become so drunk you can’t figure out what the hell you’re doing.”
Jenny McCarthy (for once a voice of reason!) disagreed, saying:
“I think no means no, period, no matter where you’re at. In college, I went to so many after parties, that does not mean I’m giving an okay to have sex.”
Still, Whoopi got a ton of applause from the audience for her victim-blaming statements. Does this mean that Whoopi thinks if you do get drunk, if you do happen to lose control while you’re drinking, it’s ok for someone to have sex with you without your consent or knowledge? I know that’s not what she said (and I hope to god it’s not what she actually thinks), but that’s the implicit argument in her statement. And that kind of thinking is just flat-out wrong. I am not saying that women shouldn’t be careful about their personal safety when they’re drinking—men should be, as well—but a woman’s drunkenness does not make her responsible for a crime committed against her. Neither her body, not her femaleness, nor her vulnerability, nor her drunkenness causes her to be raped or sexually-assaulted. A rapist does.
As fucked up and plainly warped as it may seem to many of us, this kind of victim-blaming mentality is incredibly common in our culture. Remember Emily Yoffe‘s “teach women to stop binge drinking” column back in October? Remember Serena Williams‘ comments on the Steubenville victim (“Why was she that drunk?”) Remember Barbara Walters’ disturbing take on Dylan Farrow and Woody Allen?
Dear Emily, dear Serena, dear Barbara, dear Whoopi, dear everyone who has ever said that a women should have worn a longer skirt or had fewer drinks or gotten a ride home or stayed with her friends: Rapists are responsible for rape. Period.
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