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Feminspire | April 24, 2014

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College Women: Feel Free to Get Drunk! Emily Yoffe: Stop Encouraging Rapists

College Women: Feel Free to Get Drunk! Emily Yoffe: Stop Encouraging Rapists

| On 17, Oct 2013

Trigger warning for rape and sexual assault

Emily Yoffe wrote a dumb-shit essay where she told college women to stop drinking in order to prevent sexual assaults and rapes. Yawn Yawn snooze zzzzzzzz! Where have I heard that before? Everywhere and all the time. That schtick is so old, played out and misogynstic, but it just won’t seem to DIE! DIIIIEEEEEEE TROPE! DIE! And as long as people like Emily Yoffee keeps putting out the message that women can prevent crimes against them if they just simply perform X,Y, or Z activity, the trope never will die and rape culture will live on and on and on.

But since people do read shit like Yoffe’s piece, and because some of the people reading that shit are probably victims, pieces like the one you’re reading right now need to be written to let victims and survivors know it’s not their fault if they were raped. And because some of the people reading that shit are rapists, and because pieces like Yoffe’s affirm for them that they are not solely responsible for the crimes they commit, pieces like mine need to be written to let them know “WE SEE YOU. YOU ARE RESPONSIBLE!”

In her goldmine of useful wisdom and totally not-at-all-regurgitated-always-existing-party line, Yoffee states, “As soon as the school year begins, so do reports of female students sexually assaulted by their male classmates. A common denominator in these cases is alcohol.” Yo, Yoffe! I’m gonna let you finish, but I wanna say that another common denominator in rape is rapists! I know it’s sometimes easy to overlook that tiny little tidbit, especially when you’re trying to pretend that women will magically stop being raped if they stop drinkin,g but the WEIRD thing is (this is gonna sound outrageous, but stay with me here) is that if every woman in America stops drinking, that won’t make rapists stop existing.

“WHAAAAAA?” you’re probably saying right now. I know, but it’s true. Did you know there are places in the world where alcohol is not available and women have curfews and stay covered from head to toe, and they still get raped? What the shit? It’s almost like rapists are gonna rape no matter what women do, particularly when we keep pushing the agenda that women can prevent their own rapes by doing magical things like not drinking or by covering their bodies. A better start to a solution MIGHT be, oh, I don’t know, working toward a cultural change that doesn’t value white male heterosexual dominance, often demonstrated by treating women as sexual conquests and objects to be used for male gratification, above all else.

And here’s another wacky idea: What if there was any or better sex education in schools? It might seem just sooooo silly, but perhaps if we could get past the puritanical grossed out butt-puckering feeling some people get when talking about sex ed in schools, we could have better programs. Not just so that kids can grow into adults with a basic understanding of human anatomy and family planning/prevention, but also with information about appropriate ways to handle their sexual urges, how to set up, enforce and respect each others boundaries, how to give and how to seek out enthusiastic consent. It’s almost like the problem isn’t women drinking and more a problem with how women are devalued and men are let off the hook in a rape culture, a culture which Yoffe is perpetuating.

She also gets pissy with a straw feminist she sets up when she mistakenly says, “Young women are getting a distorted message that their right to match men drink for drink is a feminist issue. The real feminist message should be that when you lose the ability to be responsible for yourself, you drastically increase the chances that you will attract the kinds of people who, shall we say, don’t have your best interest at heart. That’s not blaming the victim; that’s trying to prevent more victims.”

What the shit is she on about? The feminist message isn’t that women should have the right to match men drink for drink. That’s some seriously stupid shit right there. I really don’t know any feminist out there declaring that a 5′ tall 120 pound woman should be able to match a 6’2″ tall 225 pound man drink for drink; that’s about alcohol tolerance and metabolization. The feminist argument is that women should be able to drink, to walk, to dance, to sleep, to be out at night without being raped. The feminist message is that while it’s perfectly fine to teach women and girls personal safety, it is not fine to keep perpetuating rape culture, to keep making women responsible for the crimes committed against them, and to keep letting men off the hook by saying women wouldn’t get raped if only they hadn’t been drunk or wearing that outfit.

She has some super-great advice on parenting: “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.” Neat. Ever consider teaching him how to not be a rapist rather than how to avoid being accused of rape?  She then makes the brilliant assertion that if “female college students start moderating their drinking as a way of looking out for their own self-interest—and looking out for your own self-interest should be a primary feminist principle—I hope their restraint trickles down to the men.” That’s cool and all, but perhaps if we urged men to seek out enthusiastic consent and to treat their partners with respect, to pay attention to their verbal and physical cues, to look at the faces of their partners when they are having sex, more men would stop raping and the effects of that would trickle down to potential victims. Ya know. Because there would be fewer men raping.

Yoffee is saying nothing new, nothing original, nothing that girls and women don’t largely hear already. Nothing is being said that isn’t already told to us by school officials, the media, police officers, nurses, doctors, social workers, family and friends when we get raped. Oh no. We’ve heard all this before. We’ve been told not to drink. We’ve been told not to show our arms, legs, stomachs, cleavage, elbows, hair. We’ve been told not to walk alone, not to be out at night, not to wear our hair in a ponytail when we go running, to know where the exits in every room are, to watch our drinks, to lock our doors, to not be alone with a man, to not sit in the front seat of a cab, to not seem older than our biological age, We’ve been told, over and over again what we can do to prevent ourselves from being raped. We’ve been told.

And frequently, after being raped, we are told what we SHOULD have done to prevent our own rape. Were you drunk? Shouldn’t have been drinking. What were you wearing? Shouldn’t have had on that skirt. Were you making out? You shouldn’t have expected him to stop. Were you out alone at night? Should have been with a friend. But what I don’t hear, what I’m sick of not hearing, is “That man should not have raped you. This was his fault. He was the perpetrator and the sole person responsible for committing this crime because he is the only one that committed a crime.”

No matter a woman does, there is no excuse to rape her. The default state of being for a woman is not consent; consent must be obtained. And when we continuously focus the discussion on what women can do to not get raped, we neglect to teach boys and men what they can do to not be rapists. So, without further ado, in a compact and easy to follow listicle, here is what men can do to not be rapists!

1. Don’t have sex with drunk people. Drunk people cannot give consent.

2. Do not give people drugs or alcohol in an effort to lower their boundaries to get them to have sex with you. That’s rape.

3. Do not have sex with people under the age of consent.

4. Ask your partner/one nighter/FWB, whatever, for consent. If consent is given, pay attention to them. Are they crying? Are they just lying there while you do sex to them rather than them having sex with you? Are they avoiding eye contact or tensed up? Are you looking at their face because you care enough about them on a basic human level to even glance at their face during sex? If so, you should be able to see if they are doing any of the things listed here. If they are, stop what you are doing. That person does not want to have sex with you. They may have felt pressured, afraid or scared to say no.

5. Don’t have sex with people who are incoherent.

6. Don’t have sex with people who are unconscious.

7. Don’t have sex with people who say “no” or any other negating word or phrase.

8. Don’t have sex with people who keep trying to push you away or off of them.

9. Do not have sex with somebody who is sleeping.

10. Do not assume that somebody dancing with/holding hands with/talking with or making out with means they want to have sex with you. Always get consent. Think seeking out consent isn’t sexy? Well, neither is being a rapist, so get consent.

Not raping people is actually pretty easy. All ya gotta do is not rape, and that’s typically as easy as following the steps above, seeking out enthusiastic consent, and visually and verbally checking in with your partner to see if they’re engaged and interested. Because really, having sex with somebody should be more of a priority than doing sex to them.

And as for Emily Yoffe? She’s been spreading her rape apologia for years. While she somehow seems able to find empathy and lack of blame for children who have been assaulted or abused, she somehow fails to recognize that adults who have been assaulted or abused are also victims deserving of sympathy and support, not to be blamed for the crimes committed against them.

Written by Sara Luckey
Tweet with her, or engage in a conversation about current events as viewed through a sociopolitical, feminist lens here.


  • Komal

    Thank you! Laci Green tweeted about this and I was desperately awaiting a Feminspire article on the topic. You’ve said everything I could think of (but 100 times more brilliantly.) I mean, why isn’t this common sense? :/

  • Kara

    “Yo, Yoffe! I’m gonna let you finish, but I wanna say that another common denominator in rape is rapists!”

    YES! I love you for this. I’m so fed up with victim blaming. And it’s so common that it’s exhausting. Let’s call this shit out EVERY time we see it.

    • Natalie

      I don’t know of a single rape victim that doesn’t wish that there were rules we could’ve followed to prevent rape. Like, if all it took to guarantee we’d never be raped ever ever was to not drink alcohol and wear skirts below a certain length that’d be awesome! But, you know, That’s not a thing because sober women get raped and women wearing jeans and full-body pajamas and in all kinds of places surrounded by all kinds of “supportive” and “trustworthy” friends. Because rape happens because rapist assholes exist who are conditioned to believe they are entitled to a woman’s body, especially if she’s “asking” for it by wearing short skirts and getting drunk.

      So, you know. Way to be a part of that system, Emily Yoffe. Thanks for that.

      • Guest

        There are no “rules we could have followed to prevent rape”, but there are precautions that can be taken to reduce the likelyhood of it happening to us. Pointing out these precautions is the responsible thing to do. This does not mean we don’t deal with the issue of rape generally. There’s quite a distinction there but with your ideological blinders on you are unlikely to see it.

        • Bastet

          You just refocused on ‘what did she do to deserve it’. WTF? Women and girls are not actively trying to get raped. Everyone tries to maintain their own safety and bodily integrity. This is a given. Even in cases where it looks like a person doesn’t care for their own safety such as self-harm, they still do. The way it may appear is not the truth behind it. They are not trying to get hurt by someone else or be in serious danger. They self-harm for control over their bodies.

          Sure, prevention is better than cure but the prevention in the case of rape is on preventing people from committing rape.

  • Boba Fête


    • Mung Beans

      when Emily Yoffe tries to say some shit – YAHHH TRICK YAHHH

  • Rebekah Y.

    Brilliant satire of the feminist blogosphere. You capture the unhinged outrage at some commonsensical advice. I mean, are we really to believe all these ‘feminists’ simply get drunk at will, relying on their stern advice to ‘not rape’ to protect them. Or do they have a secret weapon like a ‘Do Not Rape Me Mkay!’ t-shirt that is a kryptonite to rapists.

    Oh wait, you were serious…backing away slowly.

    • dsar

      I agree, rapists have always existed and always will exist despite naive and gullible white feminists proclaiming otherwise. Literally everybody on the planet has enough common sense to try to protect themselves from crime, except gullible liberal feminist women who feel special and priveleged and believe they should never have to be danger concious around potential rapists. How naive of them, they are only putting themselves in danger.

      • Bastet

        Mugging scenario.
        What were you doing at the time of the giving of money?
        What were you wearing? Was your wallet visible or was the outline visible?
        Why were you walking alone at the time if the money giving?
        Have you ever given money before?
        Surely you know that the act if having money makes you a good target?
        Were you drinking before or during the alleged money giving?
        If you had a drink, had money, were around people, separated from a trusted friend for any length of time, were wearing anything that may have hinted at you having money and did not prevent your own mugging then you are being special and privileged and expecting muggers not to exist. For goodness sake you are endangering yourself by your unrealistic expectations of being allowed to go about the basic business of living.

  • cece

    THANK YOU THANK YOU THANK YOU FOR WRITING THIS! you are so right on about everything. the RAPIST does the RAPING end of story. everything else is circumstantial. blame the damn rapist for once!!! god damn

    • Fernando Nando

      Provide a quote where Emily is blaming the victim.

  • Trysta Cullen

    Too bad we don’t live in a world of enthusiastic consent. It’s safe to tell people not to get drunk around members of the opposite sex because you don’t know who’s a human being and who isn’t.

  • uptownmama

    Taking common-sense steps to prevent yourself from being a victim, like staying sober at frat parties, is not victim blaming. It is just the opposite. Wishing rapists would be nice does not make them nice. And yes, I know, that is not the whole answer, far from it. But I DO remember my college years, and I DO wish I had stayed sober a lot more than I did.

    • Sam Csatari


    • Bastet

      How about teaching young guys not to drink? Or do we also believe that young guys in frat houses MUST get drunk and MUST (accidentally) rape?

      Again, the focus is on, ‘OMG, she dared to live her life and try alcohol and have friends, and like walk somewhere, and be a young adult! What was she thinking? It must be her fault. If she’d just done A, B and C this wouldn’t have happened’

      Do you see the problem with this mentality. It buys into the old stereotype, ‘boys will be boys’ while expecting young women to go from child to mature adult in a day while also buying into the notion that a mature woman who does everything right wont get raped. I hate to break it to you but grandma’s in their 60′s-90′s get raped and I think its safe to say they weren’t partying it up in frat houses.

      • nych

        Aaaannnd the logical fallacy is…non sequitir, tu quoque, and strawman…wow..a hat trick!

        BY ALL MEANS teach men not to drink as well. You set up a straw man by attacking an obviously immoral double standard, but one that the poster DID NOT in any way promote. Why did you ASSUME the argument was either/or. Just because someone fails to mention something DOES NOT mean they are against it.

        The nonsequir is that yes women outside of colege get raped. What does this have to do with a reduceable risk that a different group is subject to?

        Look..just one question, apart from any theoretical or ideological considerations. Do you believe that a young woman is MORE LIKELY to be victimized if her attacker sees her as vulnerable or compliant? If you do not..I dont know what to say, except why dont you believe a coward like rapists are would not choose an easier target, especially when reliable statistics say they do?
        If you DO accept the premise, however distasteful to your sensibilities or destructive of yourbidealized worldview, that a drunk woman, EVEN THOUGH THROUGH NO FAULT OF HER OWN AND DUE ONLY TO THE RAPISTS COWARDICE AND CUNNING, is more likely to be raped, then please admit to yourself that you want more women than necessary to be raped so you can continue to parrot an idealized naive worldview which seems to be a holy scripture of the third wave that someday humanity will be totally civilized and there will be no rape or violence. We ALL wish that were true, but it is a fairy tale. There will ALWAYS be bad people so no matter how we try to teach, lobby, or legislate, common sense precaution will STILL ALWAYS help prevent rape. Your good intentions mean shit. Deliberately misleading women about a proven risky behavior will cause more indulgence in it. Blame the rapists all you IS their fault, but your misguided attempt to avoid “victim blaming” is more out of concern for following dogma than out of concern for victims. Your actions WILL lead to MORE women being raped. There IS NO argument you can make to excuse that fact.

        • Bastet

          Well, that’s a very long rant to go too far overboard blaming people who wish to change the dialogue surrounding rape. No-one is saying, ‘put yourself in danger on purpose’. That’s ridiculous. The point is, at some point in a persons life they will get drunk. This is far more likely to happen on one of the first few occassions of drinking when the effects of alcohol are unknown. Changing the dialogue is about teaching people everything they need to know. Included in this is definitions of what rape is, what enthusiastic consent looks like etc. We cannot expect only young women to NEVER ever get drunk or mske any kind of mistake. We cannot expect women to lock themselves inside from dusk til dawn from birth to death. It’s unrealistic.

  • Guest

    I wonder if Sara Luckey read the same article I did.
    Ms. Yoffe’s point is that women should take precautions. Not that they are responsible for their rape, not apologizing for the rapist, not blaming women for what happened to them. But, simply, that women should exercise some caution in a world that isn’t always so lovely. That’s it.
    Luckily the vast majority of men are not rapists, but some are. Luckey points out that “The feminist argument is that women should be able to drink, to walk, to dance, to sleep, to be out at night without being raped.” They should be able to. Yes. Well, you know what? I should be able to walk around downtown X large city at night without being worried about being mugged, I should be able to take a trip to Mogadishu, Somalia without fear, I should be able to stumble around a big city wasted out of my tree.
    However, we don’t live in a world of shoulds. We live in a world of present-day realities. Many of these we struggle on a daily basis to ameliorate. But recognizing that men are responsible for their rapes and recognizing that woman should take precautions are not mutually exclusive and you, Ms. Luckey, do a great dis-service to women by repeating the current feminist mantra that a woman should be able to do whatever she wants whenever she wants and scream at anyone who disagrees.
    That is not a helpful dialogue and one which paradoxically serves to put more woman risk. Congrats to Ms. Yoffe for writing a sensible argument knowing that she would be attacked by the dogmatic likes of yourself.

  • adtvtx vafaeead

    How old is this Sara Lucky? She writes like she’s in high school. Is she like a goth kid or something? I think one point was left out of the victim blame game. Countries that produce a lot of the illegal drugs that come into this country blame the US drug users. They claim they wouldn’t produce cocaine if we the US didn’t want it so much. So they are basically saying we want to be raped with cocaine and that they are the victims of our own promiscuity with drugs.

  • I disagree (I think)

    So basically, when people get drunk and have sex it’s rape? If I’m drunk at a party, then one of my friend/acquaintance is drunk too, and we both have consensual sex after that, that was rape?
    It’s obviously rape if one of them is unconscious. It’s also rape if the drunk girl/guy wasn’t consenting. But it can’t be rape if both are consenting, denying this would be ridiculous. I had drunk sex several time with my partners, and one time with a friend, does that mean I’m a freaking rapist? Or that those friend/partners were rapists?
    When you’re drunk, you are responsible for being drunk. That means you are responsible for crashing your car, and for consenting to having sex.

    But that also means you still have the right NOT to be run over by a car, or have sex against your will !!!!!

    A ”yes” is a ”yes”. Your ”sex partner” can’t be responsible because you lied to him/her and can’t be responsible for you being drunk. A ”no” is a ”no” and your ”sex partner” has to assume you are telling the truth.

    • Bastet

      Two drunk people having consensual drunk sex is not rape.
      Drunk rape is a completely different scenario. One person is not drunk. Or one person refuses to acknowledge being pushed away as a no.

  • dsfds

    But women are extremely vulnerable when they get drunk. I don’t understand why it’s wrong to tell women to be more careful? Most males are physically stronger than a woman so it’s a bad situation for a female to get drunk in college party situations. There is nothing wrong with warning women. Are you not going to warn someone before they go into a bad neighborhood?

    I view these feminazi websites, and you people are no different from the manosphere blogs. All of you would make great couples, huh?

  • nych

    It is so obvious it should not need saying (but does) that NOTHING a woman does makes her at all responsible for the actions of a rapist, and that the ONLY person doing ANYTHING they should not is the rapist, and therefore the rapist and ONLY the rapist is responsible for rape. All these things are indisputable. But I wonder, as you think of the thousands of additional women who will be targeted specifically because a drunk women is easier to rape, and you told them it is “not feminist” to be in control of yourself and aware of your surroundings, will you be able to say to yourself honestly “I bear NO reponsibility for those women being violated and scarred”? I suppose so if you can honestly say that every single one of those drunk women would still have been targeted and raped if they had been completely sober, aware, and able to resist or call for help.

    If you and a friend knew there was a serial killer hiding in an alley, and your friend warned a young man about to enter the alley that there was a killer there, you would indignantly say “Dont you listen to her, you have the right to go in any alley you want. Now get in that alley and show that psychopathic murderer you wont be intimidated.” As your friend heard the victims dying screams from the alley, looking at you in horror and saying “if you had warned him he would be alive” you would say to your friend, “that would be ineffective, some other killer MIGHT have killed him in broad daylight, killers kill, so the only moral thing to do is teach people not to kill, warning him will just make everyone think it wasnt the killers fault that he killed the young man” , your friend would say “thats crazy, if he believed the killer was in there he could have protected himself” , then you would point at her and scream “victim blamer victim blamer” until she ran off in tears.

    Notice I am in no way blaming the victim in these cases. I am blaming YOU, for deliberately choosing NOT to warn someone of a clear and present danger. The fact that the danger SHOULDNT exist has NO bearing on the unfortunate FACT that it DOES exist.
    The cause of rape is rapists and rape will not stop until rapists are stopped. The question is why are you willing for more women to get raped than would if you warned them, just for the sake of a “principle”? Please ask yourself honestly, do you care more about “FEMINISM” as ideology or actual thinking feeling women? Would you sacrifice today’s women for POSSIBLE though doubtful future gains. It is fine to state as general principle that rape will stop when rapists are stopped, but let us not lose sight of the fact that the last rape will be the same day of the last murder, last assault, last theft, last verbal or mental abuse, last argument, last lie, etc. In other words when the last human on earth kills the next to last. As long as there are people there WILL be evil people. You can’t “teach” EVERYONE to alwaysbehave morally. We are free moral agents and some of us will always try to gain an advantage by treating someone wrong or taking advantage of them. If you ACTUALLY BELIEVE that rape and violence can be eradicated from humanity, I cant even talk to you . The very idea is THAT ridiculous.
    Let me ask, after EVERYTHING POSSIBLE is done to teach that rape is wrong (a ludicrous idea, like teaching murder is wrong, people KNOW date rape is rape and are just justifying if they act shocked when you catch them as if they didnt think it was real rape, and NO every man is NOT a potential rapist, only a mental defective doesnt know what constitutes rap and how wrong it is, rape culture does not make a healthy man think rape is ok or that society says it is ok, thoughbit DOES teach evil sociopath jocks with money and privilege that they can get away with it by crying. “boohoo…society…upbringing… waaahhh..didnt know it was wrong..while smirking behind their hands, it is very hard to accept, but half a senior class cheering a rape at a party and instagramming it is not a sign that we arent teaching morality. It is a sign that VERY VERY VERY many humans are hopelssly and irredeemably EVIL.) But anyway after doing alkwe can to eliminate as many rapists as possible, isn it OK THEN to warn women? Or do you REALLY believe we can eliminate evil from the human heart so that humans will one day NEVER have to fear or distrust each other? (Spoiler..not gonna happen…humans are NOT inherently good)

    I suppose we should also tell people not to look when they cross a street, and lets encourge naive young vacationers to go to Somalia or the favelas of Rio, or walk the streets of Pripiyat near Chenobyl, since after all, if a danger should not exist in some future ideal world, then warning them of an incredibly high risk that they could easily avoid is victim blaming and infringing their autonomy. I have to remember this logic if a crazed gunman ever opens fire on me and my family. I will be sure to stand up straight and not duck or cover up my family. I will simply think with indignity as we are gunned down, “HE is the criminal here, I’ll be DAMNED if I will change MY behavior in ANY way just because of AVOIDABLE certain death”

    Yes this is meanspirited enough to sound like a troll..I am just frustrated to breaking by this idea of someone knowing and describing how dangerous the world is for women, to the point of clearly seeing the moral obligationto work to change that, and then paradoxically INSISTING the ONLY “acceptable” course is to acknowledge the problem in your rhetoric and political actions, then pretend there is absolutely no danger not only in your own daily lives, but to ensure other women are unaware of the danger so you can feel good about them not being afraid even though it will increase the number of victims and maybe even kill them.

    • Bastet

      Your rant is f’ing ridiculous. The article doesn’t say ‘get drunk and walk down dark alleys on principle’. It mentions all the ways women are blamed for being raped and calls for greater education to prevent people becoming rapists.

  • onibubu

    Me telling a male friend (John) who got severly beaten up:
    “Hey you know what? These guys are assholes but you should stay away from this street/district at night… There is always shit happening, everyone knows that.”
    Male Friend:
    “Yes, you are right. I am going to stay away from that street!”
    Perfectly fine…

    Me telling a female friend who got raped:
    “Dont get me wrong what happenes is not your fault and its horrible… but maybe you shouldn’t waste yourselfes every friday and saturday night because you know.. assholes are assholes and you are putting yourself into a potentialy vulnerable situation.”
    Female Friend: “Hurdur misogyny, hurdur victim blaming…”

    I smell double standards here…