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Rape and College Women

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Submitted By janevivau
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In Emily Yoffe's article, “College Women: Stop getting drunk”, it's implied that if alcohol is consumed less by women in campuses, the occurrence of rape would be minimized if not completely eliminated. I concur with this article for a myriad of reasons and view the article as a necessary read for any college age young woman wishing to familiarize themselves with the going on of campus life. This article wins my support and approval, for if more girls and women were warned of the impending dangers of drinking alcohol in copious amounts in an effort to 'fit in' they would most certainly be better equipped to make rational decisions to avoid sexual assault. One of the recurring messages within the article is ways in which women can prevent alcohol-facilitated assaults such as a reduction in alcohol consumption. Unfortunately there is a belief that telling a woman she cannot drink to match the drinking of a male counterpart can be misconstrued to seem sexist. Physically and biologically men and women are as different as the sun and the moon; it's safe to say drinking too much whether at a friend’s place, campus, or any other type of social gathering for young men and women. In the article, Yoffe contends that one of the ways alcohol consumption in college can be curbed is lowering the drinking age from 21 years (Yoffe, 2013). I firmly believe this would be one of the first steps towards reducing the occurrence of sexual assault in campuses. The idea of binge drinking is a tradition that affects all concerned, men and women, hopefully further investigation and literature into lowering the drinking age can be produced and made available to colleges and universities worldwide. The occurrence of rape in campuses usually coincides with alcoholism amongst students. Pointing out that women should reduce their drinking habits is not victim shaming as has been implied many times; it's cautionary and necessary in a day and age where women feel the need to match their male counterparts in the workplace, as well as in social situations. A case should be made against those that would encourage a woman to drink copious amounts knowing full well that she will inevitably become inebriated. The type of person who does this is a 'serial predator who encourages his victim to keep pouring the means of her incapacitation down her throat'(Yoffe, 2013). There are many who would argue that when one commits sexual assault when drunk, that they are not responsible for their actions. This leads to victim blaming and worse injustice for the victim in the court of law, especially if the victim was drunk as well. It almost implies that the alcohol, albeit consumed by the perpetrator, was the cause of the rape. The offender fails to realist the repercussions of their actions, if they use alcohol as an excuse for their behavior. Interesting that in many cases, this has caused the perpetrator to be freed and the victim to be shamed and called derogatory names in response to her consumption of alcohol. Impaired judgment as a result of drinking should not be a reason to excuse sexual assault, on some level, the perpetrator is conscious of their actions. Our culture dictates that women should behave in a certain way, thus when in situations where they have been violated such as being sexually assaulted, there is a double standard. The law must change in order for changes to occur in campuses involving young women and drinking. Coughlin states in her article, that women remain vulnerable to forms of sexual violence against which the criminal law does not adequately protect them (Coughlin, 2013). Therefore women must be informed on how to protect themselves and this can be firstly achieved by educating them in reducing their consumption of alcohol in social gatherings at the campuses. Drinking unnecessarily poses a danger for all involved and should be discouraged for both genders, a behavior that should be discouraged if we are to move forward in guaranteeing togetherness amongst students in colleges and camaraderie without the use of alcohol as a means to connect. Alcohol-related sexual assaults can be greatly reduced if certain measures were taken to ensure or at least support those victimized. It seems that this is the problem at hand, not addressing the issue head on in an effort to curb the behavior. Preventative measures for women are paramount as mentioned earlier and there are past literatures that discuss this at length. It would be of great service to colleges and universities if some of this literature would be adopted as required reads in an effort to show support and boost morale amongst women and men in campuses. Gender roles can blur the line as to what is acceptable, as stated by Abbey, Ph.D., “American gender role norms about dating and sexual behavior encourage men to be forceful and dominant and to think that “no” means “convince me.” Men are expected to always be interested in sex, whereas women learn that they should not appear too interested in engaging in sexual activities or that they will be labeled “fast” or promiscuous” (Abbey, 2002). As outdated as such a belief is, it is more often than not adopted by the alpha male, a campus staple. Alcohol just fuels the already alpha male and makes the women more uninhibited and allows for assault to occur. Sexual assault should not be the norm in campuses but it seems that way, stereotypes should squashed and both men and women need to be educated on how to avoid this. As a woman, I feel it's important for me to always be cautious, look out for others and aid in the education of women my age and younger about the dangers of drinking too much. Better safe than sorry.


Coughlin, A. M. (2013, October, 13). “'Protecting Women is not 'Victim Blaming'” . The New YorkTimes. Retrieved from
Yoffe, E. (2013, October, 15). “College Women: Stop Getting Drunk”.
Abbey, A. (2002). “Alcohol-Related Sexual Assault: A Common Problem among College Students” (118-128).

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