This has been bubbling up today from Deadspin, with a story about a comment made by Serena Williams about the Steubenville story. Deadspin is also the sports websites that promoted the Anonymous hacking story early on.
Here, for instance, is Serena with an unfortunate “she wore the dress” take on Steubenville:
We watch the news for a while, and the infamous Steubenville rape case flashes on the TV—two high school football players raped a 16-year-old, while other students watched and texted details of the crime. Serena just shakes her head. “Do you think it was fair, what they got? They did something stupid, but I don’t know. I’m not blaming the girl, but if you’re a 16-year-old and you’re drunk like that, your parents should teach you: don’t take drinks from other people. She’s 16, why was she that drunk where she doesn’t remember? It could have been much worse. She’s lucky. Obviously I don’t know, maybe she wasn’t a virgin, but she shouldn’t have put herself in that position, unless they slipped her something, then that’s different.”
This bad journalism, designed to stir up controversy for no possible good outcome. This is really one of the most dangerous parts of the whole discussion; the cult-like pandering to the idea that suggesting any modicum of common sense behavior is somehow ‘rape apology.’
First, the obvious. Two things are true.
- Rape is wrong and criminal for good reason.
- Teenagers should not get so drunk that they black out.
This is just common sense. Stating that teens shouldn’t get black out drunk doesn’t mean it’s okay to rape them, as every single honest person on the planet knows. This is one of the reasons that teenage girls in particular shouldn’t get drunk; they might get raped or worse.
Deadspin writer John Koblin’s idiotic statement to the contrary. getting drunk on purpose is not the same as ‘she wore the dress.’ It’s not even close and Koblin is aware of that. Maybe the ladies fact check me on this: wearing a dress doesn’t make you pass out or forget what you did the night before or make rash, unwise decisions such as fighting with your friends when they suggest you should go home.
Further, go read Serena’s comments again. She’s thinking through the issue. Look at her statements; they are complete common sense, trying to be smeared by the P.C. police who don’t actually care a bit about the safety of women. They are true and any sane parent would tell their daughter – don’t put yourself in that position. Don’t get so drunk you can’t remember things. There’s not a single place where Williams says Mays and Richmond shouldn’t have been charged.
Does this ‘don’t get drunk’ thing apply to teen boys, too? OF COURSE it does. The boys involved made stupid–and in the case of Trent Mays and Ma’lik Richmond, criminal decisions. Booze was a factor in the behavior of everyone. If the sixteen year-olds involved didn’t decide to get drunk that night, the rape wouldn’t have occurred.
That’s not blaming the victim. That’s blaming the booze.
The whole point of this faux-outrage is to literally shut down discussion. As the father of a teenage daughter, it’s disgusting to me. There’s not a single, solitary thing wrong with suggesting binge drinking is a bad habit for teen girls. Further, if there’s a pattern of binge drinking then it becomes a really important discussion because that behavior may indicate other problems.
Jane Doe didn’t deserve to be raped and Serena Williams doesn’t deserve to be attacked for saying out loud in the presence of a reporter what every sensible person thought when they heard the real facts of the case. Anti-drunk isn’t pro-rape.