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WSJ columnist compares campus sexual assault to drunk driving

Posted by on Feb. 12, 2014 at 11:04 AM
  • 50 Replies

WSJ columnist compares campus sexual assault to drunk driving

 

Wall Street Journal columnist James Taranto has come under fire for a column he wrote in which he argues there's a double standard when it comes to sexual assault on college campuses.

In the column, published on Monday, Taranto comes to the defense of men accused of sexual assault in cases involving alcohol, asserting drunk female victims deserve as much of the blame as their inebriated assailants.

"If two drunk drivers are in a collision, one doesn't determine fault on the basis of demographic details such as each driver's sex," Taranto writes. "But when two drunken college students 'collide,' the male one is almost always presumed to be at fault."

He also points to a quote from a recent New York Times article from Sgt. Richard Cournoyer, a Connecticut state trooper in charge of investigating recent assault allegations at the University of Connecticut.

"These aren't people jumping out of the bushes," Cournoyer told the Times. "For the most part, they're boys who had too much to drink and have done something stupid. When we show up to question them, you can see the terror in their eyes."

In Taranto's eyes, the victims are often just as stupid. "Both of them were taking foolish risks," he writes, "and it seems likely that he as well as she had impaired judgment owing to excessive drinking."

Not surprisingly, Taranto's column has sparked considerable outrage.

"This is textbook victim-blaming," Jessica Wakeman writes on TheFrisky.com:

"Sexual assault doesn't only happen because victims are drunk. Sexual assault happens because rapists exploit their victim's diminished faculties. Sexual assault happens because it's easier to physically overpower someone who is very drunk; sexual assault happens because when someone is passed out, they can't say 'no.'"


"Taranto lives in a world in which women who are drunk to the point of near-unconsciousness should be presumed to be granting willing consent to whatever behaviors men engage in," Phillip Bump writes on The Atlantic Wire.

"Rape isn't a mistake that college students accidentally make because they're too drunk," Tara Culp-Ressler writes on ThinkProgress.com. "In fact, research into college rapists reveals that sexual assault is premeditated and victims are carefully chosen. Alcohol is a tool that rapists often use, but it's simply one tool among many."

Dear James Taranto, rape is not exactly "two drunk college kids colliding." Educate yourself, sir. http://t.co/x5E3gMBMPP

- Jennifer Zobair (@jazobair) February 11, 2014


A Change.org petition calling for the newspaper to fire Taranto - launched on Monday by the nonprofit rape survivor group SurvJustice - has already gathered more than 1,400 signatures.

"Supporting rape and rapists is not journalism!" the petition reads. "The Wall Street Journal is giving a platform to a rape apologist. James Taranto is supporting men who are perpetrating sexual violence against intimate partners and intoxicated individuals."

According to a report by the White House Council on Women and Girls released on Jan. 21, one in five U.S. women were victims of sexual assault in college. And according to the Rape, Abuse & Incest National Network, one out of every six women will have been a victim of an attempted or completed rape in her lifetime.

Taranto has something of a history of controversial columns. His latest comes less than a month after President Barack Obama announced the formation of a task force to combat sexual assault on college campuses following the administration's successful crackdown on the rapes that occur in the military - something that Taranto previously argued was "an effort to criminalize male sexuality" and a "war on men."

That column, published in June 2013, was greeted with a similar backlash.

The Wall Street Journal did not return a request for comment. Taranto did not return an email or Twitter message seeking comment.

by on Feb. 12, 2014 at 11:04 AM
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Replies (1-10):
SuperChicken
by on Feb. 12, 2014 at 11:10 AM
2 moms liked this

So Taranto thinks a crackdown on rape is criminalizing male sexuality?   No female is safe in his presence then. 

However, imo, the most terrifying thing in this article is not some journalist defending the poor men who rape.  It's the law enforcement officer Sgt. Richard Cournoyer dismissing rape as just an oopsie that poor rapists shouldn't be held accountable for.  I bet he can't figure out why most women just don't bother reporting their rapes with dedicated officers like him around to help. 

tanyainmizzou
by Platinum Member on Feb. 12, 2014 at 11:21 AM
7 moms liked this

I read it as more of a if a woman is too drunk to be accountable for her actions, why aren't men too drunk to be accountable for theirs.

And no, I am not justifying rape.   I know how these arguments go.

Quoting SuperChicken:

So Taranto thinks a crackdown on rape is criminalizing male sexuality?   No female is safe in his presence then. 

However, imo, the most terrifying thing in this article is not some journalist defending the poor men who rape.  It's the law enforcement officer Sgt. Richard Cournoyer dismissing rape as just an oopsie that poor rapists shouldn't be held accountable for.  I bet he can't figure out why most women just don't bother reporting their rapes with dedicated officers like him around to help. 


SuperChicken
by on Feb. 12, 2014 at 11:39 AM
4 moms liked this

The difference is that the person being raped isn't committing a crime or actively harming another.  The person doing the raping IS committing a crime and actively harming another.  Being drunk doesn't mean you're not responsible/accountable  for your behavior.   If it did, drunk driving wouldn't be illegal for example. 

This has nothing to do with men being held responsible for behavior when women are not.    It has to do with criminals (rapists) being held responsible for the behavior, even if their victim is impaired and unable to protest.   The rapist can be either male or female (it happens, you know) and the victim can be either male or female.  It doesn't matter.   Except perhaps in the minds of this creepy journalist who seems to think that rape is synonymous with male sexuality. 


Quoting tanyainmizzou:

I read it as more of a if a woman is too drunk to be accountable for her actions, why aren't men too drunk to be accountable for theirs.

And no, I am not justifying rape.   I know how these arguments go.

Quoting SuperChicken:

So Taranto thinks a crackdown on rape is criminalizing male sexuality?   No female is safe in his presence then. 

However, imo, the most terrifying thing in this article is not some journalist defending the poor men who rape.  It's the law enforcement officer Sgt. Richard Cournoyer dismissing rape as just an oopsie that poor rapists shouldn't be held accountable for.  I bet he can't figure out why most women just don't bother reporting their rapes with dedicated officers like him around to help. 



FromAtoZ
by AllieCat on Feb. 12, 2014 at 11:40 AM
2 moms liked this

If one person, regardless if male or female, says no or if one is not able to consent, or otherwise, due to being too damn drunk to do so, the person moving forward needs to realize this and stop.

If one realizes, the next morning, what happened and is freaked out and claims rape.............................there is a hell of a lot of issues coming in to play with a scenario like that.

Best thing, don't get so damn drunk you aren't aware of what is going on around you.  Don't get so damn drunk you think you can do what ever you feel like doing.

But that isn't reality.

SuperChicken
by on Feb. 12, 2014 at 11:53 AM
4 moms liked this

Yup. 

I have a son.  He's only 11, but college will be coming up faster than I like to think.   I want him to think sex is completely off limits unless sober with express consent.  Okay, to be honest, I don't want him having sex at all, but if he does then the above WITH condoms. 

My other concern is the idea that men can't be raped by a woman.   That men who are forced to have sex are somehow lucky and should be grateful for the experience.  Or that they are too wimpy to fight off a girl.    I really really don't like that.  I think a lot more men are raped that we realize because it's social suicide for them to come forward.  :(  A drunk teen male can be taken advantage of as easily as a drunk teen girl.   

Quoting FromAtoZ:

If one person, regardless if male or female, says no or if one is not able to consent, or otherwise, due to being too damn drunk to do so, the person moving forward needs to realize this and stop.

If one realizes, the next morning, what happened and is freaked out and claims rape.............................there is a hell of a lot of issues coming in to play with a scenario like that.

Best thing, don't get so damn drunk you aren't aware of what is going on around you.  Don't get so damn drunk you think you can do what ever you feel like doing.

But that isn't reality.


FromAtoZ
by AllieCat on Feb. 12, 2014 at 12:00 PM


Quoting SuperChicken:

Yup. 

I have a son.  He's only 11, but college will be coming up faster than I like to think.   I want him to think sex is completely off limits unless sober with express consent.  Okay, to be honest, I don't want him having sex at all, but if he does then the above WITH condoms. 

My other concern is the idea that men can't be raped by a woman.   That men who are forced to have sex are somehow lucky and should be grateful for the experience.  Or that they are too wimpy to fight off a girl.    I really really don't like that.  I think a lot more men are raped that we realize because it's social suicide for them to come forward.  :(  A drunk teen male can be taken advantage of as easily as a drunk teen girl.   

Quoting FromAtoZ:

If one person, regardless if male or female, says no or if one is not able to consent, or otherwise, due to being too damn drunk to do so, the person moving forward needs to realize this and stop.

If one realizes, the next morning, what happened and is freaked out and claims rape.............................there is a hell of a lot of issues coming in to play with a scenario like that.

Best thing, don't get so damn drunk you aren't aware of what is going on around you.  Don't get so damn drunk you think you can do what ever you feel like doing.

But that isn't reality.


I have no doubt that men, of all ages, are raped and as you said, afraid to come forward.  It is a shame, it is frightening and sad.  Society views them as a wimp and otherwise.  They are just as much a victim as any female.

Females can be far worse than males at times.  In any given scenario.  


UpSheRises
by Platinum Member on Feb. 12, 2014 at 12:09 PM
2 moms liked this

There is no excuse for rape. There is also no excuse for being so wasted you can't make safe, healthy decisions regarding yourself or your interactions with others.

mikiemom
by Ruby Member on Feb. 12, 2014 at 12:11 PM
2 moms liked this

Umm because the man is the one raping the woman. WTF - this is another example of our disgusting Rape culture.

this man can not be trusted to be alone with women period.

itsmesteph11
by Bronze Member on Feb. 12, 2014 at 12:27 PM

 Must be a liberal thing. Just the other day I heard about some liberal dumbass comparing a rape to jaywalking.  Going to have to hunt that down.

Talk about war on women. It's obvious where it's coming from. 

coolmommy2x
by Silver Member on Feb. 12, 2014 at 12:33 PM
1 mom liked this
Exactly! You can still have fun without getting so drunk that you don't know what's going on. BOTH parties need to be responsible.

Quoting FromAtoZ:

If one person, regardless if male or female, says no or if one is not able to consent, or otherwise, due to being too damn drunk to do so, the person moving forward needs to realize this and stop.

If one realizes, the next morning, what happened and is freaked out and claims rape.............................there is a hell of a lot of issues coming in to play with a scenario like that.

Best thing, don't get so damn drunk you aren't aware of what is going on around you.  Don't get so damn drunk you think you can do what ever you feel like doing.

But that isn't reality.

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