Emily Yoffe, Slate’s “Dear Prudence” columnist, has some advice for women: stop getting wasted and reduce your risk of getting raped.
That sounds like a great public service message to us!
Not to some feminists, though. They didn’t like that message one teeny-weeny bit.
Here’s a play-by-play of how the whole controversy erupted.
1. Emily Yoffe posted an article entitled “College Women: Stop Getting Drunk”
You can read the whole article here. Citing a few recent rape cases, Yoffe notes that “[a] common denominator in these cases is alcohol, often copious amounts, enough to render the young woman incapacitated.”
2. It should be noted, Yoffe specifically said that she wasn’t blaming the victim in that article
Here’s what she wrote: “Let’s be totally clear: Perpetrators are the ones responsible for committing their crimes, and they should be brought to justice.”
3. The Atlantic retorted: “Slate Forgot That the One Common Factor in Rapes Are Rapists”
Apparently, the clarification mentioned in #2 wasn’t enough for some scolds.
4. The Yoffe critics begin to pile on
Writing for something called Yes Means Yes: Visions Of Female Sexual Power And A World Without Rape, Thomas MacAulay Miller writes: “I’m not linking to Yoffe’s piece. You can find it. It’s infuriating. It’s long, thoughtful, and morally bankrupt.”
That’s basically the tone of the whole article.
5. HuffPo got in on the act
The editor of Huffington Post Women wrote: “Have we lost so much faith in our male population that instead of publishing columns telling young men to stop raping tipsy women — or encouraging the expansion of programs on college campuses that work to educate students about such matters and prevent sexual assault — some of us believe it is most effective to tell women not to drink at all?”
6. Jessica Velenti was none too happy with Yoffe’s article
First graph in Yoffe’s article tells the story of a girl who “ends up being raped” – as if she tripped http://t.co/YqmB6NFLSe
— Jessica Valenti (@JessicaValenti) October 16, 2013
7. Our favorite feminist, Erin Gloria Ryan, didn’t like it either
She wrote: “Unsurprisingly, this bit of e-prudery by the woman otherwise known as Dear Prudence was poorly received because, you know, we’re all pretty tired of the ‘ladies be getting themselves raped’ trope — and for good reason.”
8. The pile-on continued
Over at something called Feministing (cool name, by the way), Lori Adelman wrote an article entitled: “‘Dear Prudence’ columnist publishes rape denialism manifesto advising women to ‘stop getting drunk'”.
9. Newsweek had the reactionariest of the reactionary headlines
You can’t top this reaction to Yoffe’s piece: “No. 1 Surefire Rape Prevention Tip For Ladies: Don’t Exist”
10. Really, though, all Yoffe was doing was promoting safety
She wrote: “But we are failing to let women know that when they render themselves defenseless, terrible things can be done to them.”
11. Yoffe also has statistics on her side
A 2009 study of campus sexual assault found that by the time they are seniors, almost 20 percent of college women will become victims, overwhelmingly of a fellow classmate. Very few will ever report it to authorities. The same study states that more than 80 percent of campus sexual assaults involve alcohol.
12. Bottom line: Maybe Yoffe was just trying to help?
No good deed goes unpunished, after all.