Some men feel that too much responsibility for preventing sexual assault has been put on their shoulders, said Chris Herries, a senior at Stanford University. While everyone condemns sexual assault, there seems to be an assumption among female students that they shouldn’t have to protect themselves by avoiding drunkenness and other risky behaviors, he said.
“Do I deserve to have my bike stolen if I leave it unlocked on the quad?” Herries, 22, said. “We have to encourage people not to take on undue risk.”
I’m not a huge fan of singling out random individuals for internet outrage and mockery. While Chris Herries happened to answer a Bloomberg reporter’s questions honestly, he is far from the only person who thinks this way. So to all the Chrises out there:
Yes, you are correct. We DO, in fact, believe that women have the right to get absolutely shit-faced, wear whatever the fuck they want — including nothing at all — in public, flirt, dance, and engage in all the “risky” behavior that young people do, and not STILL NOT HOLD ONE IOTA OF “RESPONSIBILITY” if we are assaulted. As I wrote after the Steubenville verdict, “I want to live in a world in which people can get too drunk–while out with friends or acquaintances or total strangers–and expect that they will be hungover, not sexually violated, in the morning. I want to live in a world in which girls have the right to be reckless and not get raped, and I want this to not be a controversial statement.” This common idea that rape is an inevitability — that many, if not most, men will take advantage of a drunk woman if given the chance and so we must be constantly on guard — sends a message to the small number of rapists out there that their actions are normal and accepted. They are not.
(For the record, I also don’t think it’s too much to ask that people refrain from stealing unlocked bikes. Just don’t be an asshole.)
I hope Chris, and anyone who agrees with him, uses that fancy education of his to think a tiny bit harder about how putting the onus for preventing sexual violence on victims directly undermines efforts to end it.
(h/t The Cut)
Maya Dusenbery is an Executive Director of Feministing.