Is it victim blaming? Absolutely. Sometimes the victim of a crime does stupid stuff that leads to being victimized. In her statement she said "I let down my guard and drank liquor too fast...The next thing I remember I was in a gurney in a hallway." NO ONE should put themselves in such a situation. And the rapist? He is equally to blame (picking up a drunk girl at a party and waiting until she was unconscious to rape her???) and absolutely belongs in prison (which he will avoid since he only received a six month sentence).
First, some statistics:
- People 12-34 years old are most often victims of sexual assault (69%).
- 90% of rape victims are female, 10% are male.
- An estimated 20% to 25% of female college students have experienced a rape or attempted rape during their college career.
- 9 of 10 college sexual assault victims knew their attacker.
- 43% of sexual assault incidents involve alcohol consumption by the victim and 69% involve alcohol consumption by the perpetrator.
- For more college-specific sexual assault statistics, check here.
From a preparedness standpoint, a quick review of these statistics is like "duh". In order to protect yourself from sexual assault or any other crime, use some common sense:
- If you want to get rolling drunk, do it at home, where you have people who care about you to watch your back.
- Hoping that strangers will take responsibility for your safety after you get too drunk to know or care what is going on is stupid. Luckily a couple of good guys came along to help the girl in this case but that doesn't always happen and, in this case, the help came too late.
- If you are going to be out in a social situation, have a drink or two then head for the coffee. Alcohol consumption sends your situational awareness out the window and, college student or 60 year old, when you are drunk in public you are putting yourself in a position to be victimized (sexually assaulted, robbed, beat up, etc).
- Never let your drink out of your sight--it's too easy to be roofied.
- Stay with your friends and watch their back (this is a good tip for anyone, male or female).
- Don't go off alone with a stranger or near stranger. "But it's a hook up!" Yeah, well it may come down to your word against theirs so there's that.
- If a girl (or guy for that matter) is drunk, don't even think about having sex with them. I know it looks like an opportunity but when they sober up and cry rape, you will be done for.
- If you are drunk, you are still responsible for your actions whether you rape someone or drive drunk and kill someone.
- Have a way to safely get home (taxi, Uber, a sober friend). Don't drive yourself after you've been drinking and don't rely on just anyone from a party to give you a ride home.
So, no matter where you stand on this incident, realize that your safety is YOUR responsibility. Are there some rapes that are unpreventable? Yes, absolutely. There are serial rapists and stalkers and victims that in no way put themselves in a situation to be assaulted but it happens anyway. But the vast majority of rapes, especially on college campuses, are preventable with some common sense and safety precautions. And one more statistic...alcohol and drugs are implicated in an estimated 80% of offenses leading to incarceration in the US. So there's that...