Society

Wall Street Journal Columnist: It's Not Rape If You're Both Drunk

| by Sarah Fruchtnicht

Wall Street Journal columnist and conservative commentator James Taranto claims campus sexual assault victims who were drinking alcohol are as guilty as their attackers.

Taranto accused Sen. Claire McCaskill of waging a "War on Men" in 2013 by probing the handling of sexual assault cases by the military. He weighed in on campus rape Monday writing that, "What is called the problem of ‘sexual assault’ on campus is in large part a problem of reckless alcohol consumption, by men and women alike."

Taranto likened drunk college students to a group of drunk drivers. Just because one of the “drivers” happens to be a male doesn’t make it his fault that they “collided.”

“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,” he wrote. “But when two drunken college students ‘collide,’ the male one is almost always presumed to be at fault. His diminished capacity owing to alcohol is not a mitigating factor, but her diminished capacity is an aggravating factor for him.”

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He said when someone intervenes and takes a drunk girl back to her dormitory, they’re saving both the girl and the drunk men she would have come in contact with.

“Had she awakened the next day feeling regretful and violated, she could have brought him up on charges and severely disrupted his life,” he said. “Both of them were taking foolish risks, and it seems likely that he as well as she had impaired judgment owing to excessive drinking.”

Taranto says if the definition of sexual assault means “a person is legally incapable of giving consent,” then two drunk individuals are actually sexually assaulting each other.

“In practice it means that women, but not men, are absolved of responsibility by virtue of having consumed alcohol,” he wrote.

Taranto suggests that men can’t be expected to act like Victorian gentleman if women refuse to maintain Victorian female modesty.

He concludes by quoting City Journal’s Heather MacDonald, who wrote, “campus feminists have themselves revived selective portions of an older sexual code: they embrace the Victorian conceit of delicate female vulnerability while leaving out the sexual modesty that once accompanied it.”

Sources: Wall Street Journal, ThinkProgress, MediaMatters