Now Defending the Rape Culture: James Taranto, Wall Street Journal

February 11, 2014

by Eternal Hope at Daily Kos

You would have thought the Republican Party had learned its lesson after the landslide defeat of Todd Akin in the 2012 election. But certain people are obviously in a time warp. James Taranto believes that intoxicated sexual assault victims are just as guilty as their attackers. In his own words:

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.    […]

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. 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.

As the Foundation for Individual Rights in Education notes, at some campuses the accuser’s having had one drink is sufficient to establish the defendant’s guilt … In theory that means, as FIRE notes, that “if both parties are intoxicated during sex, they are both technically guilty of sexually assaulting each other.” In practice it means that women, but not men, are absolved of responsibility by virtue of having consumed alcohol.

And then the GOP wonders why there is such a perception that they are hostile to women.

In fact, this assertion has been debunked by mainstream science:

   The fact that alcohol consumption and sexual assault frequently co-occur does not demonstrate that alcohol causes sexual assault.    […]

[M]en are legally and morally responsible for acts of sexual assault they commit, regardless of whether or not they were intoxicated or felt that the woman had led them on previously. The fact that a woman’s alcohol consumption may increase their likelihood of experiencing sexual assault does not make them responsible for the man’s behavior, although such information may empower women when used in prevention programs.

For years, the GOP made hay out of building more prisons, sending more people to jail, and creating a police state. But now, all of a sudden, it was apparently National Hug a Thug Day at the offices of the Wall Street Journal yesterday.Let me be really clear — I despise the police state. There are way too many non-violent offenders who are locked up in prison, sentenced to terms way out of proportion to the offenses they committed. But there is a place for government, to protect all of us against the real criminals. Given Taranto’s remarks, it is obvious that the modern police state is about imprisoning non-violent offenders while letting the real criminals get away.

This was not the sort of piece that ever should have appeared in a business publication such as the Wall Street Journal. What sort of message does it send to our young people? That you can do whatever you want as long as you can get away with it?

We all agree with Taranto that we as a society should be careful to avoid making false accusations of rape or any other crime for that matter. But the fact of the matter is that when someone who is that young drinks alcohol, they are a lot more likely to become intoxicated quickly and to do things that they would never dream of doing when sober. At that young age, the human brain has not sufficiently developed to the point that it does once you turn 25. Therefore, someone of college age who is in an intoxicated state is no more capable of consent than someone who is 13 years old.

Ultimately, the best defense against rape on college campus as well as false accusations of rape is prevention. The problem with one size fits all standardized testing is that it turns kids into robots when what they need is practical skills to deal with situations that they will encounter in work, college, or home life. Kids need to be taught the effects of alcohol on the human brain and that no means no. Given that a writer of Taranto’s caliber is enabling the rape culture that is too prevalent in our country, it is obvious that standardized testing is failing our kids.