Kansas City Columnist Tells Women To Not Get Drunk If They Don’t Want To Be Raped

People can be really fucking stupid — like this Kansas City columnist who thinks women shouldn’t get drunk if they don’t want to be raped. How stupid of me. For some reason, after the shitstorm surrounding the Stanford rape trial and Brock Turner’s sentencing, I sort of assumed (I know, so stupid) that most people got the gist of rape culture and the nature of consent. Especially women. The column, which has since been deleted but is preserved for ever and ever in screenshots sent to Jezebel, was in the “Midwestern Voices” voices section of The Kansas City Star and written by one Laura Herrick. 

It should make your stomach turn. According to Jezebel’s screenshots, the headline was “Women Can Take Action Against Rape.” Herrick says that she “empathizes” with victims and wants men to know that “no means no;” however, she then says every shitty thing that every shitty person usually says when a women is raped, especially after she’s had a drink or two, debunking the fact that she “empathizes” with women at all. You might want to crack half a Xanax before you continue reading, because this shit is rage inducing.

Point by point, she ignores all rational ideas of what “consent” means, blames women for getting drunk around men, and even insinuates that women lie all the time about being sexually assaulted. Let’s go through her column point by point.

“If a woman is so intoxicated that she can’t remember giving consent for sex, then how can she know that she didn’t give consent?”

Herrick, being drunk precludes any chance of consent. If your hypothetical son was sexually violated while he was drunk, maybe you would understand. It’s not that a woman can’t remember if she gave consent. If anyone is swaying or slurring, that’s a solid no and we need to teach boys and men that that’s how it goes. I can’t believe we are even having this conver-fucking-sation.

“When men drink, their decision-making abilities are also limited. If a woman was too drunk to know what she was doing and should be excused for what happened, then why are men not allowed to be too drunk to make good decisions?”

So, this is what is generally known as “victim blaming.” Let’s put it this way, in a super extreme example. I get drunk and make “bad decisions,” like eating a burrito at 2 a.m. or consenting to go home with my ex-boyfriend every now and again. But, I know that, say, murdering someone is a felony. So is rape. So even at my drunkest, I don’t think about murdering people (OK, maybe the guy who butts in line at the taco truck but that’s just a passing thought). Likewise, men should know that even if they are drunk, they shouldn’t have sex with a woman who can’t stand the fuck up on her own or can’t keep her eyes open. And that if they do, just like if they murdered someone, there will be consequences. If you found a dead body, would you blame that dead body for having drinks before being killed? Well, Herrick might, but she’s obviously not very bright.

“She’s not asking to be raped by being drunk. But isn’t it her responsibility to reduce the risk by not getting to that point? And if you wake up the morning after doing the ‘walk of shame’ don’t yell rape if you regret your actions of the night before.”

Listen, Herrick, of course getting stupid drunk isn’t the healthiest choice for anyone — male or female — and learning to moderate your drinking is a grown up skill. At the same time though, being raped is never the victim’s fault, and most women understand the difference between regretting a one-night stand they were down for at the time and someone having sex with them without their consent. Law enforcement and society and everybody’s default reaction to a rape claim should be to believe the victim and then ask her questions without blaming her for having one too many gin and tonics and smoking a joint outside with an asshole.

It’s infuriating that this isn’t just common sense. It’s even more infuriating that a grown woman with a platform (even if it is just The Kansas City Star) perpetuates this victim blaming shit.