Tuesday, December 17, 2013

"College Women: Stop Getting Drunk." Is that enough?

In an article written by EmilyYoffe for Slate.com, the author uses the radical title, “College Women: Stop Getting Drunk”, to highlight the link between alcohol excess and sexual violence. The main message in this article is that while women are not responsible for their sexual victimization, when their judgment is compromised due to alcohol, the risk of having sexual violence perpetrated against you is elevated. And we have lots of examples in the media of this occurring – Stuebenville, the U.S. Naval Academy, etc.
The premise of the authors proposed prevention strategy is focused strictly on potential victims protecting themselves by not putting themselves in potentially risky situations. This is an important conversation to have with our girls…and boys. This message is challenging because it focuses entirely on what the victim needs to do rather than how do we stop those who perpetrate violence. And this latter question is hard to answer.

The Sexual Violence Prevention (SVP) Program funds community agencies to engage youth in conversations about healthy behaviors. Several funded agencies incorporate sexual violence prevention and substance abuse prevention in to their curricula. At the top of the Slate.com article, it says that telling women to stop drinking so much is "the best rape prevention." Though that may be one step toward prevention, the best rape prevention is to teach our boys and girls about healthy sexuality, healthy behaviors, and create communities where positive behaviors are the norm.