Dallas Police Chief’s Solution to Date Rape: Women Stop Drinking!

Erm. Right. There’s so much to unpack here it’s hard to know where to start so let’s begin with the whole quote, in context:

While discussing a 25% increase in reported rape in Dallas, Police Chief David Brown let loose this wisdom:

“We’re needing to create a message to the victims of this type of crime, related to, you know, someone you don’t know that well, you having a little bit too much to drink,” explains Chief Brown, suggesting women, “have your friends watch you” if you intend to drink in front of a man.

Thank you law enforcement official charged with preventing or at least condemning crimes like, oh say, RAPE for suggesting that if I get raped it’s my fault. It’s good to know that even though I live in a theoretically free country with laws against sexual violation, I should have no reasonable expectation of going out for a couple of drinks and not being assaulted because it’s just too much to ask guys not to sexually violate me. Guess I should leave the short skirt at home too, right Chief?

Chief Brown: I know you think your comments were misrepresented but any time you suggest it’s a woman’s responsibility to keep herself from being raped instead of reminding men that rape is a crime under ANY circumstance, including when a woman is drunk, you’re part of the problem. Men have a responsibility not to rape, you have a responsibility to never even come close to insinuating a woman is asking to be assaulted. Period.

Men of Dallas: Your Chief of Police doesn’t seem to think you possess enough self-control or self-respect to resist violating a woman who’s been drinking. Be offended by this and be part of the solution. You watch your friends and remind them that if a woman is too drunk to say ‘yes,’ she’s too drunk for sex.

Women of Dallas: Rape is rape is rape. If you were raped while drunk it doesn’t make it your fault or any less of a crime.

Commenters: Before you start lecturing me that this is simply about women taking personal responsibility for their safety while out with the opposite sex, just ask yourself why it’s up to women to make sure men don’t rape. Really, just think about that one really, really hard.

49 Comments

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49 responses to “Dallas Police Chief’s Solution to Date Rape: Women Stop Drinking!

  1. Non-Sexist Male

    It is up to men not to rape but in the case of men who are social reprobates and do not adhere to the law it is only sensible to not make yourself an easy target. The law is better able to protect you when you help to protect yourself. Chief Brown clearly misspoke and did not convey an equitable amount of responsibility but the fact remains that it is easier to investigate and legally try a rape case where the victim was coherent than it is where the victim is unsure of exact events or cannot even remember if she did consent.

    • “…the fact remains that it is easier to investigate and legally try a rape case where the victim was coherent”

      Sure it does. And what might be some of the reasons for this? Victim-blaming is victim-blaming no matter where you put it in the chain of events.

      Additionally, I find the selective agency given to women absolutely astounding. Don’t “make yourself” an easy target–because women actively work to set themselves up to be raped, right?–but if you make yourself clear –by saying no, for example–no one is actually obligated to listen to you.

      You might want to double-check your moniker, Male.

      • Non-Sexist Male

        “Additionally, I find the selective agency given to women absolutely astounding. Don’t “make yourself” an easy target–because women actively work to set themselves up to be raped, right?–but if you make yourself clear –by saying no, for example–no one is actually obligated to listen to you.”

        Way to take a single egregious case and pass it off as though it’s a rule. Who said nobody is obligated to listen to a woman who says “no?” You’re selectively using a single incident and a gross generalization to make a point. Do better.

        As far as making yourself an easy target, a woman who willfully engages in lowering her cognitive capacity, decision-making ability, and inhibitions is actively making herself a target for a predator who chooses to exploit her in that state. In no way does this justify a crime being committed against her but sorry, Virginia, this is not a perfect world and creeps do exist even when society reproaches their behavior.

        If I leave my house with the front door wide open nobody has the legal right to walk in and take what they want without permission but it would be foolish for me to expect that it wouldn’t happen if I repeatedly did it. Likewise, I can lock my door and set my alarm and someone could break in. Now which situation do you think the police would have more of an active interest in investigating? The law best protects those who best protect themselves.

        Relying solely on the actions of other people for your personal safety is ridiculous. Yes, you can and should educate men to respect a woman’s personal boundaries at all times but for those men who will not listen it helps for a woman to be vigilant about her own safety. This doesn’t mean, however, that women should not drink alcohol in the presence of men but it should go without saying that being obviously drunk without supervision is in nobody’s best interest.

      • Ray

        EAMD…i share your pain and concern. you are right. there are some people that just do not take no for an answer. My girlfriend was getting frisky after a long night of partying but even though i specifically said NO she still would not stop and ended up having her way with me. Rapists like that should be reported immediately but i knew what it would do to her sweet sweet sick mother, so i did not report it. I suffered through it. I was drunk but i specifically remember saying no over and over again. I forgave her but she has since done it a few more times. am i just enabling that rapist? To all the guys out there….we men are rape victims also. do not let these rapist women hold you down and make ou ashamed of yoruself…it is NOT your fault. YOU have just as much right to be respected when YOU say “NO” as well. God bless people like EAMD for helping get the word out that NO MEANS NO! for a guy AND a girl!

      • You betger get used to asking, mr cool – because women of today DEMAND that their men ALWAYS ask !

    • curtis

      I will repy here since there is no reply button attached to your post below. Now I know having to lock ones doors is a special burden. It is so difficult to do. Sometimes it is best just to never leave the house because, by golly, turning that key and setting the alarm code can cause carpal tunnel syndrome. How horrible! Seriously that is not something one can compare to women not moving about as freely as men in a society where we are under the same legal obligations as men to obey laws and pay taxes. Being able to go out and knock back a few in a legal establishment set aside for that purpose is something women are entitled to do and it’s not your place to say when and why we should or should not take risks. Men make stupid decisions all the time to go out and get drunk, wind up being crime victims, but there is no paternalistic chorus of goodie goodies wagging their fingers at them telling them to only drink if they follow the buddy system or be good boys and just stay out of bars. Perhaps police chiefs across America should start lecturing young men to not get drunk if they don’t want to be falsely accused of rape. As for the police taking the complaint of some people who are raped more seriously than others, well that’s not their business unless they are willing to allow certain victims the right to take the law in their own hands, along with risk taking potential victims. (Gosh, it would be nice to go out and shoot some jerk pervert in a bar, but gee I can’t do that. And yes honey we are very aware that they exist). That may limit the freedom of men to go out and drink freely but so what. That happens to women all the time. Now go nag some men about personal responsibility.

    • TexasRedbud

      Let me see if I get this right, if a police official gives advise so that the public would be safer and maybe not be a victim of a crime, then he is a monster because he did not focus on the criminal. OK , yep that makes sense.

      How silly of the police to try to protect citizens by preventing crimes. Of maybe the police should spend their time telling perspective rapist that they will go to jail? Yes, that is a much better use of their time. I am sure the human garbage that would rape, will listen to that advice.

  2. I was a Dallas Rape victim in the 1980′s and the way I was treated by Dallas Police at that time was more traumatic than the rape itself because I trusted them to treat me with some level of dignity after the attack.

    The case was totally mishandled and I was treated not only like I deserved it but also an officer kept stopping by my house unannounced to “shoot the breeze” & trying to make himself comfortable in my 1 bedroom apartment.

    He knew I was a single parent, with no support system & I was vulnerable. I suppose he hoped maybe he could get a piece of ass also. That is how he made me feel.

    Needless to say, um… I had bitterness toward DPHQ

    I pursued solving my case & thankfully found a Sargent Patrick Welch who respectfully followed up many years later & with his staff solved it despite the statute of limitations being expired.

    I was invited to testify for a bill last year that has now become a law called HB 2932 by the Sex Crimes Division of Dallas Police HQ.

    The people I have met in this experience proved to me that organizations can change but reading about Chief Brown’s comments are truly a dissapointment.

    Even if a women is totally naked walking down the street drunk this is not permission from her to have sex.

    Until we begin to revise the message we have been grooming young men with we cannot curb the idea that women are here only for your pleasure and hopefully one will pass out with their legs spread for you.

    I hope Chief Brown can see how detrimental his comments are to an entire Police Force who has tried to change their image.

    I have attached a link with my story and the subsequent bill I spoke of.

    @TruckerDesiree

  3. i don’t know if you saw it yet, but the chief has responded and andrea grimes is holding her ground well in the face of a lot of rape apologists.

    http://blogs.dallasobserver.com/unfairpark/2010/08/trying_to_understand_what_led.php

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  5. consent

    Having non forceful non violent sex after both parties have been drinking is not rape.

  6. a male still working on some of his own sh** to the "Non-Sexist Male"

    “As far as making yourself an easy target, a woman who willfully engages in lowering her cognitive capacity, decision-making ability, and inhibitions is actively making herself a target for a predator who chooses to exploit her in that state.”

    ‘Male’ you seem to be missing the most significant issue being discussed here in cases of rape. It is the responsibility of men to not rape women (and men), and in no way can someone ‘actively’ make themselves a target of rape.

    Rape (and any form of sexual violence, taunting, intimidation, objectification, etc.) is done through non-consensual means. This means that if one or more parties is inhibited and unable to consent to all acts of sexual contact (physical and non-physical) in an unaltered and safe manner then these acts are not consensual. And a ‘yes’ does not necessarily indicate that the sex is consensual. In a system that is dictated by and for the benefit of white men, one should consider that social expectations and ‘norms’ can pressure one party (women, people of color, young people, etc.) into ‘performing’ to avoid further marginalization and exclusion.

    Consent (and non-consent) takes place all the time in our daily lives. We make decisions at work and school that affect the lives and livelihood of others without consent and consideration. We purchase freely without always thinking through the exploitation that has occurred in order for products to be so easily available to us. And we consider any sexual act not met with a ‘no’ consensual.

    This act by the Dallas Chief of Police, and several of the responses this fantastic blog post has brought forward, is yet another example of a male privileged system blaming those who are subject to criminal (and non-criminal violent) behavior without ever having to look inward. Because, as long as I say rape is a bad thing I can label myself as the ‘good’, ‘non-sexist’ male. The truth is that men have a great deal to still work on inwardly and outwardly to eliminate sexualized violence and rape. This ‘work’ does not have to do with finding more ways to shift the blame onto women, but instead we can improve ourselves and our sex. Consent should take hold in our daily lives, conversation, and decisions.

  7. a male still working on some of his own sh** to the "Non-Sexist Male"

    And comparing rape to a home invasion is demeaning and disrepectful.

    • HonGyakku

      so is comparing “rape” to a drunken decision made by two consenting adults, just to be regretted by one in the morning. demeaning, disrespectful and should be illegal in itself! A drunk “male” should have the same protection under the law. A woman claims she doesnt remember giving consent?? Then so should the guy not remember giving his OWN consent and have her arrested as well. I would press charges in a heart beat! Just for guys to consider! you have JUST as much a right to remember your own consent! women are rapists also

  8. Nice start, and the more exposure, the better. Please check out http://www.stopAOW.org, site for STOP ASSAULTS on WOMEN. Funded by a company run by local Boston-area cops, provides alarms and training so that women can learn to take care of themselves, and carry device that stops a rapist, and alerts the police.

  9. Pingback: Blame the women: How to not get raped | Second Reagan Revolution

  10. Nothing about men drinking less, or getting a buddy to keep them from raping – to at least even things out?

    Blaming women simply benefits those who hold power.

    Our world is primarily defined by men, so the blame for what men do ends up on women.

    @broadblogs.com

  11. Actually, the police would investigate and respond equally, even if you didn’t lock your door. And if you withdraw money from and ATM and even count your money right there and someone beats you up and steals it, you might have been very stupid, but they are still a thief and everyone would agree it was your money and they should be prosecuted.

    Whether it is a mugging in a dark alley or a rape, there is an owner and a thief. It doesn’t matter if the victim was drunk or stupid or should have been in the dark alley. Police, DAs, juries, etc should not be concerned with those questions. Their job is only with WHO was the thief. WHO was the attacker.

    I would argue that we should stop suggesting that rape is a “special” kind of crime. It’s assault and battery, end of story. There is nothing special about it and therefore there is nothing anyone does to “bring it on,” and there is nothing about consent, and there is nothing special about men having to hold themselves back. It is an act of violence. The more we single it out (even when we say there’s something extra heinous about raping children (because then we flip it around when it’s an adult woman and it’s somehow her fault–it should be battery if it’s a kid and battery if it’s an adult, when now we want to execute criminals for raping a child, but not for just beating them up into a permanent coma, but for raping a woman we have to ask if she asked for it, but for beating a woman into a permanent coma, they can go to jail for years, all very strange).

    If possible, people should try NOT to be stupid in the same way that they should not be stupid when withdrawing money from an ATM, and to the extent that women do have to be slightly more careful than men in dark alleys, they should probably be more careful when getting drunk, but men also need to be careful when alone and drunk in strange places themselves and they probably shouldn’t count their money in front of strangers or groups of strangers either. Honestly, it’s probably a bad idea to drink alone with strangers no matter who you are. When you walk down the street at night, you keep your radar on, you do not wear your iPod. But if you do, and you are attacked, or if you are attacked in either case, it is still the responsibility of the police, the DA, and the jury, to try to bring the culprit to justice. If you are driving stoned and some other driver crosses the yellow line and hits you head on, it is still their fault, not yours, though you are an asshole for having been stoned yourself.

    As for consent, I maintain that a woman has the right to change her mind. Including after penetration. Why the hell not? What’s the big deal? A guy can pull out and change HIS mind, no matter how excited the woman is. And don’t say that never happens.

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  13. Zeborah

    When you walk down the street at night, you keep your radar on, you do not wear your iPod.

    Actually I’m starting to suspect that I get fewer catcalls when I’m wearing my iPod than when I’m not. It’s like the guys figure they won’t be able to get their kicks from forcing themselves to my attention so they don’t bother trying.

    Then the other night I found myself doing that unthinkably reckless thing, cutting through a park. And it was wonderful: not being by the road meant I didn’t have to worry about idiot guys shouting out the window at me or what I’d do if a car pulled over. I didn’t realise how tense I’d been until I relaxed. (It did help that this was the kind of park with a clear field of vision so I could see I was alone.)

    And then there was the time I caught a ride in Mongolia with half a dozen strange men because I judged it safer than staying at the bus station to be talked to by a single creepy guy. Maybe I was lucky. Or maybe situational judgement is a better guide than “Follow the rules and you’ll be safe”. It’s not failsafe of course – but the rules are even less so.

    I think rape is different than other assaults. It would in some sense be nice if it wasn’t; but it is, and its motivations are different, and its effects are different, and that can’t be pretended away. It sure would be nice if the justice system treated it the same though.

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  15. I just blogged on this issue from a slightly different angle, just saying that men lead women on all the time.

    Re iPods, it depends on whether it’s a dangerous spot, dark alley, etc. I wouldn’t job in mtn lion territory with an iPod on, or ride my road bike with one (can’t hear cars behind you), because you need all your senses to be alert to danger. Same principle, and this would apply to males equally. A guy would be stupid to be alone in a dark alley with an iPod on as well, unless it was a place where he was well known.

  16. PS my point about rape not being treated different from assault was from the POV of justice system. I think if it starts there, and if all the other crap is removed and it’s just dispassionately treated as assault/battery in that world, then gradually the other values will be removed elsewhere. Maybe not with attackers, but with the other judgments.

    • As a woman I found it hard to ask my man for sex. But one day I just asked him. Guess what, he was tlatloy surprised! But he didn’t complain! And it feels good for me to take charge and ask him when I feel like doing it, instead of always waiting for him to ask me.

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  18. kp

    http://bitterbuffalo.tumblr.com/post/910431591/whats-this-an-anti-rape-campaign-that-focuses-on …preventing rape instead of preventing women leaving the house?

    Well how about that. It is possible to have a compelling anti-rape campaign that isn’t just about what women can do to not be victims.

  19. Pingback: Liberal feminists offended when police chief suggests prevention measures against date rape - Jill Stanek

  20. stewartiii

    NewsBusters: Feminist Bloggers/Journalists Offended When Dallas Police Chief Suggests Preventative Measures Against Date Rape
    http://newsbusters.org/blogs/jill-stanek/2010/08/18/feminist-bloggers-journalists-offended-when-dallas-police-chief-suggest

  21. debiesam

    Alcohol robs us of our judgment, our reflexes, our resolve, and many other things. If we are drunk, we leave ourselves vulnerable to attack.

    You make it sound like, a couple of drinks and someone is throwing you to the ground. I think it’s more a case of a woman getting absolutely sh**faced and becoming a target. Not inviting attack, but nonetheless becoming vulnerable to attack.

    I believe people — men and women — have a responsibility to avoid dangerous situations whenever possible.

    Would you say it’s wise to stroll along a deserted street in a bad neighborhood in the middle of the night with $500 in your pocket? Sure, if you’re mugged, it isn’t your fault, you’re not the criminal — but didn’t you bear some responsibility to avoid that area if you could?

    I tell my 16-year-old daughter don’t drink because that leaves her vulnerable to rape (not to mention police arrests). This is common sense.

    I also tell her to avoid dark areas, don’t walk alone at night, call me if she needs a ride home because a friend is too plastered to drive, and so on.

    We call these precautions — measures “taken in advance to prevent something dangerous, unpleasant, or inconvenient from happening.”

    • Zeborah

      The point is we should be telling our sons not to drink because it leaves them vulnerable to accidentally raping someone. Or leaves them vulnerable to not noticing that one of their friends is raping someone.

      We also shouldn’t be warning our daughters about the dangers of strangers without also warning them about the dangers of friends and family, because acquaintance rape is far far far more common than stranger rape. But “Never trust a friend” isn’t so palatable, is it? Far easier to make-believe that if we take enough precautions restrict our freedom enough we’ll be safe.

      Go ahead and tell your daughter about all the rules/precautions/etc. But please also talk to her about what to do if, one day, despite taking all these precautions, someone rapes her anyway. Because it happens. It happens a lot.

      • Guy

        What does “too drunk to say yes” mean? Is the man responsible for determining whether the yes was from someone too drunk to consent? As the father of both sons and daughters, we teach the boys to be respectful of women, and the girls to be wary of men.

      • Ray

        Zaborah, also teach your daughter that if she gets so drunk that she says yes to rape, then when she sobers up she regrets it that this new feeling does NOT constitute rape…. ummm, this happens a lot also. Also, explain to her that a woman can just as easily rape a male under the same defenition once he says no and she refuses to stop. You are doing her a great disservice only teaching her half the ugly truth.

  22. Zeborah

    Guy: Of course the man is responsible for determining whether the yes was from someone too drunk to consent. Likewise the woman is responsible for making the same determination. If either of them is too drunk to figure out whether their partner actually wants sex (which, actually, is not that hard of a determination), then they’re too drunk to have sex and are responsible for, y’know, not. And if they go ahead and have sex anyway, and later wake to find that when their partner was not consenting, then they’re as much to blame for the rape as someone who gets drunk and drives and kills someone.

    Here’s the thing. Do you teach your daughters to be wary of all men? Do you teach them to be wary of just strangers, or do you also teach them to be wary of their classmates, and their best friends’ brothers, and their teachers, and your best friends, and your brothers? Because statistically, most rape isn’t from strangers. There are a lot of times in a woman’s life when it is safer for her to walk home alone than to be escorted by a trusted family friend.

    Do you teach your daughters to be wary at their schools, their workplaces, their churches, their libraries, their friends’ homes, their supermarkets, their own home? There are a lot of times in a woman’s life when she’s less likely to be raped in the park in the middle of the night than in her own bedroom on a sunny afternoon.

    Do you think it’s healthy for your daughters to be wary all the time? Even if you still think it’s safer for them to be wary than not to be wary, don’t you just want to scream in anguish at the emotional toll this perpetual wariness will take on them in future years and decades?

    And do you teach your daughters how to cope when their wariness is perceived as frigidity? Because it’s all very well to say “Sticks and stones will break your bones” but how much comfort do you think that will be to a teenager who wants to make friends?

    Do you teach your daughters that if, despite all their wariness, someone does something to them, they are guaranteed 100% support from you, no questions asked, no “should have”s implied? Because if, every time the topic of rape comes up, you mention something that the woman could have done to avoid it, then your daughters could well be learning that, if they get raped, you’ll be thinking about what they should have done to avoid it.

    If, every time the topic of rape comes up, everyone talks about what the woman should have done to prevent it, your daughters will be learning that, if despite all their wariness they get raped, the whole world will be thinking that they should have done something to prevent it.

    Who will they go to for help and support then?

    • Keecia

      No. This is completely offensive. A man who is impaired as much as a woman cannot be held liable for having what would be sober judgment, in the same light that a woman cannot consent when she is too intoxicated. And, who is to say that at the time she does not consent, but is later uncomfortable with her character shift on alcohol.

      Women, we are grown ups and responsible for our decisions, whether sober or intoxicated. If we cannot be held responsible, then it should be illegal for us to drink, for the legal safety of the man who thinks he is getting consent. Take some responsibility for yourselves. It’s disgusting. If no has been said, that’s clear, but please stop saying yes and the ruining some poor schmucks life because you can’t keep your panties up when you’ve been drinking, and hate that about yourself. You’re giving the rest of us a bad name.

      • Zeborah

        I said both men and women are responsible for determining whether their partner consents; how is that offensive?

        If someone is too drunk to drive legally, but chooses to do so anyway, the law still holds them liable even though they’re drunk. If someone steals while drunk, or murders while drunk, the law holds them responsible. Similarly someone who rapes while drunk should be held responsible.

        Someone who gets drunk and then becomes the victim of a mugger, or of a murderer, isn’t blamed or told that they’re giving others a bad name. Similarly someone who gets drunk and is then raped shouldn’t be blamed, because this person isn’t the criminal; they’re the victim.

  23. HonGyakku

    Simple truth should be this…..If a woman is held accountable for her actions and is deemed respoinsible when she decides to get behind the wheel of a car when she is drunk then she should be held responsible for her actions in saying “YES” to sex even if drunk. You can not and should not have it both ways. Either a drunk person is responsible for their actions, whether male or female, or they are not! How can you excuse a drunk woman for saying yes but expect a drunk male to take responsibility for HER actions? In this case where the woman does NOT remember giving consent then the man should be asked if he remembers giving consent…if he says NO then they should both be arrested. How is a drunk male supposed to be more responsible than a drunk female? NO ONE ever asks the male if he gave consent! Men, start pressing charges!

  24. chris

    The chief was basically saying that it’s obviously not the woman’s fault for rape, she shouldn’t make it easier to become a victim by only going out with someone she just met the day before and drinking out of control. Who does that???? A lot of women!!! It’s always easy to misconstrued words when it works to our advantage but if you are a woman and you go out with a guy you have only known for a week or less and you participate in risky behavior such as over indulging in drinking or experimenting with drugs, or wear revealing clothes…. it’s not your fault that some pervert guy abused you. He should be abused himself and the put in prison for the rest of his natural life with everything he owns goes to you.
    However, you have to look at your actions and the decisions you make to prevent yourself from becoming a victim. Rape is rape in my book. Not sure how the he’ll date rape is different than rape but whatever…. just use your intuition and always follow your heart and the crime won’t. Go away but it’d happen a lot less.

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  34. Stop Date Rape

    Okay…so from what it looks like, the only two who offered solutions to date rape were Kelan and myself. Nobody else offered anything. Very, very similar to how Congress operates…happy to sling mud, but don’t expect a solution. Not surprising…leadership is simply a reflection of the people, especially in a democracy. So when you complain about Congress, just look in the mirror.

    So, just to recap and close…we have two types of solutions to date rape:
    1. Proactive:
    a. Try to train and raise better men and women – stop treating our young adults like kids and help them to understand that their actions do count (and can hurt)…even at 13-14. If we do this, we will not only make a dent in the incidence of date rape, but we will also see less bullying, less poverty, fewer criminals and more creativity, intelligence and overall success.
    b. Remove enablers of date rape
    i. Alcohol: start seeing the light that alcohol (not just alcoholism) is a disease and it does nothing except create hurt, reduce wealth and even take lives.
    ii. There is no date rape without “date”: Let us teach ourselves and our kids that we don’t need “dates” (being alone, alcohol involved) to learn more about someone. Meeting with friends for coffee or meeting at family dinners are far safer.
    c. Stop supporting artists who support objectification of women (e.g. Rihanna, Miley, Rick Ross, etc, etc… They are all getting rich at the expense of our girls/women). In addition to pornography, these people get rich while brainwashing our men into having false perceptions of women.

    2. Reactive: Do a web search…these are all over the internet. They usually involve advice to the woman as to how to protect herself from being a victim. Obviously, this is all just status quo, as till this day, we have date rape and victims.

    So the next time we hear about date rape (and our inaction as members of this thread and as society at large guarantees there will be a next time), let’s not hem and haw. Instead, we should again go to the mirror and scold ourselves for not doing anything for stopping it. Hopefully no more women will become victims before we collectively see the truth.

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