I Was a Drunk Teen Girl, But I Wasn't 'Asking for It'

Rant 28

Jane DoeThe "Jane Doe" who stood up in Steubenville, Ohio after being raped by two members of the football team and was bullied by half the town is just a 16-year-old girl. But her courage and bravery in the face of such hatred and opposition really should serve to inspire women twice her age. Not all of us could do what she has done.

"Jane Doe" was ostracized in her hometown, threatened over the Internet, and even bullied online by strangers. Even here, on CafeMom, so many people said, "Well, it's true that Trent Mays and Ma'lik Richmond were bad, but hey, she shouldn't have been drunk."

Well, here is your reply. As feminist writer Jessica Valenti says so eloquently: "The worst a dude expects if he passes out drunk at a party is maybe a few dicks Sharpied on his face. But women should just anticipate rape?" Is that really the culture we want to hand to our children?

The number of stories from college and high school that I have to tell could fill a book. Friends who didn't exactly say no. Friends who were drugged. Friends who had tampons pulled out of them in order to have sex with men to whom they never said yes. One friend passed out on a couch and three men had sex with her and she never knew it until she was told by a "disgusted" girl four days later:

"You are such a slut."

We accepted this. I am so ashamed to say it. But we did. We chalked it up to college and laughed it off as things that happened to drunk girls. And this was more than a decade ago, people. Why have things not gotten better?

I remember the high school party when I was just 16 where I passed out and woke up with some guy's hands up my shirt and under my bra. He called me the next day: "I was really drunk," he explained. "I know I did some crazy things, but I can't remember what. So I am calling everyone to apologize."

I remember the college party where a friend's friend took my arm and led me, stumbling, into his door room where he proceeded to push my head toward his crotch. I started but I never wanted it. I was in and out of consciousness, but I finally pulled my head up and shook it. He kicked me out of his room.

"You shouldn't have gotten so drunk," a friend told me. Even though she had been just as drunk two nights before. Even though every person -- girl and boy -- got that drunk on a weekly basis at our "little Ivy League" school. So when he came by my dorm room to apologize and high-five me -- "we're cool, right?" -- I told him we were and never even considered it wrong. Until now.

I am twice the age of that brave Steubenville Jane Doe, and I am only now looking back on experiences I had and realizing how wrong they were. I thought that was just what happened to girls who wanted to have fun and laugh and let loose. Girls who wanted to flirt and be playful, but not necessarily have sex.

Bull shit. This is what it means when feminists talk about our "rape culture." And every comment below that says a girl who is drunk is asking for it or asks where the parents were or otherwise somehow excuses this behavior on the part of men and boys excuses this.

Well, pardon me while I say a hearty screw you. I am done participating in this. I have a 6-year-old daughter, and while I am not thrilled with the idea of her drinking to excess, I also know it happens. I know that even if she does have too much to drink, no one has the right to put their hands on her body unless she expressly tells them they can. Period. End of story.

There is no other answer. It took an incredibly brave 16-year-old girl to teach a grown woman this lesson and I am so grateful to her. This isn't OK. It never was.

Do you blame women for getting drunk?


Image via Dan4th/Flickr



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LostS... LostSoul88

No woman deserves it. No matter how drunk they were, no matter what their outfit looked like. If you haven't been raped then you have no say. I was rapped at 14 because I refused to have sex with the boyfriend I had at the time. Now did I deserve it because I should have gave in? Myabe he taught I was a tease. But Being beat and raped was no fun. I am sick of this society defending sick people like those two high school players. I would never ever wish rape on anyone but I don have to say those who think it's was her fault. Would you say the veery same thing to your daughter if it happened to her? Tell her well it's your fault, you deserved it. You had what was coming to you. Would you honestly say that to your child? A friend? Mother? What if it was YOU and that was said to you would you believe it? I highly doubt any one said yes to those questions so why is it okay for a complete stranger to be violated in such a way?

nonmember avatar andie

You tell 'em, Sasha! Anyone who says that the Steubenville girl was asking for it is DEAD WRONG. No one has the right to do that to someone who makes the mistake of drinking too much. What the hell is wrong with our culture that people think that's ok??

nonmember avatar Gina

Thank you for writing this. I totally agree.

jessy... jessyroos

Well said Sasha. This is the scary thing about rape culture: it's been like thi for so long, the message is so pervasive, we have gown up not even thinking to question it. No person has the right to touch anyone else without their permission. And when we tell the world that a woman was asking for it by being drunk or wearing a short skirt, we tell men everywhere that we don't expect anything from them. We tell men that they are too stupid to have self control or be the good guy. The message to both men and women is disgusting and we need to change it.

nonmember avatar KA

I am sooo grateful I had friends who would have never let that happen to me. So many times I got sloppy drunk, but someone was always sober enough to make sure I or anyone else we were with went home w/the group & were watched out for. Other women who say this girl in some way or another was asking for it SHOULD BE ASHAMED OF THEMSELVES. If a man is willing to disrespect a woman in an inebriated state he's willing to disrespect her when she's not & he has no respect for himself either. Women AND men MUST be taught that it IS NOT OK to assault another individual whether inebriated or not. Period.

miche... micheledo

I blame women for getting drunk.  I do NOT blame them for being taken advantage of or being raped.

On the other side of the coin - what about the guy that is so drunk, wants sex, and isn't coherent enough to realize the girl is also drunk and never said yes?

How about just saying no drunk sex??

(My comment about a drunk guy has NOTHING to do with this case in Ohio.)

Serab... Serabelle

i whole heartedly agree with Sasha! This cutlural short sightedness that ours (and many other) country has going on where they blame the victim, she shouldnt have worn that, she shouldnt have gotten so drunk, she was flirting and teasing him, how was he supposed to know it went to far? this has to stop! Young men need to be educated early on in when it is and isnt ok to have sex with a girl (and unless she expressly says yes, then the answer is always no!). Something has to change, and I believe it is up to us women to start this change. we must educate our boys, we must encourage our girls to have the same bravery this young woman had. What happened to ths poor girl is tragic, but hopefully people can learn from it.

nonmember avatar Ashleigh

No, it's absolutely not right for boys to put their hands on girls when girls get too drunk. But you know what? It happens. It's happened for decades and unfortunately, it doesn't look like it's going to stop any time soon. So you know what I do? I talked to my 18 year old cousin about what happens at some of these parties and that she CANNOT trust boys and that she does not need to get that drunk at those things. I'm also going to teach that to my daughter. If I have a son, he will learn not to treat women that way. Ever. As a society, we can say something "should be this way" or "shouldn't be that way." But the reality is, this is how it is. So until it changes, we need to teach girls how to protect themselves. That includes not getting stumbling drunk at a party. And in my case, it includes getting my CHL so I can protect myself if I'm out after dark alone. It's our job as a society to change the way things are, but until this culture changes I'll be teaching my daughter and other girls I love how to protect themselves.

nonmember avatar Debbie

Parents, teach your children! Boys and girls need to know these things. Most importantly, teach your kids that it is not okay to be the one standing around letting it happen and taking pictures.

Roche... RochesterGal

No, I don't & I agree 100% what your article. I am 55 yrs young & I had similar stories happen to me; & alot of my friends did too and we did the same thing, blame ourself for being drunk.  This little girl was beyond brave & boy did she get ostrasized for it, this needs to change now!  Of course, we tell our daughters not to be drunk - well good luck with that, unfornunately it is a right of passage for alot young people, whether we like it or not because of situations like this.  My daughter has a male friend who was roofied at a college bar & raped; it was horrifying and that sobered her up, but not everyone has a sad story like this to alter their life.  Good luck to this brave girl & I hope this experience does not define the rest of her life. 

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