College Accused of Blaming Rape Victims Because It Warned Students About Suspicious Drinks

Preventing rape is more important than preventing offense.


Damned if you do and damned if you don't: the Claremont University Consortium recently offended campus feminists because it warned students not to accept drinks from strangers at parties. Such common sense suggestions promote "rape culture" and are akin to blaming the victim, according to one student.

It's better not to pass along good advice if said advice empowers women to protect themselves in any manner whatsoever, I guess.

The criticism was directed at a Claremont McKenna College dean who sent an email to students alerting them to an alleged scourge of date-rape drugging incidents, according to Campus Reform. It's not clear that any drinks were actually drugged—the evidence was anecdotal—but the administration thought it best to remind students to keep an eye on their drinks at all times. That's hardly earth-shattering advice, and it certainly isn't offensive.

Or so one would think. Student Kay Calloway wrote in a statement on Facebook that the email was "disgusting" and "unacceptable." "This is rape culture," she wrote. "By no stretch of the imagination is it the fault of the drugged students that our campus is made unsafe."

But, as National Review's Katherine Timpf pointed out, the administration wasn't actually blaming the drugged students (if any even existed): it was merely passing along some sound wisdom. Timpf writes:

First of all, the school did say that drugging drinks "will not be tolerated." Second of all — and you'd think this would be obvious — everybody already knows that drugging drinks is bad. People who drug drinks don't do it because they don't know it's wrong; they do it because they are the kind of people who don't care that it's wrong.

Like it or not, these kinds of people do exist. It's important to be vigilant, and the school should not hesitate to educate students about potential threats on campus.

The blame should—and does!—rest with the person committing the crime, not with the victim. But when schools make a good-faith effort to educate potential victims, they aren't transferring blame. People like Calloway should stop searching for offensive subtext where none exists. We can only reduce rape on campuses if we are allowed to actually discuss its proximate causes. To those who say we should stop blaming rape victims, I say: stop pretending that anyone other than the rapist was blamed.