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Dallas Police Chief’s Solution to Date Rape, Ctd.

I’ve had the drive home to think more about what Chief Brown said. I’ve also had time to have a few conversations with a wide variety of mindsets – including Andrea Grimes, who is indeed following up on that exchange. But what comes out of this whole thing, for me, is this:

The chief was asked a question about a very high statistic – a 25% increase in rape in the city. As chief, I would hope he would have something more concrete, more tangible, to answer Delia Jasso’s question with. Telling a woman to not have so much to drink is not a plan to combat rape of any kind, including date rape. I would’ve rather have seen an answer more like, “Well, we’re looking at the causes, and are planning several initiatives, including better education for both men and women.”

Because date rape is not the same thing as post-coital regret. Yes, I know both sexes get the two confused, but date rape is taking advantage of someone who is in no condition to consent. Post-coital regret? Well, that’s waking up the next day or even 20 years later and going, “Why the hell did I do that?”

And yes, there is a certain amount of responsibility on both sides to avoid date rape. People should be smarter about where they drink, how much they drink, and who they’re with. People should realize that a sloppy drunk is not a potential sexual partner, and that the better part of valor would be to put that person in a cab, not your bed.

The solution to date rape is not to address women only by telling them not to drink so much, any more than it is to tell homeowners not to have nice stuff, stores to not take cash, or people to quit getting in the way of bullets is a plan to avert burglaries, armed robberies and murder. And that’s what’s disappointing about what happened yesterday. It’s OK to say, “You know, we’re studying this, and I’ll have a more concrete answer and plan for what to do about it next time.” But to haphazardly assert that the onus is on women to avoid rape only perpetuates the idea that women ask to be raped by their actions or their dress.

I’m just more disappointed, than anything, that the guy in charge of keeping the city safe is the one to say it this time.

9 comments on “Dallas Police Chief’s Solution to Date Rape, Ctd.

  1. After driving home, I had a similar thought. I think that it’s fine to tell women to remember to be careful, they same way they post signs reminding you to hide or take your valuables when you leave your car in the mall parking lot. This doesn’t mean it’s your fault someone breaks into your car and steals your stuff, but since there are people out there who want to take your stuff it’s a good idea to be careful. What he said, though, doesn’t sound like this.

    I agree that it would have been a much better idea to simply say that they’re looking into it, and try to formulate a plan to combat this rising trend. To just say that they need to tell women to drink less sounds like you’re not only putting the blame on the victims, but that you’re oblivious to what the actual problem is.

  2. Slow news day at D? No new products or trends to report on? How can the police department prevent the perpetrators of date rape from committing the offense? Chaperone dates and step in if there’s non-consensual sexual touching? The only practical way to impact date rape statistics is by educating potential victims on how to avoid being victimized. Sure, you can throw perps in jail, but by then it’s too late for the victim.

  3. Let’s clarify something here. Date rape is not limited to those who have been drinking or are in no position to consent. It can happen if you are stone cold sober, and refuse and fight back. Trust me. I’ve been there. And was brutalized for hours and dumped in a ditch and left for dead. All because I wouldn’t go out on a second date with a guy. I hadn’t had anything to drink. I screamed no. And I fought. But because I had dated this guy once in the past, it was classified acquaintance rape, which is now known as date rape.

    Rape of any kind is about power and control, not about sex. It is about violence. And whether you have been drinking or not, no one deserves to be raped.

    I appalled and ashamed of our police chief’s response. But don’t buy into it – alcohol may lower inhibitions, but it doesn’t ever excuse violence. Ever.

  4. Bethany, I’m going to start off by quoting you…”date rape is taking advantage of someone who is in no condition to consent.”

    How, exactly, are women getting into a condition where they can’t consent? What if they are saying yes, even though they are way past the point of making a rational decision? Yes can mean no? What if the guy is too drunk to realize the girl is too drunk?

    Along that same vein, are you saying a sober woman can’t be date-raped?

  5. I agree with both Jeremy and Jeez. In particular, I applaud Chief Brown for giving a straight, non-politicized answer to a question.

    I pine for the politician who does not avoid hard questions with round words. I do not understand why Ms. Anderson wishes him to give her, a feel-good, evasive one.

  6. Um, did it occur to anyone that we might shame the rapists a little more? An important message when it comes to sexual assault is to stop the assault.

    Of course, do your best to not put yourself in vulnerable situations. But mostly, rapists, you should stop raping. And Chiefs of Police should have a more nuanced understanding of the situation he described, no matter if his intentions were good.

  7. The chief was pointing out that many of the date rape cases involved alcohol. What he was talking about is called situational awareness. You’re on a date with someone you don’t know that well. You need to keep a clear head on your shoulders. Drinking lowers your inhibitions and makes it more difficult for you to be aware of your surroundings. Stay focused and stay sober until you know the guy better. It’s good advice.

    Also note that the word “women” was not used during the exchange. This could just as easily be a male-on-male situation. The advice he’s talking about is for the “victims” to be more careful. Although women can be victims of violence, they’re not the only victims.

    Video here: http://crimeblog.dallasnews.com/archives/2010/08/what-dallas-police-chief-david.html