Binge Drinking by Women Does Not Cause Rape


Instead of blaming the victim by telling women to stop binge drinking to avoid being raped, Mychal Denzel Smith argues at the New York Times, society should tell men to stop committing rape.

Binge drinking is not good for you. I don’t know that there is a person alive who would argue otherwise. People should avoid binge drinking and the deleterious health effects that come along with it.

What’s sad is that I have to state such an obvious fact before I’m allowed to state another (what should be) obvious fact: binge drinking doesn’t cause rape.

Calling for young women to become teetotalers as a solution to the problem of rape on college campuses is not only old advice, but also wrongheaded and dangerous. 

Not solely because, again, drinking does not cause rape, but also because once you begin focusing on the actions and behavior of the victimized you ignore the role of perpetrator. In the case of rape, those perpetrators are men.

If the goal is to reduce or eliminate rape, getting men to stop raping would seem the logical solution. But this would involve an honest conversation about our devotion to a warped and toxic vision of masculinity, sex and power that would completely uproot the current social order. It’s easier to just tell women to stop drinking.

Read Mychal Denzel Smith's entire piece at the New York Times.

The Root aims to foster and advance conversations about issues relevant to the black Diaspora by presenting a variety of opinions from all perspectives, whether or not those opinions are shared by our editorial staff.

Share This Story

Get our newsletter