The Democratic National Committee’s press shop is hyperventilating over a remark made by Ohio Gov. John Kasich. In answering a question about sexual assault on campus, the Republican presidential candidate gave a detailed answer,“You have a place to go where there is a confidential reporting, where there is an ability for you to access a rape kit, where that is kept confidential, but where it gives you the opportunity to be able to pursue justice, after you have had some time to reflect on it all.” He pointed out he had instituted those changes in his state’s schools. At the end Kasich added: “Don’t go to parties where there’s a lot of alcohol.” He received well-deserved applause.
The last remark was fine advice, maybe the most practical suggestion one can make to young women about this topic, up there with “Do not walk back to your dorm alone late at night.” The DNC, however, ignored everything before that last remark and had a conniption, declaring: “While President Obama and Vice President Biden are leading the way to help stop the epidemic of sexual violence on college campuses across the country, Republican presidential candidates like John Kasich and Donald Trump are insulting women everyday [sic] on the campaign trail by blaming victims of sexual and domestic violence.”
Excuse me? Kasich did not blame anyone, and the DNC’s reaction suggests its leaders don’t respect women enough to treat them like young adults who need some basic advice from their elders. (Would the DNC also object to telling students to lock up their bikes so they aren’t stolen?)
In one of the best discussions of the campus sexual assault issue in all its dimensions Mona Charen wrote last year:
Emily Yoffe of Slate ran into the feminist buzz saw when she wrote that “The campus culture of binge drinking is toxic, and many rapists prey on drunk young women.” The website Feministing.com called her piece a “rape denialism manifesto.” A college professor objected that Yoffe was echoing “the old Puritan line that women need to restrain and modify their pleasure-seeking behaviors” and that represented “a big step backward.” Most critics emphasized that society need to “teach men not to rape. Period.”
Common sense and about 5,000 years of human experience suggest that women keep themselves as safe as possible, mindful that they are the smaller and weaker sex, that some men are not gentlemen, and that even seemingly nice men can behave badly when drunk. They might also want to consider that their own judgment will be impaired by alcohol. Such simple truths were conveyed from mothers to daughters for eons.
That is precisely right, and the DNC’s fit over sound parental advice (Kasich has two daughters, by the way) shows how ideology that is so divorced from reality and willfully blind to human nature harms the very people it is supposed to help.
On this one, Gov. Kasich, you couldn’t be more right. And one has to ask the folks at the DNC: Do you recommend your underage daughters go to college parties with lots of alcohol and large numbers of young men whom they may or may not know?