Susan Patton, aka "Princeton Mom," has a question for rape victims who knew their attackers: "Why [did] you not just get up and leave?"
During an interview with CNN's Carol Costello on Dec. 9, Patton claimed that the recent discussions about campus rape are defining rape incorrectly, and that women should make more of an effort to extricate themselves from "prickly" situations.
"The definition of rape is no longer when a woman is violated at the point of a gun or a knife," Patton said. "We're now identifying as rape what really is a clumsy hookup melodrama or a fumbled attempt at a kiss or caress."
After allegedly speaking with a rape victim who had been taken advantage of by an acquaintance after they had been drinking, Patton said, "I thought... well, there's rape and then there's rape."
Patton suggested that women limit their drinking to make sure they did not find themselves in a position to be taken advantage of. As Elizabeth Plank at Mic put it, "In the very backward world of Princeton Mom, rape victims should be viewed skeptically, and preventing assault is the responsibility of the victim, not the perpetrator."
Patton insisted that she was "not victim-blaming," but instead offering sound advice: "I’m suggesting that women be smart for themselves, remain sober enough to extricate themselves from a situation that’s headed in a direction they’re not comfortable with.”
Except that shaming victims for drinking does nothing to alleviate the fact that campus rape happens. And as for Patton's concern that college men are being unfairly accused of rape after a woman has a "regrettable sexual experience," men are more likely to be sexually assaulted themselves than be falsely accused of rape.
In general, victims of campus rape are unlikely to report their assaultS -- possibly related to the fact that fewer than one-third of campus rape reports result in an expulsion.
While initiatives such as "yes means yes" consent laws and "consent is sexy" campaigns aim to teach all students how to ask for and recognize consent, Patton is more focused on a woman's alleged role in not getting herself raped.
Rounding out the conversation by comparing rape to being robbed, Patton said: "We could teach burglars not to steal. But better advice? Lock your door."