If you're familiar with Total Frat Move, you're probably familiar with Catie Warren. Catie, known as "From Rush To Rehab" on the various Grandex media properties, is a popular writer -- and for good reason. She's talented and funny, but her latest column misses the mark.
Her post titled "Stop Crying Rape" was meant to be an upfront article to show how women should own their actions and not blame guys from their drunken sexual encounters. However, the problem with her column is that there is so much generalization. While I understand her sentiment, I do not agree.
I get it. In college especially, girls make tons of drunken decisions, some of which end up being mistakes. As do guys. After describing the process of a typical college night out at the bars, Catie ends her paragraph saying, "We didn't like that we had wandered into the bed of someone who was even more intoxicated than we were, and we didn't like the fact that we woke up wearing nothing but a dirty rush t-shirt. And so we freaked out." Freak out? Yeah, that definitely happens. Cry rape? Nope, that's not nearly the same thing.
I don't think women cry rape because they feel guilty about their drunken transgressions. I think women cry rape because it's rape. And the sad reality is that "rape and sexual assault are the most underreported crimes in the world, and it's very hard to say that the problem is declining," according to Christopher Krebs of RTI International.
The reality of the fact is that many women (and men) are afraid to report rape. I can't imagine how scarring it is, and it is something that I wouldn't wish on anyone. I don't think, by any means, college girls just stroll into precincts, point their finger, and accuse touchy-feely frat boys of raping them just because they had one too many vodka-crans the night before.
As a very recent alum, the infamous college debauchery that Catie describes is all too familiar. Going shot-for-shot with your guy-friends and managing to blackout happened fairly occasionally. From beer Olympics to Tour de Franzia, I confess that I myself have participated in the very binge drinking that results in bad mistakes. But never have I ever been in the gray area that Catie questions exists between the "spectrum of rape and a consensual one-night-stand." So many women, do though. Women that I know. And I'm sure women that each and every reader on this page know as well.
I've heard way too many gut-wrenching stories about guys getting too physical, aggressive, and downright scary in what was meant to be a casual fling after a crazy night out. And somewhere things get frightening, when you end up stuck in the land of "It's 4 am, this dude just spit on my face, all my friends are at home passed out, I'm barely conscious enough to know what's going on, but I do know that I may be more at risk walking through the city streets alone right now than I would if I stay here and see what happens." That's just one of the many reasons that women -- particularly in college -- end up right in the middle of that very gray area that Catie is skeptical of. It's not quite rape, but it's not quite consensual anymore either. And I know many of girls who have ended up in that situation, but none of them have ever cried rape.
So is Catie saying that women who end up in questionable situations should just suck it up and own it? While I prefer, even on my drunkest nights, to spend my nights in my own bed, falling asleep to Netflix, I can't fault my friends and peers who don't agree. Just because you choose to go home with a random guy doesn't mean that you automatically forfeit any right to object to his sexual wrongdoings.
It comes down to the fact that women aren't actually crying rape at all; instead, women are overwhelmingly silent because of fear, shame, and because of the very gray area that complicates rape in the first place.
The major problem with Catie's article is that she overgeneralizes rape to be some silly little thing that entitled college girls claim when they're too embarrassed to admit that they willingly had a one night stand. She does not address that rape occurs in a much broader world than on college campuses. Short skirts do not perpetuate rape, alcohol does not perpetuate rape, and one night stands don't perpetuate rape. Rapists perpetuate rape -- regardless of the circumstances.
I believe that if you want to have casual consensual sexual encounters with people, you can. And you should, as Catie says, own that aspect of it. Take your stride of pride in peace. It's not my business or anyone else's to scrutinize your actions.
Rape, however, is not in anyway consensual, peaceful, or okay. So why would you own up to something just being a drunken hook-up when it was really something more, and much worse? I would appreciate some statistics to back up Catie's stance of drunk girls crying rape for the sake of saving face. Do I think that situation occurs? Yes. Do I think it occurs overwhelmingly enough to write a column focusing on that without addressing the broader world of rape beyond college dive bars? No. I think that this narrow-minded take on rape was horribly misguided and missed the point that girls -- drunk or not -- get raped all the time. Worst off, they're afraid to admit it or report it.
I do believe that if you want to "cry rape," you should. Let's face the facts: rape truly is underreported. Sadly, it's also over-criticized, and sensationalist articles like the one posted on Total Frat Move exemplify exactly why this is the case.
This blog post originally appeared on The Miss Information.