Sharing information about youth substance abuse prevention so that, together, we can create safe and healthy communities.
Tuesday, November 19, 2013
Adolescent medicine nurse provides advice about binge drinking and sexual assault
Over at the Teenology 101 blog, Jen Brown, RN, writes about binge drinking:
Recently there was some media buzz about women and alcohol, and how our society should approach the topic.
It all started when Emily Yoffe, a writer for Slate, wrote this column on college women, drinking, and sexual assault. If you don’t feel like reading the whole article, a headline pops up on the website which sums it up: “The Best Rape Prevention: Tell College Women to Stop Getting So Wasted”. (To be fair, the article is more nuanced than that, and I’m not convinced Ms. Yoffe wrote that tagline.)
The response to the article was swift. Someresponded with rebuttals while others stronglyagreed. The New York Times ran a “Room for Debate” piece that had a number of interesting viewpoints. Basically, opinions seem to fall down two lines: one party thinks women imbibing alcohol become vulnerable to sexual assault, and they should be told not to drink in order to protect themselves. The other sees this as a victim-blaming piece of advice that support a status quo in which rape culture runs rampant, and young women are expected to prevent their own rape.
So, even though I’m late to the game, I thought I’d give my take on this (although I’ve covered a lot of it in my Teens and Sexual Assault series).
I have no problem with advising women not to binge drink. I have no problem with advising men not to binge drink, either. Binge drinking is unhealthy, dangerous, and unless you’re over 21, illegal. And yet as we all know, teens and young adults both above and below 21 are binge drinking. We can educate young people, try to lower the risks, support policies that discourage alcohol abuse, and hope that the problem will diminish. But despite our best efforts, some teens and young adults will continue to use alcohol, and most in the U.S. will attend a few drunken parties.
So what is wrong with advising young women to protect themselves from becoming vulnerable? Nothing, in my opinion, as long as it’s a small piece of a much larger picture we are presenting.