But man, it still feels vindicating, doesn’t it?
When researchers at the University of Toronto and the University of Washington observed young people’s behavior in bars, they found that the man’s aggressiveness didn’t match his level of intoxication. There was no relationship.
Instead, men targeted women who were intoxicated.
The researchers hired and trained 140 young adults to go into bars in the Toronto area and note every incident of aggression they saw. They found that 25 percent of all incidents involved sexual aggression. And 90 percent of the victims of sexual aggression were women being harassed by men.
And Feministing says:
So contrary to the myth put forth by everything from Robin Thick’s song “Blurred Lines” to Wall Street Journal writer James Taranto‘s claim that drunken sexual assault is akin to “two drunk drivers…in a collision,” sexual aggression does not just happen because people get drunk and confused. Alcohol is a tool, not a root cause. The study’s author, Kate Graham, says, ”People should stop believing that [Robin Thicke] song. The lines really aren’t that blurred.” An predators know what they’re doing. “If you walk through a bar and grab a woman’s breasts and then disappear into the crowd, that’s probably not a misunderstanding,” Graham says. “You don’t actually think that she wants you to do that.”
The reason this is so important is that the way we understand these dynamics has real-world consequences for how we approach preventing sexual violence. The myth that drunk victims gave off “mixed signals” underpins some of the worst victim blaming and outright rape denialism we see regularly. And, as we’ve discussed extensively on this blog, since predators knowingly look for the most vulnerable-seeming potential victims, “rape prevention” efforts that focuses on telling individual women how to decrease their personal risk are inadequate. As Alexandra’s said before, “Until we create real systemic change, anyone’s individual efforts to not be [the drunkest person in the room] don’t actually reduce rates of violence.”