Education Violence Against Women

Stanford’s Ban on Hard Alcohol Sends the Wrong Message About Sexual Assault

This past Monday, Stanford University banned hard alcohol from undergraduate parties and residences in the wake of the national outrage following the Brock Turner sexual assault case. The school argues this will create meaningful change surrounding campus drinking culture. Critics believe this is a problematic response to a larger epidemic of sexual assault on college campuses.

Two months ago a judge handed down a lenient sentence to Brock Turner, who was charged with three felony counts of sexual assault, after he was found assaulting an unconscious woman following an on-campus fraternity party. He only received six months jail time and will be released on September 2.

During the trial, rapist Brock Turner blamed his actions on Stanford’s ‘party culture’ and ‘alcohol’.

According to Stanford professor, Michele Landis Dauber, this policy will do more harm than good. She stated, “I actually think this is putting students in danger. It’s going to drive it underground.” Like many others upset with Stanford’s handling of campus sexual assault, Dauber feels that “Sadly, Stanford appears to agree with Brock Turner that ‘alcohol’ and ‘party culture’ are to blame for his conduct.”

Studies have shown that banning alcohol alone will not lower rates of sexual assault. Further research has also found that the link between alcohol and sexual assault is not as direct as we claim it to be.

The message activists and sexual assault experts want to be heard is absent in Stanford’s new alcohol ban. As Lauren R. Taylor and Jessica Raven explain, “Alcohol may be used as a weapon, or an excuse for aggressive behavior. But the only thing necessary for a rape to happen is the presence of a rapist”.

Sources:

Stanford University Office of Alcohol Policy and Education; Feminist Majority Foundation 6/10/16; The Guardian 6/7/16; The Guardian 8/22/16; The Independent 8/23/16; National Sexual Violence Resource Center 2015; Think Progress 10/29/13, The Washington Post 6/10/16

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