Stanford University has taken down an outrage-inducing web page titled “Female Bodies and Alcohol,” just two days after it introduced a similarly received ban on hard liquor at undergraduate parties, which was billed as “a targeted approach that limits high-risk behavior” but many felt was victim-blaming.
Stanford made national news when student-athlete Brock Allen Turner was sentenced to just six months in jail after being convicted of three counts of felony sexual assault. School officials said the campus liquor ban was not a direct response to the Turner case, but rather “came out of general concern and is part of the school’s efforts to examine educational efforts and policies around alcohol use.”
Well, it appears Stanford did not take the time to examine the educational materials on its own website. ThinkProgress pointed out the “Female Bodies and Alcohol” page (now archived), which does have helpful information on how women metabolize alcohol differently than men, but also includes a section on sexual intent and aggression. An excerpt:
Research tells us that women who are seen drinking alcohol are perceived to be more sexually available than they may actually be. Therefore, women can be targeted with unwanted attentions due to that misperception. One study found that, for women, the odds of experiencing sexual aggression were 9 times higher on days of heavy drinking compared to days when the women did not drink. Individuals who are even a little intoxicated are more likely to be victimized than those who are not drinking.
Other research studies have shown that men who think they have been drinking alcohol—even when they have only consumed a placebo—feel sexually aroused and are more responsive to erotic stimuli, including rape scenarios. For some, being drunk serves as a justification for behavior that is demeaning or insulting, including the use of others as sexual objects.
For students who choose to consume alcohol, they offer strategies for
“optimizing the positive effects of alcohol and avoiding negative
consequences.” One such strategy is to “make a decision about sex that
night before you go out; bring protection.” How non-blaming of them.
A spokesperson told USA Today that the page had been live for “many years” and only recently received criticism. (The information is from 2006.) They’ve updated the page with information that makes no mention of sex and included the following statement at the top: “We would like to apologize for an outdated and insensitive article on women and alcohol that was here. The content of the article did not reflect the values of our office. We are sorry for the harm that the article may have caused people who read it.”