First, she prints the letter of one "Disgusted," whom one can only assume is representative of the more genteel end of the critical spectrum. Writes "Disgusted,"
I am absolutely appalled at your answer to a recent letter from "Victim? In Virginia." This letter was from a college student who got drunk at a frat party and was then raped by a guy she met there. You didn't even seem to care about what happened to this young person. Did it even occur to you that she might have been drugged at this party? You were more focused on blaming her for drinking than answering her question in a responsible way. I am disgusted at your answer and think you owe her an apology.
You can read Amy's full response here, but suffice it to say that, although she apologizes, right off the bat she recaps the situation thusly: "After saying in advance that she didn't want to have sex, she did have sex." Why this fear of the term "rape?" Yes, it shouldn't be tossed around lightly, but when it's legally accurate and journalistically appropriate, it's far more irresponsible to sugar-coat what Dickinson concedes could be an important source of information and conversation for others.
And as to that "awful judgment?" Well, she stops just short of being sorry the overly sensitive took offense, but does say that she "regrets how harshly" she expressed herself.
As a mother (and stepmother) to five daughters — four in college — I have counseled (and worry about) all of my many daughters because of how vulnerable they are if they choose to drink. Drinking to intoxication poses very serious security issues for our daughters and sons, because being drunk impairs judgment and the ability to discern risk....Because "Victim" wondered where the line was, I tried to draw it for her. My intent was to urge her (as I often urge readers) to take responsibility for the only thing she could control — her own choices and actions — but I regret how harshly I expressed this. I certainly didn't intend to offend or blame her for what happened, and I hope she will do everything possible to stay safe in the future. I'm grateful that she chose to share her question with all of us, because talking about it will help others.
Well, yes, all this drinking talk is very well, but doesn't really address the initial problem. "Victim" asked if she was raped; Amy refused to say so. (Indeed, "Victim" was already critical of her own judgment; Amy effectively contributed nothing but more blame.) This - and her continued refusal to distinguish between "sex" and rape - are what appalled Disgusted and the rest of the literate world. I understand that Amy doesn't want her daughters putting themselves in risky situations - which in itself is an awfully sweeping generalization about the morals of anyone in a Greek organization - and, sadly, these parties can be that because of bad people. Not because of the victims or their presence or their sobriety. Just one, sincere "yes, that's rape and it wasn't your fault" would have gotten the job done. But maybe she's just extra eager to prolong this great conversation.
Response To Rape Victim Was Too Harsh [Chicago Tribune]