Ask Amy: "How Dare You Call Me A 'Rape Apologist'”

Illustration for article titled Ask Amy: "How Dare You Call Me A 'Rape Apologist'”

Following her, ahem, controversial advice to a rape victim, Chicago Tribune advice columnist Amy Dickinson has refused to respond to, or post, negative reader reaction. However, she did write in to one critic...who, in turn, shared with the Sexist blog:


If you'll recall, "Victim? In Virginia" wrote in asking Amy whether the non-consensual sex forced upon her at a frat party against her explicit protests, was, in fact rape. Her "Sobering Advice to Rape Victim" (the paper has since changed the headline) included the line "first, you were a victim of your own awful judgment," and a hefty dose of victim-blaming. Thus, we imagine this reader letter was not the only one of its kind:

From: [Redacted]
Sent: Saturday, November 28, 2009 2:33 PM
Subject: Please pass this on to the rape victim you attacked in your Nov. 27 column

Here is the Virginia code's definition of "Rape";

"A. If any person has sexual intercourse with a complaining witness who is not his or her spouse or causes a complaining witness, whether or not his or her spouse, to engage in sexual intercourse with any other person and such act is accomplished (i) against the complaining witness's will, by force, threat or intimidation of or against the complaining witness or another person, or (ii) through the use of the complaining witness's mental incapacity or physical helplessness, or (iii) with a child under age thirteen as the victim, he or she shall be guilty of rape."

If the lady who wrote to you asking for help never gave consent and thus had sex against her will (see 1) OR if she was too incapacitated by alcohol to legally consent (see 2), she most certainly was raped and she should know that the law is on her side, even if you aren't.

Oh, and you're being talked about here:

Couldn't happen to a nicer rape apologist.

Dickinson responds:

From: Ask Amy
Sent: Sat 11/28/2009 3:56 PM
To: [Redacted]
Subject: RE: Please pass this on to the rape victim you attacked in your Nov. 27 column

Did you even read my column? I quoted extensively from the Rape, Incest and Abuse Hotline's definition of rape and suggested that she check her state's laws? Where I said that if she says no at any point, it's rape? I don't know if you didn't bother to read my column or if perhaps it was edited heavily in your paper, but please . . . how dare you call me a "rape apologist."

I see you are a student or affiliated in some way with [law school]? I would expect someone from [law school] to be more educated, careful, respectful and circumspect. I'm not sure why I would expect that, but I'll adjust. Meanwhile, I don't pass inanities along to people who write in to my column. I figure this young person has suffered enough indignity.

Amy Dickinson

But, see, if Amy's going to get outraged at everyone who objects to her "tough love," she has a long slog ahead: A "Tell Amy Dickinson to Correct Her Rape Victim Blaming Advice Column petition is circulating demanding that Dickinson amend what the authors term "insensitive, irresponsible, and factually incorrect advice." And so far 370 signors have endorsed the "inanities."

Rape Question A Matter Of Consent [Chicago Tribune]
Ask Amy To Reader: "How Dare You Call Me A ‘Rape Apologist'" [D.C. City Paper]
Tell Amy Dickinson to Correct Her Rape Victim Blaming Advice Column [Change.Org]

Earlier: Ask Amy To Rape Victim: "First, You Were A Victim Of Your Own Awful Judgment"


Jenna Sauers

Amy Dickinson is also the least funny person on "Wait, Wait, Don't Tell Me," ever. Coincidence? I think not.