The Amherst College Special Oversight Committee on Sexual Misconduct (SMOC) has released its report, “Toward a Culture of Respect: The Problem of Sexual Misconduct at Amherst College”, one of several such reports commissioned in reponse to the college’s chronic problem of sexual assault. Dana Bolger, writing for It Happens Here, an online magazine published specifically to discuss this very problem, dismantles a number of common rape myths found in the study. For example, blaming “accidental” rape on alcohol consumption:
The existence of a link between alcohol and sexual assault is undeniable. But the common conception of the nature of this link—a conception the Amherst report espouses—understands alcohol as a cause of rape, rather than what it is: a weapon. Studies suggest that the vast majority of perpetrators utilize alcohol to intoxicate their victims—or to target already intoxicated women or men—thereby diminishing victims’ ability to resist, eliminating the necessity for physical force (and thus the existence of physical evidence), and reducing victims’ likelihood of being believed if and when they report their rapes. So too is it a myth to say that intoxicated men simply fail to ‘read the signs’ and thus accidentally rape people. Further, studies indicate that perpetrators deliberately get drunk to lower inhibition so that they can proceed with an act they intended all along.