- The Washington Times - Friday, October 12, 2018


#MeToo’s an important crusade; sexual harassment, assault, attack are all blots on humanity, particularly against the female side of humanity, and ought to prosecuted to the fullest extent of applicable laws.

But it’d be nice if #MeToo weren’t simply a finger-point. It’d be nice if the campaign hit hard as an educational tool, as well.

How about the notion of personal accountability, ladies?

Take a look at this story, courtesy of Fox News: A Missouri State University student named Zachary Alperin, age 22, was charged with second-degree rape and sodomy after he allegedly assaulted a women who just attended a #MeToo rally. The couple agreed to meet and go out for drinks.

From Fox: “They went to a few bars in the downtown area and went back to the woman’s room on the MSU campus. Feeling intoxicated, she told Alperin he could sleep over but not to touch her, according to a probable cause statement. After she fell asleep, she awoke to find him on top of her naked, she claimed. Alperin allegedly performed sex acts before she pushed him away. ‘I guess I tried to force myself on her, and I feel like such a terrible person for it,’ Alperin allegedly told police.”

He faces a seven-year sentence, if convicted.

No doubt, if the charges are true, he deserves punishment.

But one has to wonder: Where was this woman’s common sense?

Alcohol-plus-invite-to-sleep-over equals, in the minds of most clear-thinking individuals, open door to intimacy. That’s the society we live in today; that’s the reality of the hook-up culture. Just because she says “don’t touch” doesn’t make the instinct to touch go away. 

#MeToo might frown, but really, talk about mixed messaging. Talk about foolish and risky behavior on the part of the woman.

Once again, let’s be clear: The guy in this scenario didn’t have a right to touch her. No guy in any scenario has a right to sexually touch any woman without permission.

But how about some wisdom? How about some good old-fashioned common sense? If women are going to go get drunk with guys and then invite them to sleep over — if they’re going to engage in risky and even stupid behaviors — then women ought not be shocked and outraged when stupid things happen.

It’s called being mature and making wise decisions. And a #MeToo movement that ignores the aspect of self-protectionism — that doesn’t include emphasis on the power and ability and intellectual prowess of women to make wise decisions — is simply doing a disservice to women. Why? It’s a movement that says women are defenseless, helpless, even somewhat stupid victims.

It’s a movement that on one hand paints men as dogs, but on the other hand, simultaneously, allows the dogs, drunkenly, in the door — only to decry, shocked, when they act like dogs. Does that make sense at all?

No. It does not.

Women are often victimized by men. Women are frequently sexually harassed, assaulted and attacked by men. These are truths.

But women are not completely without reason, discernment, self-control, wisdom and powers of self-protection — and #MeToo is missing the boat and a great teaching moment by failing to distinguish between true victims of sexual crimes and victims who could’ve taken a bit more care with their own behaviors.

• Cheryl Chumley can be reached at [email protected] or on Twitter, @ckchumley.

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