This is an interaction from The View where Whoopi Goldberg et al were discussion the Rolling Stone story on rape at UVA

Rosie Perez: I do not understand the parents who do not tell their sons, ‘please don’t be a rapist.’ This is wrong. When you go to college, when you go anywhere, you be a gentleman, you be a man about it and don’t rape young women on campus.

Whoopi Goldberg: We’ve gotta teach both. We have to teach both because sometimes, you know, our young women get out there and drink themselves into a stupor. I’m not attacking, but I am saying there is some responsibility. When you go to a frat party, don’t get blind drunk. Don’t put anybody in a position of being able to take advantage of you. You don’t need to do that. That’s all I mean. That’s all I’m saying.

Dear Ms. Goldberg, drinking alcohol makes a woman easier to victimize but it does not at all make her responsible for her sexual assault much in the same way that leaving a laptop visible in your car does not make you responsible for the broken window and the theft of your laptop. Victims are not responsible for crimes, criminals are.

Discussing sexual assault is difficult because it is so very important to be careful and not let our societal tendency to victim blame insert creep into the conversation. Once words like responsibility and alcohol use are linked to the victim the suggestion is made that in some universe (Goldberg’s anyway, not mine) that it is ok to have sex with a woman who is so intoxicated that she is in a stupor.

I do believe discussions about alcohol use are important, but mostly because drinking yourself to the point of incapacitation is not healthy in many ways not related to sexual assault. I have seen young people with alcohol poisoning as a result of binge drinking (never mind the long-term effect on the liver and brain), some who have needed intubation in the emergency department because they couldn’t protect their own airway. Women AND men who are drinking to the point of being in a stupor need some education about their alcohol use. Period.

While drinking alcohol does make it easier for rapists to prey on and assault women, that does not mean that women who drink are responsible for their sexual assault any more than if they wore a mini skirt, took a short cut through a back alley, or were in a foreign country because a woman can never be responsible for her sexual assault.

So the discussion of alcohol and sexual assault must be handled very delicately. It is right to point of things that increase a woman’s chance of victimization just like pointing out the alleys where assaults have happened, but the word responsibility should never enter into the discussion because when it does, especially conversations with national audiences, it helps to maintain the false narrative that somehow of all victims only a rape victim is responsible for her own assault.

If a man thinks having sex with a woman who is stuporous or passed out is okay then he is on his
way to being a rapist. Once he has sex with a woman who can’t consent he is a rapist. Perhaps Whoopi has been spending too much time listening to the opinions of her pal Bill Cosby?


When you say a woman bears some responsibility for her sexual assault you are attacking. You are becoming part of the problem, especially if you have national platform. You are insinuating that somehow no means yes and that women are for the taking, consent or consciousness be damned.

As Whoopi must be one of the few people not to see this video I suggest she watch it so she can learn more about responsibility when a woman has had too much to drink. Maybe Rosie Perez can mention it because she was the one speaking the truth, that when it comes to sexual assault we need to teach men not to be rapists. End of discussion.



Join the Conversation


  1. I hope Whoopi was being unclear in making her comments.

    I can remember having a talk with a friend’s daughter before she went off to college about all the bad stuff that could happen and how she needed to be careful because she was very petite and her alcohol tolerance would be less than others. Warning someone to protect herself isn’t saying she’s responsible for what happens to her if she does get drunk and passes out.
    It’s the same as teaching someone to look both ways before crossing the road. If she got hit by a car, isn’t the driver still responsible?

  2. While we teach men not to rape, in the meantime what do we do? As someone who has experienced a lot of violence and who knows she was not to blame, I would still advise my daughters not to drink at a fraternity party to the point of intoxication if at all. Just because we teach men not to rape, what do we do about the percentage of sociopaths that are out there? They do not embrace our lessons. Do we not teach our daughters self-defense because we are focusing efforts on teaching men not to attack us? No. Ditto rape. Take care of yourself and your mind at all times women. NO YOU DO NOT ASK FOR IT WHEN YOU DRINK AT A PARTY, then again, sometimes you do not ask for the date rape drug either and that is what Mr. Cosby allegedly was using per reports of some of his accusers. If I had to do it all again, I would not get drunk at fraternities. I am not willing to put my life now or advise my children to put their safety in the hands of others and the fact of the matter is, alcohol impairs judgement. I am not a fan of everything Ms. Goldberg says and does, but I cut her slack on this one and I write from experience. Anyway, I do not mean to disagree. Your blog is powerful and needed but as a survivor and mother, I am teaching my daughters to look both ways before they cross the road, to love themselves and treat their body right always and not to trust that men are going to do what is right. Drinking to the point of black out is not healthy regardless of the added horror of rape.

  3. When Whoopi says not to drink, is that so you don’t get raped or ‘raped raped’ as she so aptly categorized ‘real’ rape vs the drugging and rape of a 13 year old girl. She was good in Ghost. Otherwise, she seems like a fucking idiot.

  4. Hi Jen , I refer to this sentence
    Maybe Rosie Perez can mention it because she was the one speaking the truth, that when it comes to sexual assault we need to teach men to to be rapists.
    Should be ” teach men NOT to be rapists ” ?

  5. I’ve been done with Whoopi since she defended Roman Polanski for drugging and raping a 13 year old:

    “I know it wasn’t rape-rape. It was something else but I don’t believe it was rape-rape. He went to jail and and when they let him out he was like “You know what this guy’s going to give me a hundred years in jail I’m not staying, so that’s why he left.”

    Because apparently in Whoopi’s world, it isn’t rape if the woman or young girl is intoxicated.

  6. Yep. Right on. There are different levels to the abuse of alcohol. It shouldn’t be so hard to keep them clear. 1. Rapists use alcohol as a weapon. To use your analogy of the laptop left on the front seat – alcohol is the hammer that the thief uses to smash the glass. That’s very different from a second problem: 2. Binge drinking among young people is a pathology, both a peer pathology of groups, and a personal pathology of people failing to negotiate the corners on the road to adulthood. So, yes, Whoopi, those two things are different. Let’s help kids who are whipping down drinks – we need a culture of help. But at the same time, a rapist who uses alcohol or drugs as a weapon gets no free pass. It’s just like using a hammer, or a knife – it’s assault with a weapon.

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