Susan Patton says inebriated rape cases should be viewed as a 'learning experience'

The 'Princeton Mom' said the definition of rape had changed

Antonia Molloy
Friday 12 December 2014 17:18
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Susan Patton
Susan Patton

In the wake of Lena Dunham’s college rape allegation, Susan Patton, the author known as Princeton Mom, has said that rape is often being confused with a “clumsy hook-up melodrama”.

Patton said that the definition of rape had changed and that some alleged assaults should be viewed as “a learning experience”.

Speaking on CNN she said: “It no longer is when a woman is violated at the point of a gun or a knife. Were now talking about - or identifying as rape - what really is a clumsy hook-up melodrama or a fumbled attempt at a kiss or a caress.”

In light of the fact that most rapes are carried out by someone the victim knows, Patton said: “It makes one wonder why do you not just get up and leave? Or why do you not as a woman tell a man who’s making advances that you’re not comfortable with - you know what, stop, leave. Stop and lave.

Asked by presenter Carol Costello whether she had spoken to a rape victim, Patton said a woman had told her she had been scared to stop an assault because she was “frazzled” and didn’t want to lose the man’s affection.

“Well, there’s rape and then there’s rape,” Patton said.

“I believe she experienced something that she regretted. I believe she got very drunk and had sex with a man that she regretted the next morning. To me, that’s not a crime, that’s not rape, that’s - a learning experience.”

However, Patton stressed that she was not blaming victims: “I’m not talking about a woman who’s blacked-out drunk.

“I’m suggesting that women be smart for themselves, remain sober enough to extricate themselves from a situation that’s headed in a direction they’re not comfortable with.”

Many Twitter users reacted furiously to her comments:

Earlier this week Girls creator Dunham explained why she had spoken out about her experience and addressed the negative responses she had received.

“Speaking out about the realities and complexities of sexual assault is how we begin to protect each other,” said Dunham in an article on Buzzfeed.

“You can help by never defining a survivor by what has been taken from her. You can help by saying I believe you.”

Patton is known for writing an open letter to women at Ivy league universities, in which she urged them to find a husband before graduation.

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