WIBU when i thought i was looking out for this friend?

(48 Posts)
doodah246 Tue 10-Sep-13 11:11:01

Have name changed in case I get flamed for this. In AIBU for traffic.

I had a conversation with a friend recently that has played on my mind a bit and i wanted to know of i am the one out of line.

friend and i are both at uni. Friend was telling me about a house party recently. She did not know anyone at the party and got'black out drunk' to the extent where she can't remember what took place and subsequently passed out on the floor in this house.

i felt that this is a ridiculously stupid thing to do and in a friendly sort of way just implied that by getting as drunk as she did she was leaving herself very vulnerable to having things stolen and worse.

she went completely mental, said i was victim blaming and didn't speak to me for a short while.

to me it was never any sort of feminist debate over what shed done and just me looking out for her as a friend - she's from a tiny village and is at uni in a big city and i do worry about her.

so was i being unreasonable by what i said? I wouldn't like to think i was as i think its a pretty horrible thing to accuse someone of being and i was just trying to look out for her.

apologies for any spelling mistakes, im on my phone.

quesadilla Tue 10-Sep-13 11:29:12

YANBU and friend sounds very silly to put it mildly. Also confused by her talking about "victim blaming." How can she be a victim of her own unbridled need to pour booze down her own neck? Either she is being very self pitying or something nasty happened there while she was under the influence. Are you sure it isn't the latter?

If not she sounds rather a lost sheep... I think going to a party where you don't know anyone and drinking yourself into a stupor suggests she is lonely and distressed or perhaps has a drinking problem. Has she done things like this before?

medhandthekiddiesvtheworld Tue 10-Sep-13 11:34:56

Its victim blaming because you are suggesting if something happened it was her fault for being passed out and not the persons who did the something for doing it

that passed, an element of personal safety doesnt go amiss

sadly however rapists rape because thats what they are - a decent man/woman would help her

Seaweedy Tue 10-Sep-13 11:41:42

What Medhand said, really. Someone is raped because they are unfortunate enough to encounter a rapist.

Having said that, your friend sounds naïve and vulnerable. I would never recommend that someone gets drunk enough to have a blackout in a houseful of strangers, taking the chance that she is surrounded by decent human beings.

Tee2072 Tue 10-Sep-13 11:44:43

If something had happened, it wouldn't be her fault. It's not okay to steal or do anything else to someone just because they are passed out drunk.

But there is a level of personal responsibility that she doesn't seem to be achieving.

The way I look at it is that if you put yourself in a dangerous situation, you are not causing the bad thing to happen, but you might be making it be you that it happens to on that particular occasion.

Rapists rape because they want to exert power over someone else, not because they see a short skirt and can't contain themselves.

It does border on victim blaming to say something like "you're so lucky nothing happened" because 99% of the time one can get falling-over drunk and suffer nothing worse than a hangover. Being taken advantage of would be incredibly unlikely and unlucky; being left alone is the expected outcome.

At university I was incredibly angry with a friend who rather patronisingly insisted my then-boyfriend walk me home along a fully lit busy road because of a perceived rape risk. Statistically I was hugely more likely to be raped by him in my house or his than by a complete stranger with dozens of witnesses, but she wouldn't have thought of advising me not to be alone with him.

Fleta Tue 10-Sep-13 11:50:18

I absolutely agree that the victim has no blame whatsoever BUT I think leaving yourself particularly vulnerable as in this case is something I as a friend would be concerned about also

Fleta Tue 10-Sep-13 11:51:52

My other point would be - imagine the worse happens and you DO encounter a rapist.

If I was sober I would think I would have a fighting chance of (a) maybe fighting the bugger off and (b) recognising him so I could give a decent report to the police.

If I was absolutely drunk to the point of blacking out (a) you are unlikely to be able to fight anyone off and (b) possibly unable to recognise. So he gets away with it.

quesadilla Tue 10-Sep-13 11:56:49

Hold on a minute though... The OP hadn't said her friend said anything about being raped. Of course it wouldn't be her fault if she had been taped but I interpreted this "victim blaming" as being a reference to her having got pass out drunk...

Confused. OP can you clarify?

quesadilla Tue 10-Sep-13 11:57:22

Raped, even

LRDMaguliYaPomochTebeSRaboti Tue 10-Sep-13 11:59:43

I am guessing since you're on MN and at university, you're perhaps a bit older than most undergrads, or at least in a different place in your life? Because university students aren't exactly MN's target demographic.

Perhaps she felt a bit patronized. I agree with others that it is victim blaming, because no-one should steal or rape in any situation. And I think you might consider that you scared and upset her when she was looking for reassurance. Not that it's bad to tell a mate getting blind drunk is a stupid thing to do, but there are ways and ways of doing it. I wonder if she is actually now afraid that something did happen?

Kaluki Tue 10-Sep-13 12:01:48

Its the same as saying that if you don't lock your car it is more likely to be stolen isn't it?
That's not saying that you would deserve it but saying that it makes it easier for thieves to steal it.
If I go out to a place where nobody knows me and pass out drunk I am more likely to be a victim of theft/rape/whatever than if I am sober and in a public place.
Its stating the bleeding obvious surely!

LRDMaguliYaPomochTebeSRaboti Tue 10-Sep-13 12:04:29

I don't think it is the same, though.

A car is an inanimate object. Of course you'd be furious if it were stolen, but there's something much scarier and nastier about rape, surely?

WilsonFrickett Tue 10-Sep-13 12:07:14

It's not stating the obvious though Kaluki, at all. You are no more likely to be raped by a stranger if you are drunk. You are much more likely to be raped by someone you know, in your own home.

So it's not obvious, you are wrong. rape myths busted

medhandthekiddiesvtheworld Tue 10-Sep-13 12:12:59

If I was sober I would think I would have a fighting chance of (a) maybe fighting the bugger off and (b) recognising him so I could give a decent report to the police.

This can also be interpreted as victim blaming sadly.

Interestingly - I get my DH to walk female friends home - not in case they are raped, but out of a sense of politeness, in exactly the same way as if I drop someone to their house, I wait until they open the front door and let themselves in before I leave,

I had never thought about it being patronising before.

Kaluki Tue 10-Sep-13 12:32:04

Surely though if a rapist is at a party and there is a drunk girl there who is at the point of passing out she is more likely to be the victim than the sober girl who is surrounded by her friends. That's the common sense element.
I think it is just common sense to take care of your personal safety and not to put yourself in any danger.
I absolutely would not ever blame the victim, in an ideal world we would all be safe whatever we do but life isn't like that and we should all keep ourselves as safe as we can.

medhandthekiddiesvtheworld Tue 10-Sep-13 12:33:50

Kaluki - if we wanted to keep ourselves as safe as we possibly could, that would be best achieved by remaining single, having no male friends and never going out - as we are far more likely to be raped by a friend/partner than a random stranger.

LovesBeingOnHoliday Tue 10-Sep-13 12:39:37

Op you do realize that such a reaction could indicate she has been a victim at some point.

BOF Tue 10-Sep-13 12:41:22

God, not this again.

OP- if you know mumsnet at all (and as you're here, I guess you do), then you must have seen this discussion a hundred times. Why does it need the "traffic" of AIBU?

hmm

WilsonFrickett Tue 10-Sep-13 12:42:03

But Kaluki, you are victim blaming (although obviously the girl in the OP wasn't raped) by suggesting that she should a) have not gone out b) have not gone out alone c) should not have drunk. You are blaming her because you believe that would make her a more likely target for a rapist. So she would have contributed to her own rape. How is that not victim blaming?

And the statistics don't bear out your hypothesis, by the way. Please read the link I posted.

Kaluki Tue 10-Sep-13 12:42:41

Alright medhandthekiddiesvtheworld I get your point but the OP is about a drunk girl at a party full of strangers and not about risks from someone she knew!

LRDMaguliYaPomochTebeSRaboti Tue 10-Sep-13 12:44:28

Good point, BOF.

I'm sure this was unintentional, but I also think this is not a very nice thread given that the situation described is quite similar to the debate going on in another thread today, where a MNer had a nasty experience and is obviously still quite upset, and rightly.

JumpingJackSprat Tue 10-Sep-13 12:45:18

i agree with you op. theres a world of difference between saying a drunk girl was asking for it, and that a drunk girl should look after herself when she is an unfamilar place - she might have easily got robbed/choked on her own vomit. its a bloody stupid thing to do to get so blind drunk you dont know what is going on around you.

RedHelenB Tue 10-Sep-13 12:52:00

YANBU to point out the folly of being so drunk you pass out - rape doesn't spring to my mind but wandering off & getting run over does, forgetting where you've left your money etc etc does. But students do get drunk, par for the course & you maybe came across as a bit of a fuddy duddy in your response.

Kaluki Tue 10-Sep-13 12:54:30

theres a world of difference between saying a drunk girl was asking for it, and that a drunk girl should look after herself when she is an unfamilar place Thank you JumpingJack - exactly what I was trying to say but you put it a lot better than I did!
BoF I haven't seen the other thread but I am leaving this one now as I can see a bun fight coming!

Kaluki Tue 10-Sep-13 12:55:54

Sorry that last bit was to LRDMaguliYaPomochTebeSRaboti not BoF

JRmumma Tue 10-Sep-13 13:02:55

IMO, by accusing you of victim blaming, she is suggesting that anything that happens to her whilst drunk would have happened anyway. This is not true. Sober people do not usually walk out onto busy roads and get run over, or choke on their own vomit etc. Its not just about rape, but all aspects of personal safety that we have to take a measure of responsibility for.

Bogeyface Tue 10-Sep-13 13:13:50

I dont think it is victim blaming either. I wonder if the girl was embarrassed about how drunk she was and went on the attack to save face.

It comes down to basic personal safety, you are much safer when you are not falling down drunk and that includes things like road accidents, falling over and hurting yourself and yes, being assaulted or robbed.

Did I miss a memo? I thought that staying in reasonable control of ones body and mind was common sense?

Retroformica Tue 10-Sep-13 14:25:34

I think she went mental as underneath everything she knew you were right. You have a very valid point and was only looking out for her. Total over reaction on her side.

WilsonFrickett Tue 10-Sep-13 14:45:04

You can't possibly know that retro.

While I perhaps wouldn't 'go mental' if the OP had pulled that line with me, I certainly wouldn't have nodded and agreed with her. I would certainly have told her to back off fairly robustly with her outdated opinions if she was around the same age as me, which it seems from the OP they are.

Bogeyface Tue 10-Sep-13 15:36:49

Whats outdated about saying "You need to try and keep yourself safe, getting totally wasted with a bunch of strangers wasnt a great thing to do"?

FFS!

Loa Tue 10-Sep-13 16:14:14

I think most intelligent people know choosing to drink enough alcohol to extent your so incapacitated that you pass out in a strange place surrounded by strangers isn't a great move safety wise without having it pointed out.

Having said that nothing bad should ever happen to you - other than being sick and having a really bad headache next day it just leaves you being an easier target.

Either she was exaggerating for effect - or she knows it was dangerous and probably didn't start out trying to end up in that position but a series of bad choices left her there.

A better phase might have been - I'm glad nothing bad happened to you - rather than pointing out everything that could have.

WilsonFrickett Tue 10-Sep-13 16:57:36

It's as outdated as 'cover your ankles, you don't want a man to see them and ravish you in the cornfield.' (Thanks for that one, GGM). It is victim blaming, pure and simple. Rapists don't rape because girls get drunk. Rapists rape because they are rapists.

Bogeyface Tue 10-Sep-13 17:12:10

FFS, it is not victim blaming to tell someone that getting so drunk they pass out is a fucking stupid thing to do.

Personally I prefer to keep myself as safe as possible than risk being the victim of a predator.

No one is saying that it would have been her fault, but they are saying that she would have made it far easier for a potential attacker. Why take the risk?

As long as there are predatory people out there is makes sense to take as few risks as possible. Calling that victim blaming is frankly fucking ridiculous.

Do you say that the advice to not leave drinks unattended is victim blaming? Or is it just minimising risk?

Bogeyface Tue 10-Sep-13 17:12:11

FFS, it is not victim blaming to tell someone that getting so drunk they pass out is a fucking stupid thing to do.

Personally I prefer to keep myself as safe as possible than risk being the victim of a predator.

No one is saying that it would have been her fault, but they are saying that she would have made it far easier for a potential attacker. Why take the risk?

As long as there are predatory people out there is makes sense to take as few risks as possible. Calling that victim blaming is frankly fucking ridiculous.

Do you say that the advice to not leave drinks unattended is victim blaming? Or is it just minimising risk?

Bogeyface Tue 10-Sep-13 17:12:12

FFS, it is not victim blaming to tell someone that getting so drunk they pass out is a fucking stupid thing to do.

Personally I prefer to keep myself as safe as possible than risk being the victim of a predator.

No one is saying that it would have been her fault, but they are saying that she would have made it far easier for a potential attacker. Why take the risk?

As long as there are predatory people out there is makes sense to take as few risks as possible. Calling that victim blaming is frankly fucking ridiculous.

Do you say that the advice to not leave drinks unattended is victim blaming? Or is it just minimising risk?

WilsonFrickett Tue 10-Sep-13 17:18:22

FFS yourself. The facts are women are at much, much higher risk of rape from people they know. They are at risk in their own homes and offices. The all-pervasive myth of the predator down an alley waiting to pounce on a drunk woman is just that, a myth.

That said though. It is not open season on my vagina should I happen to be drunk, stoned, asleep or otherwise unconscious. Consent must be freely, clearly, given. That's the law. If you can't consent, it's rape. If you won't consent, it's rape. If you don't consent, it's rape.

I really don't see why that is so hard to understand.

Tryharder Tue 10-Sep-13 17:24:30

Yes, your friend is an idiot.

But I suspect that most university students do similarly idiotic things on more than one occasion. I have a 'fond' recollection of waking up in a strange bed somewhere in Newcastle- I wasn't even studying in Newcastle at the time. Or the time that I went to Hamburg on a coach and ended up....well, never mind. We've all been there, done that and got the T shirt.

I doubt your friend needs you to tell her of the error of the ways though.

Bogeyface Tue 10-Sep-13 18:17:40

Its a myth is it? Right......so just because you are more likely to be raped in your own home by someone you know, no one has ever been dragged off the street by a stranger? Better tell my friend then and get the man who is in prison for attacking her and several other women out of prison hmm

I dont see what is so hard for you to understand that while yes, it is unlikely, it is not impossible and it is foolish to add to any risk by being out of control. Some one that drunk may not even remember being assaulted. And as mentioned above, this isnt just about assault, but theft, car accidents etc.

lisylisylou Tue 10-Sep-13 18:25:28

Sometimes when someone knows they've done something wrong and it's been pointed out they use attacking someone verbally as they're best form of defence. If my husband has done something stupid and I point it out he'll start shouting at me to defend himself! Don't worry about it, she's very stupid to get to that point of being drunk but also it's quite scary. She probably knows what you've said is right and hopefully when he calms down she'll understand you only had the best intentions for her.

kali110 Tue 10-Sep-13 18:25:40

I dont think you were being unreasonable at all op.

shockers Tue 10-Sep-13 18:28:02

Getting so drunk that you pass out is stupid wherever you are... but even more stupid if you're not with friends who will check on you. I know I'd want people like you around my children when they fly the nest - one has already been through uni and I am grateful for the good friends he made because they all acted like family for each other.

CharityFunDay Tue 10-Sep-13 18:32:18

YWNBU to remind your friend of the dangers inherent in losing consciousness in a strange place full of strangers IMHO. Doesn't sound like victim-blaming to me (and she wasn't even a 'victim', so WTF?).

We all bear responsibility not to make ourselves vulnerable, even though the onus should be on others to behave properly regardless -- but 'others' are beyond our control, especially if we're pissed senseless.

Floggingmolly Tue 10-Sep-13 18:43:28

I don't actually get why assuming a certain onus is on you to take steps to keep yourself safe is perceived as victim blaming?
The blame always lies with the rapist, certainly, but you don't put yourself in the firing line just because it'll "never be your fault". What comfort is that, after the event?

WilsonFrickett Tue 10-Sep-13 19:08:12

Ok, one last go. Potentially triggering.

I don't believe my actions add to my risk of being raped because I absolutely 100% cannot control the actions of any potential rapist. If I am in the wrong place at the wrong time with the wrong person, I will be raped. Whether I'm drunk or sober, in the street, in the office, in a friend's house, asleep or awake, if I meet someone who has decided to rape me then the chances are, I will be raped.

That is horrifying. I understand it is horrifying. I understand that's something we don't want to face, we don't want to talk about. But it is my belief. Maybe if I was sober I could talk someone round - but that still doesn't add or diminish the risk of encountering a man who wants to rape me. That is absolutely my position and to my mind, anything else is both victim-blaming and minimising the rapist's culpability. With more than a dash of magical thinking thrown in.

If you were at that party and you saw ops friend passed out, would you steal her phone? Look through her purse for the taxi fare home? Of course you wouldn't. That's not what decent people do.

As I said, my belief, my position. Make of it what you will, of course you are free to disagree. But it doesn't sound like the op's friend does.

OP,it depends whether you went on and on about the risk of her being attacked because she was drunk, or if you said that people who pass out when drunk sometimes choke on their own vomit. If what you said was mainly about the risk of rape, then you were peddling rape myths and victim-blaming. If you were concerned about her health and the risk of choking, then you were not (though actually, choking on your own vomit doesn't happen that often or a lot more students wouldn't live to graduate.)

NeedaWee Tue 10-Sep-13 20:40:19

victim blaming my arse

if she wants to act like an idiot with no regard for personal safety, let her get on with it and feel smug when she comes crying to you that something awful has happened

GrendelsMum Tue 10-Sep-13 20:50:33

I'd agree with the people who said that there are sadly plenty of ways that being very drunk can harm or kill you, without needing to bring rapists into it. A friend of mine would have been one of them when we were students, if it hadn't been for a pensioner seeing her collapsed in the street.

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