Planet Princeton

Princeton Mom: Some Incidents Called`Rape’ Are Just `Regrettable Sex’

cnn susan pattonSusan Patton, better known as the Princeton Mom, complained to CNN’s Carol Costello this morning that the concept of rape has been watered down on college campuses.

Patton said rape should not be difficult for victims to talk about and she bemoaned the fact that rape has been the main topic of discussion for the last several weeks on many campuses.

“What makes this conversation so prickly is the definition of rape. It no longer is when a woman is violated at the point of a gun or knife,” Patton said. “We’re now identifying as rape what really is a clumsy hookup melodrama or a fumbled attempt at a kiss or caress. In many cases that is what this is…This is with a friend or in your own a home.”

Patton questioned why women don’t just get up and leave or tell a man to stop making advances.

“There’s rape and then there’s rape,” Patton said, adding that she thinks in some cases women simply experience something they later regret, often after having too much to drink.

“To me that’s not a crime. That’s not rape. That’s a learning experience,” she said. “It has to do with making choices and taking responsibility for the choices you make.”

Costello asked if Patton had ever met a rape victim. Costello also added that she has interviewed many rape victims, and many women find it difficult to talk about. She challenged Patton and questioned whether she was blaming victims.

“I’m not talking about a woman who’s blacked-out drunk,” Patton said. “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.”

Patton contended that because of feminists, men are now labeled as rapists when they are accused, and men are now presumed guilty.

On Valentine’s Day, Patton set off a firestorm in an opinion piece in The Wall Street Journal where she wrote that smart girls should find husbands in college. It was a preview of her book, Marry Smart: Advice for Finding THE ONE.

The CNN segment today:

Krystal Knapp

Krystal Knapp is the founding editor of Planet Princeton. She can be reached via email at editor AT planetprinceton.com. Send all letters to the editor and press releases to that email address.

  • PrettySmart1

    To the contrary, that is Susan Patton’s own delusion as to the circumstances underlying rapes reported by female undergraduates.

  • Yes. That is rape.

    If two people get equally drunk (they didn’t drug each other) and have sex and one of them later regrets the encounter … would that still be rape?

  • I think she was trying to suggest that some have started to define “rape” as having consensual sex with someone while lucid and then later regretting it.

  • Sandra J. Bierman

    I also have friends from elementary, middle, high school and college, plus neighbors that i have met in my chidhood and coworkers and mostly, I am in touch with them, no matter where they live because I treasure friendships, I have not dismissed them when I entered college, that would have been ludicrous.

  • Sandra J. Bierman

    She is not giving us The Rule, she is suggesting something based in facts. It s, obviously, not going to work for everyone…Iit might work for some years, same as the mate you might meet after college, it doesn’t even mean that it is going to last forever, for God’s sake..we all have our different stories but she makes sense, in my opinion. By the way, I did not meet my husband in college, and that doesn’t mean she is wrong about the possibility and practicality of it. I met my husband years later but we both have similar social, economic, academic backgrounds, which make communications easier, of course.

  • Sandra J. Bierman

    There are always exceptions, of course.

  • ruthenium66

    I have always encouraged my children to have friends who are worthy of them… my hope has been that that would be established long before college and lasting throughout life. Young women don’t need to be burdened with a sense of urgency to mate. I love my PhD husband dearly, but had we met when I was a 16-year-old freshman at Penn in 1969, he would have been 9 years old. I would have enjoyed knowing him as a bright kid with a good heart, definitely, but might not have seen him as husband material. At least then.

  • ruthenium66

    Has nothing to do with one’s politics. If one expects to meet one’s equal ONLY in college, it doesn’t augur well for the rest of your life. I met my intellectual, moral, and creative match long after college. If one wants to socialize with intelligent people, it’s possible to do so throughout your life. In fact, if you want a mate who is committed to lifelong learning and who exhibits drive, best to meet them after college (an artificial, highly structured environment–where socializing is too often alcohol-fueled–where they may be only to meet parental expectations). Once an individual is working and fully emancipated from their parents’ and “in loco parentis” college oversight, once they’re out in the world doing only as much as they choose…THAT is when you get to see the real mettle of a man.

  • Nathanael

    It turns out that standard strategy for most rapists is to spike the drinks of their targets. Or for the cleverer rapists, to keep refilling the drink when the target isn’t looking (so the target doesn’t know how much she’s drunk). The rapist then pretends to drink but doesn’t. This has been revealed by anonymous surveys where rapists just outright admitted to what they did. The rapist waits until the target is blacked-out drunk and then rapes her comatose body.

    This is rape by any standard. And obviously, you really can’t control how much you drink if your drink is being spiked or targeted.

    “I’m not talking about a woman who’s blacked-out drunk,”

    Well, that is the situation which we are talking about when we are talking about the high rate of rapes on campus — women who are blacked-out drunk, usually because the rapist intentionally drugged them. So what the hell is Ms. Patton talking about? Time for her to admit she doesn’t know what the hell she’s talking about, then shut up.

  • Nathanael

    Rape apologist.

    If someone drugs your drink until you’re unconscious and then rapes you, that would be “rape”.

    Turns out this is pretty common. 🙁

  • Sandra J. Bierman

    What I think that she meant is that one wants his/her partner to have the same or higher intellectual acumen, knowledge, values, etc., and why not when in college, where one will find the people who are interested or shared the same academic drive. It has nothing to do with feminism, it is more practicality, based in real life. It might sound politically incorrect, but, hey, I think that what she does it to tell it how it is, and when it sounds harsh, liberals get very upset.

  • Jim Jenson

    Scary thing … politically incorrect truth.

  • ruthenium66

    Ain’t MY Princeton she speaks for… Her statements on rape are like saying that if someone walks through a tough neighborhood and gets assaulted, it’s the victim’s fault. No one should be attacked. Do she understand what had to have happened to make a female college student willing to bear with the high emotional, social, and time cost of reporting a rape, in most cases? And why isn’t it the >male< students who should remain sober and watchful so that they can communicate their intentions clearly and be fully aware that they have complete permission from a female to proceed with intimacies? I agree that it's better not to get blind drunk and stupid, no matter who you are, but it doesn't justify unwanted sexual assault.

    And why is anybody paying attention to Princeton Mom, a woman who declared her intentions to marry her already-married boss and did so, but is now divorced. What possible authority, Princeton-bequeathed or otherwise, does she have to tell young women how to socialize and how to select a mate? Her advice is based on what she wished she did in college 40 years ago; her thoughts are irrelevant to 21st century dating and marriage trends, including meeting via the Internet, which is the source of, what is it, 25% of marriages? (I know this to be true although I'm a couple of years older than she is, still married and in love with the man I married 31 years ago. That, and a counseling degree, are my modest authority.)

  • PrettySmart1

    This woman doesn’t say much for the value of a Princeton education, does she?

  • Sandra J. Bierman

    She has a point. I was raised knowing that it was ok to have a drink or two, but to keep my head on my shoulders and my feet on the ground, to avoid risking indecent behavior that I would regret later on. Ms Patton is talking about wise choices that we should make, situations we could avoid if we think.

  • Walter Broner

    I’m aghast.

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