Kasich Clarifies His Statement About Women Avoiding Alcohol to Prevent Rape

By May Wilkerson 04/19/16

The presidential hopeful insists his answer to a young woman's question at a recent town hall was not victim-blaming.

Kasich Clarifies His Statement About Women Avoiding Alcohol to Prevent Rape
Photo via Shutterstock/Steve LaGreca

Well this is…reassuring? Republican presidential hopeful John Kasich told CNN on Sunday that he does not actually believe women are culpable in their own sexual assaults, in an effort to clarify a comment he made at a town hall last week. 

When a student at the town hall in Watertown, N.Y. asked the Ohio governor how he would help her “feel safer and more secure regarding sexual violence, harassment and rape” if he were elected president, Kasich responded by highlighting the importance of providing sexual assault victims with a "place to go where there is confidential reporting, where there is an ability for you to access a rape kit," where victims can "pursue justice after you've had some time to reflect on it all."  

It was the second part of his answer that drew the ire of critics who accused him of victim-blaming. He told the young woman, “Don’t go to parties where there’s a lot of alcohol. OK? Don’t do that.” Thus sparking a backlash

Kasich’s comment seemed to imply that by drinking or being around alcohol, women are somehow complicit in their own sexual assaults. But the governor is now saying that this was not his intention. “My daughters are sometime going to go to college, and they’re going to go to a party where there’s alcohol,” he told CNN political correspondent, Dana Bash. “It’s just you have to be careful.”

He continued to explain that dealing with sexual assaults in a legal sense is more complicated when alcohol is involved in the process. “When alcohol’s involved, it becomes more difficult for justice to be rendered for a whole variety of reasons,” said Kasich. “But we can still find a perpetrator … I just don’t want justice to be denied because something comes up that a prosecutor looks at and says, ‘Well, I can’t figure this thing out.’”

The governor said he disagrees that his earlier comment was “victim-blaming,” adding, “Someone gets sexually assaulted, of course we’re going to get to the bottom of it.” He also discussed the efforts taken to combat sexual violence in his home state of Ohio, including hiring a “lady attorney” to liaise with colleges and universities about the problem. “They didn’t quite know what to do,” he said. “And I said I don’t care about what they know or don’t know, we’re going to have a system in place to make sure that the women on our college campuses are protected, and if something would happen to them, that justice can be done.” 

Well, don’t forget to vote.

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May Wilkerson is a writer, comic and Managing Editor @someecards. Co-host of the podcast Crazy; In Bed w/alyssalimp. She is also the top Google result for "insufferable lunatic." Follow this insufferable lunatic on Twitter.